Often in college basketball, particularly at the mid-major level, it takes a core group of seniors with ability and leadership to achieve something special. If you reflect back to the Mason and VCU Final Four squads, those were senior-dominated teams. Here’s our list of the top 10 seniors poised to make noise in their final CAA go-around.
10) Andrey Semenov: The oft-injured forward at JMU is looking to build off of a strong junior campaign in which he finished second in the CAA for three-point accuracy (.440%) while leading the Dukes in rebounding and blocked shots. If Semenov can stay healthy and put all the pieces of his game together in the last year of Matt Brady’s contract then he could have quite the successful season (imagine a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki). At 6’8 and 200 pounds Semenov is very much a lean, mean, Russian three-point shooting machine, who can also battle the bigs in the paint.
9) Daryl McCoy: The 6’9 and 280 pound starting center for preseason favorite, Drexel. Despite being a dominating force on the fifth-ranked scoring defense in the nation, McCoy is perhaps most notable for his internet fame as “the guy who was pantsed during the CAA title game” last season. Look for McCoy to transition into the shoes left by Samme Givens, the Dragon’s best big man and the team leader in rebounding and blocked shots last season. The question is, can he pick up some of the scoring load?
8 ) Chris Fouch: This former AAU star, who was teammates with Kemba Walker, has been Drexel’s offensive weapon as a sixth-man spark from off the bench. As a freshman, Fouch came off the bench in 30 games and finished second on the team in scoring with a little over 11 points per game as he won CAA Rookie of the Year. Fouch is a 6’2 sharp-shooting guard who can drain three-pointers with the best in the CAA. He is set to be a major factor as the Dragon’s attempt to defend their CAA championship with four starters returning from a squad that set a school record with 29 victories last season.
7) Devon Moore: Moore will enter his fifth and final season with the Dukes as a redshirt senior after a rollercoaster ride of injuries, ineligibility, and occasional impressive play from the point guard position. Last season, Moore shared point duties with Humpty Hitchens as he was academically ineligible for the first half of the season before then also being hampered by wrist injuries. Expect a fully healthy Moore to return to his sophomore season form as he led the Dukes in assists and ranked second on the team in scoring. The Dukes will feature a dynamic starting backcourt with natural chemistry in cousins Moore and A.J. Davis.
6) Joel Smith: Northeastern guard, one of the leaders in the CAA for three-pointers. He started every game last season and there’s no reason to believe this year will be any different. Joined by Jonathan Lee, Smith can be expected to lead the team offensively this season.
5) DeShawn Painter: This 6’9 forward is joining the Monarchs this season after transferring from North Carolina State, which made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Last season Painter was a key reserve while starting seven games and averaged roughly six points and four rebounds with the Wolfpack. Painter is expected to pick up some of the slack and provide leadership in the front court. For an ODU squad always built upon tough defense and rebounding, he will be a key component.
4) Jonathan Lee: The 6’2, 200 pound guard from Northeastern started every game and averaged over 35 minutes a game last year. He ranked in the top 15 in the CAA for scoring, steals, assists and six other major categories. Having led his team in points for a majority of the games last season, Northeastern will rely heavily on Lee to perform just as well as last year and carry over the success alongside our #6 senior, Joel Smith.
3) A.J. Davis: After finishing fourth in the CAA for average scoring with 15.9 points per game and leading JMU with 24 games of 10+ points and 11 games of 20+ points, redshirt senior A.J. Davis looks promising for the Dukes. He was a redshirt during the 2012-11 season as a transfer from Wyoming. As one of JMU’s six seniors, Davis will be an integral part of the offense and a key to the Dukes’ hopes for a breakthrough season.
2) Jamelle Haggins: This 6’9, 240 pound forward from Delaware is known for being UD’s lead with rebounds. With an average of about 31 minutes a game last season, Haggins will be a rock for the rest of the Delaware team to form around defensively. He forms a commanding presence in the paint and, along with our No. 1 pick, is as close to an automatic double-double each night as you’ll find in the league.
1) Keith Rendelman: He’s a boss. Rendelman made First Team All-CAA last year with an average of 15.3 points per game. Simply put, he is an all-around great player with averages of 33 minutes, 10 rebounds, and 11.3 field goals a game. Early reports from the beach’s hoops guru indicated the kid was fighting through triple teams in workouts and still couldn’t be stopped. If the Seahawks can identify some complementary pieces to take the load off, look out.