Men's Basketball Picked To Win Third Straight Atlantic 10 Championship

Derrick Brown earned a spot on the preseason Atlantic 10 First Team.

Derrick Brown earned a spot on the preseason Atlantic 10 First Team.

Oct. 28, 2008



PHILADELPHIA, Pa. --- After winning a program-record 30 contests and advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, Xavier has been tabbed as the team to beat in the Atlantic 10 men's basketball race, according to a poll of Atlantic 10's head coaches and media released Tuesday during Basketball Media Day.  

The Musketeers received 44 of the 61 first-place votes cast by the panel of coaches and media members.  Xavier (30-7 overall and 14-2 in the Atlantic 10) returns a pair of starters from last year's team which captured its second consecutive A-10 regular season title.  Leading XU will be junior forward Derrick Brown (10.9 ppg. and 6.5 rpg.) and senior guard/forward C.J. Anderson (10.7 ppg. and 5.9 rpg.), who garnered preseason All-Conference first- and third-team honors, respectively.  Xavier has won 20 or more games in 11 of the last 12 seasons and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in seven of the past eight years, including Elite Eight appearances in 2004 and 2008.  Brown also earned a spot on the preseason A-10 All-Defensive Team.



Three Xavier newcomers earned spots on the 2008-09 Atlantic 10 Conference preseason All-Rookie Team, including freshman guards Terrell Hollloway and Mark Lyons and freshman center Kenny Frease.

Temple received 12 first-place votes and placed second in the preseason poll.  The Owls (21-13/11-5) captured the 2008 Atlantic 10 Championship for the first time since 2001 - their league-leading seventh time overall.  TU welcomes back senior guard Dionte Christmas (19.7 ppg., 5.9 rpg.), a preseason first-team All-Conference selection who is vying to become the first player to lead the A-10 in scoring three times.         

Dayton (23-11/8-8) was picked third and will be led by preseason second-team selection Chris Wright (10.4 ppg., 5.7 rpg.), who garnered All-Rookie team distinction a year ago.  The Flyers earned three first-place votes.  2008 NCAA participant Saint Joseph's  (21-13/9-7) was tabbed fourth and will be anchored by preseason first-team choice Ahmad Nivins (14.4 ppg., 5.8 rpg.), the A-10 field goal percentage leader the past two seasons. 

One of a league-record eight teams to win at least 20 games a year ago, Charlotte (20-14/9-7) earned a pair of first-place votes and was selected fifth in the poll, while NIT runner-up Massachusetts (25-11/10-6) was picked sixth.  Saint Louis (16-15/7-9) was tabbed seventh, followed by Richmond (16-15/9-7), Rhode Island (21-121/7-9), La Salle (15-17/8-8), George Washington (9-17/5-11), Duquesne (17-13/7-9), Fordham (12-17/6-10) and St. Bonaventure (8-22/2-14).  

In that same poll, the coaches and media selected the preseason All-Conference teams. The first-team is comprised of Brown, Christmas, Nivins, Kevin Lisch of Saint Louis and Massachusetts' Chris Lowe.  The second-team consists of Wright, George Washington's Rob Diggs, Ricky Harris of Massachusetts, the 2008 recipient of the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player Award and the league's second-highest returning scorer (18.2 ppg.), Tommie Liddell of Saint Louis and Charlotte's Lamont Mack.  On the third-team are C.J. Anderson of Xavier, Richmond's Kevin Anderson, Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island, La Salle's Rodney Green and David Gonzalvez of Richmond.   

The top 12 teams will advance to the 33rd Annual Atlantic 10 Championship, to be held Mar. 11-14 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. 

Last season marked the 14th time in Conference history and fifth since 2000 that multiple A-10 teams earned at-large berths to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  In addition, Charlotte, Dayton, Massachusetts and Rhode Island advanced to the NIT and Richmond earned a berth in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.

Quotes From 2008 A-10 Media Day

Head Coach Sean Miller
On Derrick Brown being named to the Preseason A-10 First Team
“I believe this is an honor he deserves.  He is one of the premiere players in our conference and really since Derrick began playing two years ago he has been on consecutive conference championship teams.   We had successful teams and successful seasons in large part due to who he was.  Now that he is in his fourth year with us, he has a bigger role.  With that bigger role he can have a very, very good season, one that has been even better than his first two years with us.  We think the world of him and are certainly counting on him to do a great job with us as he already has in terms of the preseason.”

On being picked to win the Atlantic 10
“I think every coach knows that doesn’t mean anything.  You want to be there at the end.  In particular I think there are a number of teams in the league that have the ability to win the conference championship.  Certainly it is a goal of ours and hopefully we can compete to do that.  Having been through it a number of times we recognize that you need health and the ball to bounce your way.”

On replacing the entire staring backcourt from last season
“Well it’s a work in progress for us.  We practiced 11 times for a week and a half period of time. Combining the preseason with where we have been for the first two weeks I would say we have our good moments and our bad.  Dante Jackson and B.J. Raymond certainly are going to play a lot of minutes in the off-guard position.  B.J. did a little of that for us last year and we have a different look when he is at the No. 2 spot.  He is bigger, an excellent shooter and not necessarily someone who handles the ball like a guard.  But I really believe that in his last year, B.J. can give us a lot of good minutes.  Dante played in every one of our games last year as a freshman.  He gained a lot of valuable experience last season not only in games but in practice too.  To me he is a better player in his second year than he was in his first.  The young guys have their moments.  Terrell Holloway has seemed to separate himself as he is very comfortable playing the point.  I think we all appreciate his talent level, it’s just we are asking him to do an awful lot.  There is no question that he will be a better player in January than he was in November and he will constantly improve as the year goes on.”

Junior forward Derrick Brown
On being selected to the Preseason A-10 First Team
“I feel like it’s an honor and I am thankful for the selection.  But here at Xavier we are more concerned about the team.  I feel like individual success will come from our team’s success. We have a lot of young players who came in this year and there is a learning curve but I feel like we will be ready for the challenge.”

On assuming more leadership this season
“I feel like when players leave other players have to step up and Coach has asked me to have more of a leadership presence.  This year, I feel like I am more ready for the challenge of leading the team along with B.J. and C.J.  I can’t always control the numbers I put up statistically but I know I can control being a leader and playing hard every day in practice.”

On the possibility of repeating last year’s success
“The bar here is set very high.  30 wins last year is something to be happy about but at the same time it’s a new year.  I think our team is capable of winning 31 games because we have a lot talent we just have to put it all together as a team.  I feel like we can do that as long as we work hard in practice.  In the locker room we have high expectations.  We aren’t going to lower our expectations because we had a great season last year.”