Players To Watch: Atlantic 10 Conference

Scott McGrathCorrespondent IAugust 9, 2010

NEW YORK - JANUARY 13:  Chris Gaston #33 of the Fordham Rams handles the ball against Josh Benson #44 of the Dayton Flyers at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2010 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Continuing the "Players to Watch" series, this is the second installation, featuring the Atlantic 10 conference (which is incorrectly named, like most other conferences with a number in it, since the A-10 actually has 14 teams).

And so, without further ado, these are the players to watch in the Atlantic 10.

Terrell Holloway, Xavier Musketeers

Terrell Holloway may not have the most stellar statistics, but he really is a "do-it-all" guy for Xavier.  An excellent free-throw shooter and a decent shooter from three, Holloway is most noted for his passing ability.  Last season, Holloway notched up enough assists to land him in the top 10 in the Atlantic 10.

Averaging almost 32 minutes a game, Holloway did not miss a game all of last season, and was quite durable for the Musketeers, finishing in the top 10 in minutes.  

Holloway's most impressive performance last season probably came in a losing effort against Kansas State, in which he finished with 26 points, six assists, and two steals.

With the departure of Jordan Crawford, Holloway will be relied upon much more this season to make plays for Xavier.


Kevin Anderson, Richmond Spiders

Kevin Anderson initially declared for the NBA Draft at the end of last season, but withdrew his name days before the draft deadline.

Hearing that Anderson is returning thrilled Richmond, as he is essentially irreplaceable for the Spiders.  Anderson is an excellent scorer and player, finishing in the top five in points per game in the A-10 last season, as well as the top five in steals.

Richmond had a great season last year and ended up as a seventh seed in the NCAA Tournament, largely due to Anderson's efforts.  

Anderson was held to single digits in only three games last season, and scored 20 or more points 13 times.  His most impressive game of the season came against Wake Forest, where Anderson dropped 31 points and also added three steals.

An exciting and skilled scorer, Anderson should lead a strong Richmond squad to another NCAA Tournament berth this season.


Chris Gaston, Fordham Rams

Fordham only won two games all of last season, and really had a pretty dismal year. The only bright spots for the team, however, were Jio Fontan and Chris Gaston, a sophomore.

Unfortunately for the Rams, Fontan transferred to the University of Southern California. Fordham will now look to Gaston to lead them to new heights, as they can really only get better from last season.

As a freshman, Gaston was absolutely electric, averaging a double-double for the entire season.  Gaston finished top five in the A-10 in points per game, second in offensive and overall rebounds per game, as well as top five in blocks per game.

Gaston only had nine games where he did not have a double-double and had a premier game against St. John's, finishing with 32 points and 15 rebounds.

Fordham cannot really do much worse than they did last season, but Gaston certainly may be the catalyst to improving this program.


Damian Saunders, Duquesne Dukes

Damian Saunders is probably one of the best players that nobody has heard of. Saunders puts up huge numbers consistently, while filling up stat-lines as well.

Though Duquesne only had an average season last year, Saunders was certainly dominant.  In the Atlantic 10, Saunders had the most rebounds per game, offensive rebounds per game, blocks, and steals, as well as being top 10 in points per game.

Like Gaston, Saunders averaged a double-double as well, though he's not as superb a scorer.  His numbers for the season are just ridiculous, averaging 15 points per game, more than 11 rebounds per game, and very close to three steals and three blocks a game.

Saunders is a force on both sides of the floor and has the skill set to lead Duquesne to even better things this season.


Freshman to Watch: Justin Martin, Xavier Musketeers

Though Justin Martin is another player from Xavier, he has so much potential that he must be mentioned.

Martin is a top 100 player in his recruiting class and is highly touted for his excellent perimeter shooting.  Though he clearly has to work on other facets of his game, specifically rebounding and defense, his offense is there.

A terrific spot-up three shooter, Martin could immediately be Jordan Crawford's replacement on the offensive end for the Musketeers.