Stats vs. Scouts: Who Are the Top Players in the Atlantic 10 Conference

Does Chaz Williams lead the Atlantic 10 class for next season? - Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Let the debate begin. We look at the top returning players based on last season's stats and debate who will be the best 10 players in the Atlantic 10 for next season though the lens of Stats vs. Scouts.

We have been teasing you over the summer with some short lists of the best point guards and big men for next season, and we have enjoyed the response that those have generated and the discussion that comes from them. We are probably at least a month away from announcing our actual Top 10 player lists by conference for next season, but that doesn't mean the discussion hasn't begun here at Mid-Major Madness on who should be included.

All of that is the long way of saying "Welcome" to our new feature, where we will at least set up the debate between stats and scouts about who belongs in the Top 10 for next season. We realize that the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, and it is the discussion that gets us to that answer that we want to bring about.

We plan on placing a list out there based on our statistical HOOPWAR model and then a list of some other notables that people might expect to see on the list, along with their ratings from last season.

Each side in the Scout vs. Stat debate will then weigh in with their thoughts to get the debate going. The arguments will focus solely on their side (so the Stat argument will be very stat biased, whereas the Scout will give everything the eyeball test). We hope that everyone will contribute as to why they believe a certain player deserves more or less consideration for the final list.

We chose to start with our newest league here at MMM, the Atlantic-10. First, the HOOPWAR list (based on top HW30 from last season) and then our list of notables:

Rank Name Yr. Pos. Team DEF100* HW30**
1 Chaz Williams Sr. G Massachusetts 7.22 6.85
2 Juvonte Reddic Sr. F VCU 15.48 6.17
3 Dwayne Evans Sr. F Saint Louis 14.66 5.80
4 Isaiah Armwood Sr. F George Washington 21.13 5.49
5 Treveon Graham Jr. G VCU 5.99 5.23
6 Ronald Roberts Sr. F St. Joseph's 14.15 4.72
7 Sherrod Wright Sr. G George Mason 7.88 4.28
8 Halil Kanacevic Sr. F St. Joseph's 15.90 4.24
9 Branden Frazier Sr. G Fordham 4.71 3.88
10 Jerrell Wright Jr. F La Salle 13.69 3.72


* - DEF100 measures the number of points that the player's defense saves per 100 minutes played
** - HW30 is the HOOPWAR stat per 30 games played.

Others to Consider:

Name Yr. Pos. Team DEF100 HW30
A Derrick Williams Sr. F Richmond 9.22 3.46
B Cedrick Lindsay Sr. G RIchmond 6.09 3.09
C Tyreek Duren Sr. G La Salle 7.04 3.03
D Cady Lalanne Jr. C Massachusetts 16.43 2.86
E Devin Oliver Sr. F Dayton 14.26 2.76
F Derrick Colter So. G Duquesne 3.59 2.58
G Xavier Munford Sr. G Rhode Island 4.69 2.06
H Briante Weber Jr. G VCU 12.32 2.01

Stats (Ben Miraski): I may be biased but I consider at least the top five players on the list very hard to argue with. The biggest issue I can see would be Treveon Graham at number 5 just not putting up the defensive stats that you would like to see from a guard ranked this highly. Someone like Briante Weber on his own team looks like the inverse of Graham -- lockdown defender, but the offense lags behind. It is hard to argue with someone like Graham who is that skilled on the offensive end of the floor, and pulled down an insane number of rebounds, considering his size and his position.

After Graham, I might even argue against some of the remaining five. Halil Kanacevic played the least amount of minutes of the 18 named players, and could easily see his production and value take a step back with 200 or so more minutes to fill for St. Joe's. Considering that a great deal of his value came from his defense, and that can vary from season to season, you might even put him as a major regression candidate.

I would personally bump in one of the Richmond players, especially Derrick Williams who did all of his production while missing several games last season. That makes his score more of a projection of what he could have been with a full season. That means he could have made an even bigger leap with the extra games. Cady Lalanne is also an interesting candidate as the only true center on this board, and one that has proven his worth as both a rebounder and shot blocker for Massachusetts. His presence alone, at 6-9, or 6-10 depending on your source, is a major asset for the Minutemen and one that is hard to counter even in the A-10.

Two last comments: Xavier Munford is going to get a lot of love as the leader for Rhode Island. The stats just don't back that up. He was a below average offensive player, even by the standard of ORat (too many turnovers), and his defensive numbers are lacking. His biggest advantage comes in being able to get to the line, and if you want to consider that a reason to stick him in the top 10, you are watching some really boring basketball.

Last is Derrick Colter, who was the only freshman in the league last season to score greater than 2.0 in HOOPWAR. His offense is really leading his game, but unlike other freshman who tend to lag in the defensive stats, Colter is ahead of the game (again based on the freshman standard, which is negative defense). Add in that he plays for Duquesne and doesn't get much help from his teammates, so his performance means even more. He is the best sophomore back for this year, light years ahead of Melvin Johnson value-wise, and so he warrants some strong consideration.

Scouts (Parks Smith): The A10 has three teams that I think could really make some noise this upcoming year and if those teams do it will be because of MVP-like seasons for three guys in particular. The advanced stats don't hold up for a guy like Xavier Munford, but Dan Hurley's Rhode Island team is a trendy up-and-comer in the A10 ranks. If the Rams do rise up to make the A10 tournament and possible advance in the postseason it will be because of Munford and his maturation.

Cedrick Lindsay is another guy who can make and break a team. Richmond has the inside, outside game with Lindsay and big man Derrick Williams and they also have a bit of an x-factor in speedy guard Kendall Anthony. Lindsay has been overshadowed a bit by sharpshooter Darien Brothers, but there is no doubt that Lindsay is among the best guards in the A10, if not the best.

The best individual in the conference, in my opinion, is Isaiah Armwood. George Washington was an up and down team a year ago and the young squad really learned a lot. Don't be surprised if Mike Lonergan's squad is up towards the top of the A10 with Armwood, Patricio Garino, and Indiana transfer Maurice Creek.

I think the St. Joe's guys are a bit overrated as individuals. The Hawks really didn't have much depth last year and those guys efficiency may be a bit skewed. George Mason's Sherrod Wright is a bit overrated too. He is certainly a talent, but I think he can struggle night in and night out in a more defensive conference like the A10.

Finally, I think there are two guys that are more important to their teams than anyone else. Those guys are Chaz Williams and Briante Weber. Chaz Williams is UMass and Weber provides energy for Shaka Smart's team that is absolutely vital for VCU's success. HAVOC needs a heartbeat and that heartbeat is Weber.

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So there are the two arguments for Stats and Scouts. Let us know which side you fall in on and who you think should take their rightful place in the top 10 for the Atlantic 10 for next season.

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