Charleston Tabbed as CAA Men’s Basketball Favorite; Drexel’s Williams Selected as Preseason Player of the Year

Charleston Tabbed as CAA Men’s Basketball Favorite; Drexel’s Williams Selected as Preseason Player of the Year

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RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 19, 2023) – Defending CAA men’s basketball champion Charleston was selected by the league’s coaches as the preseason contender to repeat in the nation’s capital, while Drexel senior Amari Williams was recognized as the conference’s Preseason Player of the Year.

The CAA’s 14 head coaches were polled on a predicted order of finish and preseason All-CAA teams; coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team or players.


 
Charleston received 10 of 14 first-place votes after a league-record 31 wins in 2022-23. The Cougars spent four weeks in the AP Top 25, climbing to as high as No. 18, and became the first league member ranked in the AP poll since 1987. (The AP does not conduct a postseason poll.) Charleston won the Charleston Classic with a thrilling victory over Virginia Tech and cut down the nets in D.C. before being edged narrowly in the NCAA Tournament by eventual national runner-up San Diego State. The Cougars earned two preseason All-CAA selections in first-teamer Ante Brzovic and second-team honoree Reyne Smith.
 
Williams capped his junior year by being named the CAA's Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons and was also named to the All-CAA first team. The native of England was also named as a finalist for National Defensive Player of the Year honors in a year with 13.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game along with 67 total blocks. Williams was the fifth CAA player to win the league’s top defensive honor twice since it was instituted in 1999; two of the previous four went on to play in the NBA.
 
UNCW received three first-place votes after a 24-win campaign and second-consecutive trip to the CAA title game. The Seahawks, who won the CBI title in 2022, return a talented group that includes first-team preseason All-CAA honoree Trazarien White.
 
Drexel was picked third with one first-place vote and joined in the top six by Hofstra in fourth and Delaware and Towson in a tie for fifth. Each of those teams garnered one spot on the preseason All-CAA lists with Williams for Drexel, Hofstra’s Tyler Thomas, Delaware’s Jyáre Davis, and Towson’s Charles Thompson earning recognition. Williams, Thomas, Thompson were named first-team honorees, while Davis was joined on the second team by Smith, reigning Rookie of the Year Max MacKinnon of Elon, Stony Brook’s Tyler Stephenson-Moore, and last year’s Big South Freshman of the Year, Anthony Dell’Orso of league newcomer Campbell.

The 2023-24 season begins Monday, Nov. 6 with 12 of 14 CAA teams in action. League play begins with one game on New Year’s Day and a full slate on Thursday, Jan. 4; the 2024 Jersey Mike’s CAA Championship tips off at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C., on Friday, March 8 with the title game Tuesday, March 12 on CBS Sports Network. The full 27-game CBS Sports Network schedule, announced Wednesday, is available HERE.
 
2023-24 CAA Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll
Rank. Team (1st) Points
1. Charleston (10) 165
2. UNCW (3) 157
3. Drexel (1) 140
4. Hofstra 137
t5. Delaware 115
t5. Towson 115
7. Northeastern 84
8. William & Mary 77
9. Stony Brook 76
10. Elon 62
11. Monmouth 50
12. Campbell 45
13. Hampton 31
14. North Carolina A&T 20
 
Preseason Player of the Year: Amari Williams, Drexel
 
2023-24 All-CAA Preseason First Team
Name School Class Position Hometown
Ante Brzovic Charleston Jr. F Zagreb, Croatia
Tyler Thomas Hofstra Gr. G New Haven, Conn.
Charles Thompson Towson Gr. F Fort Washington, Md.
Trazarien White UNCW Jr. F Mansfield, Texas
Amari Williams Drexel Sr. F Nottingham, England
 
2023-24 All-CAA Preseason Second Team
Name School Class Position Hometown
Jyáre Davis Delaware R-Jr. F Newark, Del.
Anthony Dell’Orso Campbell So. G Melbourne, Australia
Max MacKinnon Elon So. G Brisbane, Australia
Reyne Smith Charleston Jr. G Ulverstone, Australia
Tyler Stephenson-Moore Stony Brook Gr. G Jamaica, N.Y.
 
Honorable Mention: Gabe Dorsey, Jr., G/F William & Mary, Chris Doherty, Gr., F, Northeastern; Darlinstone Dubar, Jr., G, Hofstra; Maleeck Harden-Hayes, Gr., G, UNCW; Justin Moore, So., G, Drexel; Jordan Nesbitt, Jr., G, Hampton; Frankie Policelli, Gr., F, Charleston; Xander Rice, Gr., G, Monmouth
 
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