(DeAndre’ Bembry and Dion Wright Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
NBA All-Star Weekend has come and gone, but the captivating dunk contest and tributes to Kobe Bryant will not be forgotten anytime soon. When watching the festivities, a thought came to mind: what if the Atlantic 10 conference had an All-Star Weekend of its own?
College basketball has a senior All-Star Game on Final Four Friday, but individual conferences do not host such events. While unlikely, it would be interesting if the A-10 became the first.
Here’s a just-for-fun brainstorming of an Atlantic 10 All-Star Game:
Location: While the location of the showcase could rotate between the member schools, the conference would likely favor the arenas with the largest capacities: Dayton, Saint Louis, George Mason and UMass are the leaders. UD Arena’s 13,455 seats give it the edge.
Coaches: The coaches of the top two teams would get the first invite. The league could either look at the standings or pick the two A-10 title game coaches. Right now, Archie Miller of Dayton would be facing off with Phil Martelli of St. Joe’s. The next four coaches in the standings could be invited as assistants.
Halftime show: Let the bands showcase their skills in a “Battle of the Bands” format similar to the one in Brooklyn at the conference tournament. The fans would vote on their favorite, with the winning school selecting a charity of their choice to donate to.
Rosters: Since the conference no longer has divisions, the coaches will choose sides fantasy draft style. Starters will be selected via fan voting and reserves will be picked by the coaches, just like the pro games. 22 players will play, 10 for each side.
If I were picking the players to make the game this season, these would be my selections. I picked 22 players, trying my best to pick at least one representative from every school (alphabetized by school):
Jack Gibbs, Davidson
Charles Cooke, Dayton
Dyshawn Pierre, Dayton
Scoochie Smith, Dayton
Derrick Colter, Duquesne
Micah Mason, Duquesne
Ryan Rhoomes, Fordham
Shevon Thompson, George Mason
Tyler Cavanaugh, George Washington
Patricio Garino, George Washington
Jordan Price, La Salle
Hassan Martin, Rhode Island
Terry Allen, Richmond
Ash Yacoubou, Saint Louis
Marcus Posley, St. Bonaventure
Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure
Dion Wright, St. Bonaventure
DeAndre’ Bembry, St. Joseph’s
Isaiah Miles, St. Joseph’s
Trey Davis, UMass
Melvin Johnson, VCU
JeQuan Lewis, VCU
In addition to the game, there would be the skills competitions like the NBA, with the three-point and dunk contests headlining the show. Jaylen Adams, Patricio Garino and Micah Mason could give Klay Thompson a run for his money with their three-point prowess. The dunk contest might need some athletes who didn’t make the game, like Ty’Sean Powell of Duquesne, Denzel Gregg of St. Bonaventure, James Demery of St. Joe’s and Justin Tillman of VCU. Their in-game dunks show promise, which means we could be in for a show to remember if it could ever come to fruition.
The Atlantic 10 All-Star game will probably never happen, but wouldn’t it be fun?