[Andrew Nicholson gets interviewed by ESPN’s Andy Katz at the Atlantic 10 Conference Media Day Thursday at the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge – Photo courtesy of GoBonnies.com]
By Ryan Lazo, feature columnist, @RMLazo13
NEW YORK (Oct. 13) — St. Bonaventure’s men’s basketball team was picked to finish fourth in preseason polls today at the Atlantic 10 Conference Media Day.
Xavier with 304 total points and 18 first-place votes got picked to finish first. Temple (287 points, four first-place votes), Saint Louis (239), St. Bonaventure (217) and defending champion Richmond (196) rounded out the top five.
“It’s nice to have the recognition for our program and the hard work we have put in, but it doesn’t matter,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said. “We didn’t believe what they had to say last year when they picked us to finish 13th, and we’re not buying into the hype.”
St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson and Xavier’s Tu Holloway, the defending A-10 Player of the Year, were both named to the Preseason First-Team All-Conference team.
Both players were also selected last week as preseason candidates for the prestigious John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List. Temple seniors Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez and George Washington’s Tony Taylor rounded out the first-team selctions.
Chris Mack, Xavier’s coach, said that Schmidt, a former Xavier assistant coach, has done an incredible job recruiting in a small town like Olean, N.Y. and the fans should be proud of that.
Also, Mack added Nicholson might be the most skilled player in the country.
“He is a constant mismatch for any team,” he said. “Place a big man on him and he’ll go around him or he’ll just take you outside.”
Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg, on the other hand, had a different approach.
“Best way to stop him is say your prayers the night before,” Kellogg said of Nicholson.
Though various high praises were said about Nicholson, Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus might have given the highest compliment to St. Bonaventure’s senior forward.
“When I saw 44, I used to think of Henry Aaron,” he said. “Now, I think of Nicholson.”
Tony Lee contributed to this story.
- Nicholson, Holloway, Duquesne’s T.J. McConnell, Richmond’s Darrius Garret and Saint Joseph’s’ C.J. Aiken were named to the all-defensive team.
- Practice begins Saturday at midnight. Duquesne tips off the 2011-12 season on Nov. 9 with a game at Arizona in the Coaches vs. Cancer 2K Sports Classic.
- The Bonnies play their first A-10 game on Jan. 4 vs. George Washington at 7 p.m.
Here is the list of the 2011-12 A-10 men’s basketball predicted order of finish:
- Xavier (18) 304
- Temple (4) 287
- Saint Louis 239
- St. Bonaventure 217
- Richmond 196
- Dayton 168
- St. Joseph’s 165
- George Washington 163
- Duquesne 151
- Rhode Island 117
- Charlotte 115
- Massachusetts 107
- La Salle 52
- Fordham 29