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October 18, 2010
League preview: MAAC
We continue with our league breakdowns for the upcoming season; we'll work backward from league No. 32 to our top-ranked league.
The breakdowns will become more in-depth as the leagues get bigger.
15. Metro Atlantic Athletic
By Mike Huguenin
The departures of PG Ronald Moore, F Edwin Ubiles and F Alex Franklin likely will be too much for Siena to overcome. The returns of G Clarence Jackson and F Ryan Rossiter -- who averaged a double-double last season and will be a leading contender for league player of the year -- give the Saints hope, though.
Fairfield is led by sophomore G Derek Needham, who averaged 16.2 points and 5.4 rebounds last season. He heads the league's best backcourt, and if senior F Greg Nero's back problems are gone, the Stags will have one of the league's best frontcourts, as well. Yorel Hawkins is the other key frontcourt player for coach Ed Cooley, who should be getting some entreaties from bigger programs after this season.
Iona lost coach Kevin Willard to Seton Hall, but the Gaels -- who were rebuilt quickly by Willard -- return all five starters. This was a defense-minded group last season and that shouldn't change. G Scott Machado is the headlining talent.
Saint Peter's has made a steady climb in the league standings, and the trio of Gs Wesley Jenkins and Nick Leon and F Ryan Bacon gives the Peacocks hope they can win the league. Jenkins and Leon form the league's best guard duo and give the Peacocks a chance for a postseason bid of some sort.
Canisius, Rider, Loyola and Niagara will vie for the other spot in the top half of the standings. Canisius has a solid frontcourt and needs Julius Coles to provide consistent production in the backcourt. Rider returns four starters, but the Broncos lost star Ryan Thompson; Fs Mike Ringgold and Novar Gadson are the key guys this season. Loyola needs Jamal Barney to have a bounce-back season; he was the MAAC's leading scorer in 2008-09 but slumped last season. Niagara lost a lot of firepower, and the Purple Eagles need a big season from G Anthony Nelson, the team's lone senior and the top returning scorer (9.9 ppg).
Manhattan and Marist combined for five league wins last season, and combining for eight this season is an admirable goal.
ALL-LEAGUE FIRST TEAM
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