Today’s intallment of Ignorance on Display is my All-CAA ballot. Didn’t see several teams often enough to make informed evaluations, so I read and listened to others, perused numbers and took a stab at reasonable – when I didn’t go with my gut.
First team: Jerrelle Benimon (Towson), Joel Smith (Northeastern), Devon Saddler (Delaware), Keith Rendelman (UNCW) and R.J. Hunter (Georgia State).
Second team: Marcus Thornton (W&M), Sherrod Wright (Mason), Jamelle Hagins (Delaware), Tim Rusthoven (W&M), Devon Moore (JMU).
Third team: Damion Lee (Drexel), Jon Lee (Northeastern), DeShawn Painter (ODU), Stevie Mejia (Hofstra), Rayshawn Goins (JMU).
All-Rookie: Hunter, David Walker (Northeastern), Jerome Hairston (Towson), Keenan Palmore (ODU), Patrick Holloway (Mason).
Player of the Year: Benimon. Coach of the Year: Pat Skerry. Rookie of the Year: Hunter.
I’m well aware that I left off a handful of deserving players, including a personal fave. You could argue that any All-CAA ballot that doesn’t include Drexel’s Frantz Massenat (said fave) is automatically invalid. I wouldn’t dispute you too much.
My main concern is that Georgia State coach Ron Hunter, he of the finely honed sense of payback, will find me and pelt me with shoes for recognizing too few of his players.
Benimon and Skerry, I think, were easy choices. The 6-8 transfer was the linchpin of Towson’s 17-game turnaround, filling up the stat sheet and doing a bunch of things that didn’t show up.
Skerry took over a chemical spill of a program, chewed sawdust for a year, then meshed a group of holdovers, transfers and new players from national punchline to 18-13 and a tie for second at 13-5. Granted, it’s a down year in the CAA, and this year’s T-2 isn’t equal to that of previous years, but second place – particularly with no postseason carrot – is still a fine piece of coaching.
R.J. Hunter, too, was an easy choice as Rookie of the Year and I thought merited the first team. You could make a case for Thornton or Wright on first team, but the Tribe’s propensity for gakking up leads – through offense or defense – and Wright’s gradual slide at the end of the season pushed them to second team on my ballot.
Rusthoven is one of the league’s most efficient players. Hagins doesn’t get nearly enough touches for his talent (brief aside: Were I coaching the Blue Hens, if Hagins didn’t get a dozen shots per game, everybody else would run suicides until midnight). Several of Moore’s JMU teammates score more, but he leads the league in assists in conference games, and he’s their glue.
Now we enter the Manny Atkins-Jarvis Threatt-Devonta White portion of the discussion. And yeah, Massenat. Maybe a week from now, I’ll feel differently and put him on second team. His points are up slightly from last season, but his shooting percentage is way down.
Part of that is that he’s had to shoot more, with the graduation of Samme Givens, the season-ending injury to Chris Fouch, and the fact that the Dragons’ bigs have done little offensively in an overall disappointing season. But I got a vibe all season that Bruiser Flint, honest to a fault, didn’t think that either of his top-shelf guards played to their capabilities.
Maybe I’m penalizing Massenat for the shortcomings and limitations of teammates. Maybe the preseason POY set the bar so high last season that anything equal or slightly below seems a disappointment. Maybe I’m overthinking it.
Regardless of the fact that Massenat didn’t appear on my ballot, if I had the No. 1 pick in a conference draft, I’d still start with him. I’m sure that comforts him to no end.
On the all-rookie team, I wouldn’t dispute one or two of JMU’s excellent freshman class – Andre Nation and Ron Curry, in particular – getting recognized over a couple of my choices.
I choose not to reveal my all-defensive team. There’s been enough ignorance and cluelessness for one sitting.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun