It was a mixed bag of news for the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team Tuesday morning. One of its players was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Conference first team, while the Minutemen landed in the top 10.
The conference released its preseason All-Conference teams and preseason poll. Tre Mitchell, the 6-foot-9 sophomore center/forward, was the only UMass player chosen on one of the three All-Conference teams, but he was a member of the six-player first team.
The Minutemen, who finished ninth last year in the conference, are projected to finish eighth in 2020-21. Richmond, runner-up to league champion Dayton, was the preseason top choice.
The All Conference teams and the preseason poll were chosen by a panel of the conference’s head coaches and select media members. The Berkshire Eagle had one of those media votes.
Richmond, who finished second in the Atlantic 10 with a 14-4 record and a 24-7 overall mark, was the preseason No. 1 team. The Spiders finished with 19 of the 28 first-place votes. Runner-up Saint Louis had seven first-place votes, while last year’s champion Flyers had the other two first-place votes.
The top 10 in the voting are Richmond, Saint Louis, Dayton, St. Bonaventure, Duquesne, Rhode Island, Davidson, UMass, VCU and George Mason. George Mason is coached by former Williams men’s mentor Dave Paulsen. The bottom four were, from No. 11, George Washington, Saint Joseph’s La Salle and Fordham.
Richmond had 380 points in the voting to 364 for Saint Louis, while Dayton had 318.
Richmond and Saint Louis are also the only two teams who received votes in the Associated Press preseason Top 25.
Mitchell is the only non-guard named to the A-10’s first team. The sophomore big man from Pittsburgh via Woodstock Academy in Connecticut, brings 17.7-point and 7.2-rebound per game averages into the season. He was the Atlantic 10’s Rookie of the Year, and was a second-team All-Atlantic 10 selection. Mitchell was the first “rookie” since Marcus Camby to be named to the All-Atlantic 10 first or second team. Camby made the list in 1994.
Mitchell was a six-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week selection, the most for a Minuteman since Rashaun Freeman in 2003-04.
The rest of the A-10 first team are Kellen Grady of Davidson, Jalen Crutcher of Dayton, Fatts Russell of URI, Jacob Gilyard of Richmond and Jordan Goodwin of Saint Louis.
Mitchell was the only UMass player named to any of the three All-Conference teams. The top two teams in the preseason voting, Richmond and Saint Louis, had three players each named to the All-Conference teams.
Duquesne, St. Bonaventure and Paulsen’s Patriots had two players each named to the three teams. UMass, Davidson, Dayton, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s and VCU all had one player on one of the three teams.