Friday, October 14, 2011

The CAA Top 10 - one blog's opinion

In conjunction with next Tuesday's (Oct. 18) media day, the Colonial Athletic Association is conducting a fan poll of the conference's Top 10 players. Actually, they've asked for a ranking of the Top 10 returners, as no freshmen or transfers are among the candidates listed. But hey, it's their poll.

Of course, we love Top 10 lists, so naturally we cast a vote, too. Now, ours isn't as funny as Letterman's. Then again, after reading it, we suspect some of you will think we must be joking.

1. Elena Delle Donne, Delaware
   - The real question is, is Delle Donne the best collegian in the country? In our view, the list of players she's chasing for that honor starts with Brittney Griner, continues with Nneka Ogwumike and perhaps Skylar Diggins and pretty much ends there.

2. Courtney Hurt, VCU
   - Not sure she can match last season's out-of-this-world stats. But after rubbing elbows with the nation's best at the World University Games trials - and fueled by the notion that, as a senior, this is her last go-round - we suspect she'll be an even better player.

3. Shante Evans, Hofstra
   - The conference's "other Evans" has been somewhat overlooked the past two seasons. But USA Basketball found her for the Pan Am Games, and we suspect a whole lot of others will catch on to just how productive this double-double machine really is.

Andrea Barbour
4. Andrea Barbour, VCU
   - Instant scorer - just add basketball. If Delle Donne doesn't win the league's scoring title, Barbour will.

5. Tia Lewis, Old Dominion
   - You know the phrase "runs like a gazelle?" If you changed that to "runs like Tia Lewis," you'd be saying the same thing. But she's not just aesthetically pleasing - we think Lewis has all the tools to step into that Hurt-Evans class of forwards in terms of productivity.

6. Kamile Nacickaite, Drexel
   - This second-team All-CAA performer wasn't just good for 17.6 points and 6.3 boards last season. She also led the Dragons in steals and blocks as well as 3-point percentage.

7. Taysha Pye, William and Mary
   - Quality scorer who gets bonus points for dramatically improving her free-throw shooting. Now, about that assist-turnover ratio....

8. Chan Harris, Georgia State
   - Shook off a knee injury that cost her most of the 2009-10 season to rank third in the conference in rebounding (8.9 rpg), third in blocked shots (49) and 10th in scoring (12.3).

9. Lauren Whitehurst, JMU
   - Key contributor, particularly on defense and in the locker room, on last season's senior-dominated CAA champions. Look for her to carve out a larger role this season.

10. Alisha Andrews, UNC Wilmington
   - We debated this one. But there's no argument that this pint-sized dynamo was a real difference-maker as a freshman for the surprising Seahawks.

Also in the mix:

Emily Correal, William and Mary
   - Birthday girl (Oct. 14) and the best player on arguably the deepest frontcourt in the CAA.

Amber Easter, George Mason
   - All-Rookie team as a freshman and solid as a sophomore, we have a feeler Easter's going to really take off this season.

Taleia Moton, George Mason
   - Radford transfer led the Pats in scoring and assists.

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