Saunders is Named to Preseason First Team All Atlantic 10

Along with the preseason team predictions, the preseason All-Conference teams were announced. Duquesne power forward Damian Saunders was given first team All-Conference and Defensive team honors. Saunders was honored with these same distinctions after last season as well as earning Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year.Along with Saunders, there are a number of familiar names on these teams including returning A-10 player of the year Kevin Anderson.

First Team
Second Team
Third Team
Defense
Rookie
Lavoy Allen TEM Juan Fernandez TEM Chris Boswell CHA Lavoy Allen TEM C.J. Aiken SJU
Kevin Anderson RICH Chris Gaston FOR Cody Ellis SLU Kevin Anderson RICH Langston Galloway SJU
Andrew Nicholson SBU Tu Holloway XAV Chris Johnson DAY Dante Jackson XAV Jordan Latham XAV
Damian Saunders DUQ Delroy James URI Lasan Kronah GW Andrew Nicholson SBU Rob Loe SLU
Chris Wright DAY Shamari Spears CHA Aaric Murray LaS Damian Saunders DUQ Juwan Staten DAY

First Team: There are few surprises on the first team list. Allen is a solid power forward who is an excellent defender, an unselfish offensive contributor and quality rebounder and clearly one of the top players in the league. Anderson is the best scorer in the league and also stands out in terms of athleticism and defense. Nicholson, the rookie of the year last season, burst onto the scene averaging a double team and requiring double teams in the low post. The Bonnies’ big man is clearly the best center in the league and perhaps the best NBA prospect. Saunders is simply solid all around and terrific on defense but needs improvement in terms of free throw shooting and finishing near the basket. Rounding out the list is my least favorite player in the league, Dayton swing man, Chris Wright. Wright is a projectable athlete with a man’s body but has shown little indication of being a quality basketball player. His court awareness is poor and has few skills beyond being able to jump over people. While averaging 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds rarely did he take over games. He is a physical monster and could continue to improve but he remains the most overrated player in the league as of now. Wright is the kind of player who impresses during practice but fades during games which might explain his spot on this list.

Second Team: Juan Fernandez, the Argentine point guard, is my favorite non-Duke in the league. For my money, he is the best player in the conference and is my dark horse to win player of the year in 2010-11. His court awareness is unmatched in the league and he is the best shooter as well. He is a natural point guard that can play the two and makes all of the players around him better. I expect him to be on the first team at year’s end. Gaston was the one bright spot for an otherwise moribund Fordham club last season. He averaged a double-double for the year and stands out as one of the best big men in the league. His defense doesn’t match that of Allen, Nicholson or Saunders which likely explains his position on the second team as well as his youth. Also, his raw stats are a little inflated due to the up tempo style Fordham played. The artist formerly known as Terrell Holloway, is looking to fill the shoes of Jordan Crawford for the Musketeers.  He is a pass first point guard who is good at drawing fouls and then converting the free throws. He is only an average shooter but remains an excellent passer. James is an efficient scorer on the ever efficient Jim Barron Rhody offense. Spears was one of the break out players last season and and is one of the better shooters and scorers in the league.

Third Team: Boswell is another interesting big man who rebounds and scores. Ellis is a highly touted Australian swing man. He can do a little bit of everything and will likely become the Billikens top performer with the departure of Kawain Mitchell and Willie Reed. Chris Johnson is the true best player on the Dayton Flyers and much better than that other guy who shares his first name. He is a great free throw shooter which indicates a better three point shooting effort in 2010-11. He is a great rebounder for a wing player and is very careful with the ball. Where Wright is an athlete, Johnson is a basketball player. Kronah is a solid all around player who excels at shooting the basketball and should improve going into his sophmore season. Another sophmore, Murray, excelled in his maiden campaign. He is a big man who rebounds and blocks shots and is very aggressive on the offensive end taking many shots.

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