Northeastern Favored To Win CAA Men's Basketball Championship

Northeastern Favored To Win CAA Men's Basketball Championship

RICHMOND, Va. (October 17, 2018) – Northeastern, which returns all five starters from last year’s 23-win squad, is favored to claim the CAA men’s basketball championship in 2018-19 according to a vote of the league’s coaches, media relations directors and media members.

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The Huskies, who received 35 first-place votes, were followed in the voting by defending CAA champion Charleston (5 first-place votes), Hofstra and William & Mary. UNCW was selected fifth, followed by James Madison, Delaware, Elon, Drexel and Towson.
 
Northeastern went 23-10 overall, earned a share of the CAA regular-season title and advanced to the CAA championship game in 2017-18. The Huskies are led by senior point guard Vasa Pusica, who earned first-team All-CAA honors after ranking eighth in the league in scoring (17.9 ppg) and third in assists (5.1 apg). Junior guard Shawn Occeus contributed 10.8 ppg and made a league-high 64 steals to garner CAA Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Also back in the starting lineup are junior guards Donnell Gresham (9.1 ppg) and Maxime Boursiquot (6.3 ppg) and senior post player Anthony Green (6.5 ppg/3.8 rpg). NU has plenty of depth as well with junior guard Bolden Brace (7.9 ppg/4.7 rpg), the CAA Sixth Man of the Year, and sophomore forward Tomas Murphy (6.6 ppg), who made the CAA All-Rookie team last season.

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Charleston returns three starters from last year’s 26-8 team that captured the CAA regular-season and tournament titles for the first time and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. The Cougars feature a pair of all-conference standouts in junior guard Grant Riller and senior forward Jarrell Brantley. Riller ranked fourth in the league in scoring (18.6 ppg) and made the All-CAA first team, while Brantley tallied 17.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest to gain a spot on the All-CAA second team. They are joined in the starting lineup by senior forward Nick Harris (5.9 ppg/6.5 rpg). Also back for the Cougars are senior point guard Marquise Pointer (5.7 ppg) and junior forward Jaylen McManus (3.3 ppg).
 
Hofstra is coming off a 19-12 campaign and has four starters back. Headlining that group is senior guard Justin Wright-Foreman, the 2017-18 CAA Player of the Year, who ranked fifth in the nation in scoring (24.4 ppg), knocked down a CAA-best 96 three-pointers and was ninth in the league in assists (3.2 apg). Joining him in the backcourt are junior Eli Pemberton, who was among the CAA’s top 20 in scoring (15.9 ppg) and rebounding (4.8 rpg), and senior point guard Desure Buie (6.4 ppg/3.3 apg). Also back for the Pride are junior forward Stafford Trueheart (3.8 ppg/2.6 rpg) and sophomore guard Jalen Ray (6.9 ppg), who made the CAA All-Rookie team.


 
William & Mary has three double-digit scorers back from last year’s 19-12 squad that became the first in NCAA history to shoot better than 50% from the floor, 40% from three and 80% from the line in a season. Junior forward Nathan Knight made the All-CAA second team after finishing among the league’s top 10 in scoring (18.5 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg) and blocks (2.0 bpg), while junior wing Justin Pierce contributed 14.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest and was a third-team All-CAA selection. The Tribe also returns junior guard Matt Milon (13.0 ppg) and senior forward Paul Rowley (6.2 ppg), who combined to make 125 treys.
 
UNCW welcomes back three starters from a team that advanced to the semifinals of the CAA Tournament a year ago. Senior forward Devontae Cacok received first-team All-CAA accolades after leading the nation with 13.5 rebounds per game and also contributing 17.7 points per contest. Returning to the Seahawks’ backcourt are juniors Ty Taylor (13.6 ppg) and Jaylen Fornes (11.8 ppg).
 
Hofstra’s Wright-Foreman was selected as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. He was joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by CofC’s Brantley and Riller, UNCW’s Cacok and NU’s Pusica.

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Voted to the preseason second team were W&M’s Knight and Pierce, Hofstra’s Pemberton, James Madison senior guard Stuckey Mosley (18.4 ppg) and Elon senior forward Tyler Seibring (15.4 ppg/6.8 rpg).
 
 
2018-19 CAA MEN’S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
 
1. Northeastern (35 first-place votes) 359
2. Charleston (5 first-place votes)  326
3. Hofstra 287
4. William & Mary  242
5. UNCW 197
6. James Madison  172
7. Delaware 148
8. Elon  133
9. Drexel  69
10. Towson 67
 
2018-19 CAA MEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
 
FirstTeam Cl. Pos.  Ht.  Wt. Hometown/High School
Jarrell Brantley, Charleston Sr. 6-7 250 Columbia, S.C./Notre Dame Prep
Devontae Cacok, UNCW  Sr. F 6-7 240 Riverdale, Ga./Alpharetta
Vasa Pusica, Northeastern Sr. G 6-5 210  Belgrade, Serbia/Sunrise Christian Acad.
Grant Riller, Charleston Jr. 6-3 195 Ocoee, Fla./Ocoee
Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra Sr. G 6-2  190 Queens, N.Y./High School of Construction
SecondTeam Cl.  Pos. Ht.  Wt. Hometown/High School
Nathan Knight, William & Mary Jr.  F 6-10 235 Syracuse, N.Y./Nottingham
Stuckey Mosley, James Madison Sr. 6-3 190 Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek
Eli Pemberton, Hofstra  Jr. G 6-5 195 Middletown, Conn./Cheshire Academy
Justin Pierce, William & Mary Jr. G/F  6-7 215  Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West
Tyler Seibring, Elon Sr. 6-9 225 Normal, Ill./Normal Community

 
CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra
 
Honorable Mention: Ryan Allen, So., G, Delaware; Eric Carter, Sr., F, Delaware; Kurk Lee, Jr., G, Drexel; Matt Lewis, So., G, James Madison; Shawn Occeus, Jr., G, Northeastern