The JMU men’s basketball team was predicted to finish fifth in the 2014-15 Colonial Athletic Association standings, according to a vote by the league’s 10 head coaches, media relations directors and members of the media. The results of the preseason poll were announced on Tuesday at CAA Media Day at The Center Club in downtown Baltimore.
In addition, the CAA announced its extensive regional television schedule on the Comcast family of networks and the American Sports Network. JMU was selected to play in seven TV matchups in the CAA package, including four at home inside the Convocation Center.
The Dukes return two starters and eight letter winners from last year’s squad that finished 11-20 overall and 6-10 in CAA play to finish tied for sixth in the conference. The returners accounted for 52.2 percent of the team’s scoring and 54.4 percent of rebounding a year ago.
Despite being without a single senior on this year’s roster, Madison will rely on the veteran leadership of junior guards Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) and Andre Nation (Plant City, Fla./Faith Baptist Christian).
Nation was selected to the preseason’s All-CAA First Team while Curry was recognized as an Honorable Mention selection. Last season, Nation led the team with 15.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while also contributing 1.6 assists per game in his 14 games played. Curry ranked 12th in the CAA and third on the team with 12.1 points per game. He was also one of the top passers and defenders, ranking second in assist/turnover ratio (1.9), fourth in steals (1.1 spg) and fifth in assists (3.4 apg).
Joining the backcourt this season is another experienced guard in junior Winston Grays (Cleveland, Ohio/Benedictine (Cincinnati State)), who was a First Team All-American last season at the junior college ranks at Cincinnati State. He averaged 20.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.0 steals per outing as a sophomore on his way to being named Ohio Community College Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
Other key returners are sophomore guard Jackson Kent (High Point, N.C./High Point Christian) and sophomore forwards Tom Vodanovich (Wellington, New Zealand/St. Patricks College) and Yohanny Dalembert (Port-au-Prince, Haiti/Lower Merion (Pa.)). As rookies the trio averaged 12.3 points and 9.1 rebounds, collectively.
Northeastern, which returns four starters from a year ago, was selected to win the CAA title. William & Mary was picked second, followed by Hofstra in third and Drexel fourth. Behind fifth-place JMU was College of Charleston (sixth), Towson (seventh), reigning CAA champion Delaware (eighth), UNCW (ninth) and league newcomer Elon (10th).
Headlining the 2014-15 Preseason All-CAA teams was W&M senior guard Marcus Thornton, who was named Preseason Player of the Year. Joining Thornton and Nation on the First Team were Northeastern’s Scott Eatherton, Hofstra’s Juan’ya Green and Drexel’s Damion Lee.
JMU’s televised home games include Elon (Jan. 17 – 8 p.m.), William & Mary (Jan. 31 – 4 p.m.), College of Charleston (Feb. 21 – 7 p.m.) and Hofstra (Feb. 28 – 4 p.m.). On the road, the Dukes will face Drexel (Jan. 15 – 7 p.m.), Towson (Feb. 7 – 2 p.m.) and Delaware (Feb. 10 – 8 p.m.) on TV.
During the non-conference portion of the schedule, Madison will have two road games televised nationally. The first road outing of the year at Ohio State on Nov. 28 can be seen on the Big Ten Network while its second road game of the season, at East Carolina on Dec. 13, will be on ESPN3. Click here for the full schedule with television information.
JMU opens up the regular season Nov. 14 at home when it hosts eighth-ranked Virginia at the Convocation Center at 7 p.m.
Season tickets are currently on sale for the 2014-15 season and may be purchased online here. Single game tickets go on sale Nov. 1 for online-purchase only and Nov. 3 for purchase via phone (540-568-3853) or in person at the JMU Athletic Ticket Office.
2014-15 Preseason All-CAA Teams
Scott Eatherton, Northeastern#
Juan’ya Green, Hofstra
Damion Lee, Drexel
Andre Nation, James Madison^
Marcus Thornton, William & Mary*
CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Marcus Thornton, William & Mary
Honorable Mention: Tavon Allen, Drexel; Kyle Anderson, Delaware; Ron Curry, James Madison; David Walker, Northeastern