- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Predicted order of finish

1. Drexel

2. George Mason

3. Delaware

4. Old Dominion

5. Northeastern

6. James Madison

7. Towson

8. Georgia State

9. William & Mary

10. Hofstra

11. UNC Wilmington

Surprise team: Towson. After a 1-31 season, the Tigers can only improve. Second-year coach Pat Skerry had a full recruiting cycle, and Towson also has three Big East transfers (Jarelle Benimon of Georgetown, Mike Burwell of South Florida and Bilal Dixon of Providence) in its rotation. A jump of a dozen wins is achievable.

Hot seat: Matt Brady, James Madison. Brady is 67-67 through four years in Harrisonburg, and it was uncertain when the Dukes were bounced from March’s CAA tournament whether he would be back. He surely can’t afford a rerun of Madison’s injury-plagued 12-20 season a year ago.

Three key players

G Frantz Massenat, Drexel. The CAA’s preseason player of the year led the conference in assists and three-point percentage last season. He’ll team with superb sophomore Damion Lee and others to try to lead the Dragons to their first NCAA bid since 1996.

F Keith Rendleman, UNC Wilmington. The Seahawks are ineligible for the CAA and NCAA tournaments because of APR issues. That’s a shame for Rendleman, a senior who averaged 15.3 points and 10.0 rebounds last season.

G Devon Saddler, Delaware. The junior is not bashful in the slightest, and he averaged 18.8 points a season ago for the Blue Hens. He’ll team with double-double machine Jamelle Hagins in what should be Delaware’s best team since joining the CAA more than a decade ago.

Three key newcomers

F Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Hofstra. A member of Connecticut’s 2011 national title team, the 6-foot-7 Coombs-McDaniel sat out last season as part of the Pride’s influx of transfers. Like Taran Buie (a Penn State transfer), Coombs-McDaniel is suspended the first two games for violating team rules.

G R.J. Hunter, Georgia State. The guard (and son of coach Ron Hunter) provides a talented backcourt presence for the Panthers in their final season in the CAA.

F DeShawn Painter, Old Dominion. The transfer received a waiver and is eligible to play immediately for the Monarchs. He averaged 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds as the top reserve on an N.C. State team that reached the NCAA round of 16.

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