Three Teams I Expect to Contend with URI in the Atlantic 10 in 2018-19
I only view three other Atlantic 10 men’s basketball teams (not named Rhode Island) as contenders to the 2018-19 conference championship.
Davidson – Kellan Grady is the man of the hour in Davidson, North Carolina. He’s the 2018 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year and a guard that is currently being viewed as a 2019 NBA draft prospect. Grady is no Stephen Curry, but he can definitely shoulder the scoring load for Bob McKillop. The supporting cast will include returning Jon Axel Gudmundsson and KiShawn Pritchett, both of whom are very familiar with McKillop’s offensive schemes.
Saint Joseph’s – Charlie Brown and Lamarr Kimble are both cleared for all basketball activities after they both had season-ending injuries last season. Even without Brown playing last season, Rhode Island fans will never forget when the Hawks won at the Ryan Center by 30 back on February 27th. Chris Clover is another solid contributor to the backcourt, and Taylor Funk and Pierfrancesco Oliva are a multi-skilled frontcourt tandem. Phil Martelli is a constant nag for the other 13 coaches in the Atlantic 10 and this season should be no different, barring any injuries.
Saint Louis – Travis Ford’s first couple years of prolific recruiting at Saint Louis is expected to pay off this season. The team’s leading scorer from last season, Javon Bess (a Michigan State transfer), is back for his senior campaign. The Billikens have as much young talent as any other team in the conference, including players like Jordan Goodwin, Hasahn French, and new recruits Carte’Are Gordon and Fred Thatch Jr. Along with Bess, they have another veteran presence in D.J. Foreman, who shot 62.6% from the field last season.