VCU was the unanimous choice to top the A10 at yesterday’s conference media day. Your Dayton Flyers were picked to finish third, behind the Rams and George Washington. The complete poll follows……….now:
FOB Ray Floriani filed his usual Media Day report:
BROOKLYN, NY – The Atlantic Ten media day at the Barclays Center began with the drive from Northern New Jersey. The morning drive was highlighted by Howard Stern’s outstanding interview with Neil Young. Entertainment turned to frustration. A favorite vocalist, Young is actively involved in the environment. The frustration centered his discussion of synthetic fuel as I crawled through morning traffic. Construction virtually every quarter-mile turned the 15 mile trip into a ninety minute commute.
The media day began at ten and I checked in at 10:15. After interviews with St. Bonaventure’s Mark Schmidt, Jim Crews of Saint Louis and Jim Ferry Duquesne, Archie Miller was finished with the video portion of his interviews and met the print/online media.
Here are Miller’s take on several topics. Call it Archie Miller’s ’tour of the topics’.
On the Atlantic Ten : “The league was tremendous last season. Credit goes to (Commissioner) Bernadette McGlade, the coaches and Ads. The success we had was a result of a lot of people working together. I see the Atlantic Ten as a regular fiveor six (NCAA) bid league.”
On Davidson’s addition: “That was a good choice. Coach (Bob) McKillopp is known for his teams playing a disciplined, tough style. No one will forward to playing them.”
On Commissioner McGlade: “She deserves so much credit. She has ensured all the schools have a firm commitment to succeed.”
On the idea of compensating student/athletes beyond a scholarship: “I think it is a good read. Whatever ruling there is on compensation we will follow within the rules.”
Expectations this season: “ The challenge becomes local. Ourfans are so passionate but it does put a positive vibe on our kids. Our expectation level has not changed a bit (even after the Elite Eight run). It will be the same as when I arrived. We will compete and do it the right way.”
On the use of tempo free stats and analytics: “When you are not playing well the numbers are something for reference, see what you are doing well and what needs to be changed. If you overload your kids with stats you can confuse them. I think the tempo free statistics is valuable when you are studying your opponent. Get an idea what they do well. Numbers tell you what your team is good at or not good at but do not tell you how to win.”
On the off-season: “ It was tough to come off the (Elite Eight) high. At the same time it was important for our players to realize who you are. We want their minds focused 24/7.”
On the tournament in Barclays Center: “It gives our players and coaches a destination at the end of the year to feel good about. Playing at Barclays is exciting for our players.”
On A-10 changes over the years: “A few years back the league was top heavy. Now it is very different from even 5 to 7 years back. Now there are a number of competitive programs. We have more teams actively in consideration for NCAA or NIT bids. The level of competition and program commitments make this a very difficult league to compete in.”
An early surprise in practice: “Scoochie Smith has been a pleasant surprise. I feel he will be the guy this year. Last year he really ‘didn’t want the keys’. Now he is poised for a breakout. His outside shot has improved and he’s put the work in to strengthen up his body. There is definitely a high ceiling for him.”
Speaking with Georg Washington coach Mike Lonergan, he light-heartedly remarked about turning Dayton’s season around. “They (Dayton) were 1-5 in conference,” Lonergan said. “We went down there a little banged up with injuries but they just went out and beat us. After that they took off. Sometimes,” Lonergan added, “getting that one win gets your team on track and does wonders for your confidence.” That win over the Colonials started a six game win streak for the Flyers. A streak with momentum that resulted in a deep NCAA tournament run.
Jordan Sibert was named to the Preseason First Team, as was George Washington junior guard/forward Patricio Garino, Richmond senior guard Kendall Anthony, Saint Joseph’s DeAndre’ Bembry, and VCU’s duo of Treveon Graham and Briante Weber. At first blush, this has to be the worst A10 Preseason Team since the league formed.
UD’s Dyshawn Pierre was named to the league’s Second Team.
Dayton’s Red/Blue game is just ten days away, folks.