George Mason Picked Third in CAA Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
Oct. 28, 2004
RICHMOND, Va. - George Mason was selected to finish third, while Old Dominion was picked to capture the CAA men's basketball championship in 2004-05 according to a vote of the media during Wednesday's (Oct. 27) CAA Basketball Media Day at the Richmond Coliseum.
The Monarchs received 13 first-place votes and 216 total points in the poll, while second-place Drexel was close behind with five first-place votes and 203 points. The Patriots picked up four first-place tallies with 189 points and defending CAA champion Virginia Commonwealth got two first-place votes and 185 points. Delaware was chosen fifth, followed by UNC Wilmington, Hofstra, William & Mary, James Madison and Towson.
George Mason welcomes back three starters from its 23-10 team that produced the most wins in school history and won a pair of games in the NIT. The Patriots top returnee is junior forward Jai Lewis (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen/Maine Central Institute), who made the 2004 all-CAA first team after ranking among league leaders in scoring (14.5 ppg), rebounds (7.5 rpg) and FG percentage (59.7%). Mason also has a pair of returning starters in the backcourt in juniors Tony Skinn (Takoma Park, Md./Hagerstown CC) (8.2 ppg) and Lamar Butler (Oxon Hill, Md./Oxon Hill) (10.5 ppg).
ODU returns four starters from last year's 17-12 squad, including junior forward Alex Loughton, who was a first-team all-CAA selection after ranking second in the league in scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounds (8.7 rpg). Also back are junior guard Isaiah Hunter (13.0 ppg), a third-team all-CAA choice last season, sophomore forward Arnaud Dahi (9.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg), a CAA all-Rookie team member, and sophomore point guard Drew Williamson.
Drexel also has four starters returning from its 18-11 squad that earned a berth in the NIT for the second year in a row. The Dragons are led by senior guard Phil Goss, who made the all-CAA first team in 2004 after averaging 13.6 ppg and draining a league-high 90 three-pointers. He is joined by senior forward Sean Brooks (14.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg), a second-team all-CAA selection, and sophomore point guard Bashir Mason (6.7 ppg, 2.3 spg), who was the first freshman in league history to be named CAA Defensive Player of the Year.
VCU is coming off a sensational 23-8 campaign that resulted in the school's first CAA title since 1996. Three starters are back for the Rams, led by junior forward Nick George (9.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and sophomore guard B.A. Walker (7.7 ppg). VCU's top returning scorer is senior forward Michael Doles (11.2 ppg), who has been the team's "sixth man" for the past two years.
ODU's Loughton was chosen as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. He was joined on the preseason all-CAA first team by Goss and Brooks of Drexel, Mason's Lewis, VCU's George and Delaware senior guard Mike Slattery. Making the preseason all-CAA second team were William & Mary sophomore forward Corey Cofield, ODU's Hunter, VCU's Doles, Hofstra sophomore guard Loren Stokes and UNC Wilmington junior guard John Goldsberry.
George Mason begins its 2004-05 season at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. on Thursday, Nov. 11, against IPFW at 5:30 p.m. local time in the first round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Patriots will face either host Memphis, which is a top-25 team in most preseason polls, or Savannah State in the second round on Saturday, Nov. 13.
2004-05 CAA MEN'S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH (as voted on by the media)