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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
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Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Marching Forward

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GRAPHIC: SADIE HENZES ’24/THE HAWK


This two-part article will cover the futures of the basketball teams in the Atlantic 10 (A-10) Conference. I’ll group the following programs into three categories: established, on the rise and rebuilding.

Established:

Dayton — Head Coach Anthony Grant has the University of Dayton appearing to be the most dangerous team in the A-10 for some time. This year’s team was right in the thick of the conversation to receive an at-large bid to the A-10 tournament before a catastrophic loss at La Salle University on Feb. 26. All of the team’s top five scorers are sophomores or younger, so they have plenty of time to get that bid. 

VCU — The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams put together another strong season this year, sitting at 20-7 after winning their last seven games. Head Coach Mike Rhoades’ team will definitely compete in the A-10 tournament for the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They currently are seeded second in the conference, but next season the team will get even more reinforcements, as the Rams boast the 44th ranked recruiting class in 2022, according to 24/7Sports.

Davidson — The last time Davidson College basketball Head Coach Bob McKillop had a losing record was before I was born, and I do not think that is going to change soon. It will be a challenge though, as the team is expected to lose senior forward Luka Brajkovic. Hyunjung Lee is the player to watch this offseason for the Wildcats. The junior guard/forward will have NBA interest, but it seems he is currently undecided on returning to school or beginning his professional career. That decision will impact next year’s team greatly, but I expect Davidson to be okay.

Saint Louis — The Saint Louis University Billikens are projected to return their top seven scorers for next season, and they are also going to be waiting on a decision from senior guard/forward Javonte Perkins, who tore his ACL prior to this season. For those unfamiliar, Perkins averaged 17.1 points per game last season. Saint Louis should continue to be a force in the conference regardless of the decision that Perkins makes.

On the Rise: 

George Mason — Head Coach Kim English has completely revitalized the Patriots down in Fairfax, Virginia. George Mason University has improved a ton this season, and seems poised to finish right around .500. George Mason should remain competitive next season returning an All-Conference talent in junior forward Josh Oduro, as well as incorporating the A-10’s second best recruiting class, according to 24/7Sports.

Loyola-Chicago — It may seem presumptuous to put Loyola University Chicago in as a team on the rise as they anticipate their first season in the A-10, but I think their success in the last few seasons have earned them some pedigree. In Head Coach Drew Valentine’s first season, the team is right in the thick of the race to be the Missouri Valley Conference’s (MVC) automatic qualifier. Sitting at 22-7, they are poised to graduate two of their top three scorers, which will be massive losses. Despite that, six straight winning seasons leads me to believe the Ramblers will survive. 

Rebuilding:St. Bonaventure — It is always hard to place a team led by St. Bonaventure University basketball Head Coach Mark Schmidt into the rebuilding category, but if there was ever a time it is warranted, it would be now. Schmidt will graduate five players this season, who all average over 30 minutes per contest. Seemingly, I would expect that next season will be more about getting players familiar with the Bonnies’ system before they are ready to compete at the top of the A-10 again. However, I would be naive not to expect that Mark Schmidt may have some transfer portal magic up his sleeve.

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