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Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Season Preview: A rising tide lifts all boats

Following a down year for the conference in 2022-23, the A-10 should be vastly improved this season (emphasis on should).

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Dayton at BYU
Preseason All-Conference First Team Selection DaRon Holmes II will look to lead the Flyers back to A-10 supremacy.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022-23 season was a down year for the Atlantic 10 as a whole (#zerobidleague). But with some new faces on the sidelines and transfer talent around the conference, a rising tide lifts all boats.

DaRon Holmes II returns for another year in search of revenge at the Barclays Center. However, the preseason favorites will be hounded by 2022-23 A-10 champs VCU, an improved St. Bonaventure squad, and two hungry programs in Duquesne and Saint Joseph’s.

The A-10 will be vastly improved this season, but it’ll also be a wide open again where each of the top eight or nine teams have a potential shot at competing for the conference title. How does it all shake out come March? Your guess is as good as mine.

2023-24 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll

1) Dayton (20) - 370

2) VCU (3) - 321

3) St. Bonaventure (1) - 319

4) Duquesne - 302

5) Saint Joseph’s - 257

6) Saint Louis - 225

7) Fordham (1) - 215

8) Loyola Chicago - 177

9) George Washington - 173

10) George Mason - 146

11) Richmond - 137

12) Davidson - 118

13) Massachusetts - 93

14) Rhode Island - 76

15) La Salle - 71

The Favorite


In spite of an injury-ridden 2022-23 campaign that saw the Flyers fall just short at the A-10 Championship, Holmes returns to UD Arena for his third season.

While head coach Anthony Grant has had to deal with some key departures this offseason in Toumani Camara, Mustapha Amzil, Mike Sharavjamts, and R.J. Blakney, Dayton is still the outright conference favorites. Joining the roster for the 2023-24 season is Pitt transfer Nate Santos, 2022-23 All-Horizon League Third Team selection Enoch Cheeks, former Buffalo forward Isaac Jack, and 2022-23 NEC Rookie of the Year Javon Bennett.

All four are expected to be a consistent part of Grant’s scheme, with Cheeks in particular impressing offensively throughout the early preseason scrimmage window. Undoubtedly there’s been a lot of new pieces to merge together this offseason, but Grant’s team has a foundational core and tons of depth at every position.

The Contenders


Former head coach Mike Rhoades departed for Penn State in the offseason and former Utah State head coach Ryan Odom took over at the position. All that and it seems like VCU didn’t miss a beat.

Last season’s A-10 Championship cast of Ace Baldwin, Brandon Johns, and Co. are gone and in to replace them comes a plethora of Power 6 and mid-major transfer talent.

From Utah State, Odom brings over Max Shulga and Sean Bairstow, both bringing NCAA Tournament experience. The Rams also stole an in-conference transfer from neighbors Richmond, acquiring sophomore guard Jason Nelson to assist in the backcourt. Lastly, Odom brought in Louisville transfer and former top-100 prospect Roosevelt Wheeler, and former California center Kuany Kuany.

Both Wheeler and Kuany will be a stable part of VCU’s front court rotation, while Bairstow and Shulga will be crucial veteran leaders as Odom looks to implement his identity and gameplan. Coaching changes can tend to signal a rebuild for a program, but that clearly doesn’t seem to be the case for Odom and VCU.

St. Bonaventure

In the wake of a down year for St. Bonaventure, Mark Schmidt is doing more with less once again, bringing in a veteran transfer class to pair with a great returning core.

The question for the Bonnies this season will be, now that the returners have a year of experience in-conference, can this team make the jump to A-10 contention? Set to lead the backcourt rotation will be Daryl Banks III, Kyrell Luc, and Moses Flowers, joined by two graduate transfers in Charles Pride and Mike Adams-Woods. On an additional year of eligibility and with an opportunity to help raise the Bonnies standings, both transfers will heavily impact Schmidt’s offense scheme.

Of course, Schmidt’s team’s are always well coached defensively and in the front court, Chad Venning is expected to be more influential while George Washington transfer Noel Brown adds much needed size.

Beyond a more developed group of returners and a veteran transfer class, St. Bonaventure has one of the conference’s most consistent and successful head coaches. If this team can build on last season’s experience and growth, the Bonnies will be the A-10’s most improved program by far.


This season’s Dukes will feature six returners that played over 10-plus minutes per game during 2022-23, a group that showed consistent growth throughout a sixth-place A-10 finish. Pair those returners a veteran class of transfer recruits in Fousseyni and Hassan Drame, Andrei Savrasov, and Dusan Mahoricic, and Duquesne looks like the conference’s most experienced team.

All-Conference preseason selections Dae Dae Grant and Jimmy Clark III make up possibly the league’s top backcourt tandem, expected to space the floor and provide consistent offensive production.

While at times last season defensive struggles arose, returner Tre Williams aided by the Drame twins and Savrasov will each help to raise defensive and rebounding metrics.

These Dukes are built to contend and win immediately. If Keith Dambrot can develop along some of the additional pieces to add depth, he’ll easily improve on last season’s 20 wins.

Saint Joseph’s

It’s been a long road back to A-10 relevance for St. Joe’s, but head coach Billy Lange returns essentially his entire roster this season and has the Hawks looking like potential contenders.

(Just ignore the terrible mascot.)

Graduate senior Cameron Brown, junior Erik Reynolds II and Dayton transfer Lynn Greer III will battle Duquesne for A-10 backcourt supremacy. In addition, the Hawks add the program’s best freshman recruiting class since the early 2010s.

Leading the newcomers will be 7-foot center Christ Essandoko, a former Providence commit who instead ended up on Hawk Hill and had to redshirt the previous season. Whispers have slowly spread this offseason that Essamdoko has really impressed and could be one of the conference’s top big men beside Holmes.

Add this class to a group of returners expected to take a step up in Christian Winborne, Kacper Klaczek, and Rasheer Fleming, and St. Joe’s has potential.

The Rest

Saint Louis

Undoubtedly, last season was a disappointment for Travis Ford and his veteran-filled Billikens squad. Sullied by the loss of program assist-leader Yuri Collins, Javonte Perkins, Javon Pickett, and more, this will be a fairly new look Saint Louis roster for the 2023-24 campaign.

Back is Preseason All-A10 First Team selection Gibson Jimerson. He’ll once again be the focal point of this Billikens offense. This season’s challenge will be meshing the developing returners with an exciting two — possibly three man transfer class if Georgetown transfer Bradley Ezewiro is granted an eligibility waiver.

If Ford can do so, this is a talented team that’s going to give opponents trouble with their size, physicality, and offensive capabilities.


Regardless of the program’s singular first place vote in the preseason poll, this is a transitional period for the Rams following the departures of Darius Quisenberry and Khalid Moore.

UTSA transfer Japhet Medor will be expected to handle the bulk of the offensive scoring, after receiving his NCAA eligibility waiver late last week. Medor averaged 13.7 PPG for the Roadrunners last season, and will be assisted by a grouping of seniors and sophomores each expected to take a leap forward.

This will be a defensive minded squad foremost given their size and with the “Rose Thill” fans reinvigorated behind these Rams, will be one of the conference’s most physical and daunting contenders.

Loyola Chicago

The Ramlbers first season in the A-10 didn’t quite go to plan for Drew Valentine and Co., but having learned from their mistakes this season’s team should be vastly improved.

Guard Braden Norris, forward Philip Alston, A-10 All-Freshman Ben Schwieger, and Tom Welch all return, alongside a transfer class that offers depth, size, and scoring prowess.

Loyola Chicago will be one of the more experienced teams in conference this season with seven senior or grad seniors currently on the roster. Ultimately, this gives Valentine a great opportunity to show his development in the A-10 and prove that last year’s struggles are behind this program.

George Washington

Head xoach Chris Caputo’s first season in charge was a rousing success for the newly named Revolutionaries, finishing .500 on the year while going 10-8 in conference play.

Now, Caputo returns former LSU transfer and 2022-23 All-A-10 First Team selection James Bishop IV, along with 2022-23 A-10 Rookie of the Year Maximus Edwards. With Bishop back after a season in which he led the conference in scoring, GW will repeat as one of the league’s top offensive teams.

Outside of those two, the Revolutionaries bolster just one additional returner, and so Caputo hit the transfer portal to try and offset things on the defensive end. If he can defensively develop Oklahoma transfer Benny Schroder, Auburn transfer Babatunde Akingbola, and former Virginia Tech recruit Darren Buchanan, this team has legit two-way talent.

George Mason

Tony Skinn returns to his alma mater following Kim English’s departure for Providence and has already completely reworked this roster. Point guard Ronald Polite III returns after a career-best season and will be assisted by an eight man transfer class consistent of power-6 and mid-major talent.

However, not only is Skinn a first-time Head Coach but he also faces the difficult challenge of trying to fuse a completely new roster together. In addition, East Tennessee State transfer Jalen Haynes continues to wait on an eligibility waiver from the NCAA, his presence on the court could be pivotal.

This team certainly has a lot of talent and Skinn has the passion to take his alma mater forward, but there might be a learning curve to this season for the Patriots.


The loss of four key seniors, and in particular, Tyler Burton who transferred to Villanova, forced the Spiders to adapt this offseason with an expected jump from the returning cast.

To build on the likes of Neal Quinn, Isaiah Bigelow, and Jason Roche, head coach Chris Mooney brought in three transfer additions and a massive freshman class.

Richmond’s roster is loaded with youth, but East Tennessee State transfer Jordan King and Wagner transfer DeLonnie Hunt will help to lead this team’s development as veteran guards.

Despite an 11th place finish in the A-10 last season and losing a program-defining player in Burton, the Spiders still have a great opportunity to develop and improve during 2023-24.


Gone are All-Conference players Foster Loyer and Sam Mennenga as head coach Matt McKillop prepares for his second season in charge after taking over for his father Bob McKillop.

Guard Grant Huffman will be the Wildcats key returner but this is once again a youthful roster that’ll look to develop and improve for the next couple seasons. Former Villanova redshirt freshman Angelo Brizzi arrives in North Carolina this offseason and will excite fans with his athletic ball handling and elite scoring abilities.

In year two of the Matt McKillop era we should expect to see some major growth from this Davidson squad as the young cast of contributors develops heading into conference play.


Matt Cross, Rahsool Diggins, and Keon Thompson return for Frank Martin, aided by perhaps the conference’s most interesting transfer in 2022-23 Co-NEC Player of the Year Josh Cohen.

However, the Minutemen will add seven freshman additions and could be in trouble once again if they don’t see early development from the incoming class. Those key veterans creating stability and helping along this young core could spell improvement or failure for UMass by the time we reach A-10 play.

Martin has a lot to prove on the back of a disappointing 2022-23 campaign in Amherst, but it’s tough to bet against a well respected and successful coach. He’s got a solid starting five to build on and should have UMass better than a 13th place finish by years end.

Rhode Island

Archie Miller has reconstructed this Rhode Island squad after a down year to the start of his tenure in Kingston by acquiring several transfer and JUCO pieces.

Miller has been adamant that the Rams will improve on the chaos of last season and he’s taken this opportunity to further develop his roster towards the conference’s strengths.

URI added some size and skill this offseason with Louisiana Tech transfer David Green and former High Point guard Jaden House who averaged 17.3 PPG over the 2022-23 campaign.

The conference as a whole should be improved this season, but if Miller can merge the newcomers and develop his new additions, who says the Rams can’t be competitive?

La Salle

Under legendary Big 5 coach Fran Dunphy, the Explorers saw improvement to end the 2022-23 season, winning two games at the A-10 Championship and advancing to the quarterfinals.

Yet, there wasn’t much change to this La Salle roster throughout the offseason outside of the in-conference transfers of the Drame twins. While initially this seems beneficial, returning a core of Khalil Brantley, Jhamir Brickus, and more, Dunphy did little to build on that group for the upcoming season.

Unquestionably, Dunphy will have a well coached squad and can expect further refinement from his returners because of it. Whether his incoming pair of freshman and JUCO transfer Milos Kovacevic will be enough to support Brantley and Brickus poses huge question marks as La Salle enters the 2023-24 campaign.