BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Rhode Island was picked to finish second, while E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin were selected to the preseason all-conference first team at the 2015-16 Atlantic 10 Media Day, held today at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The votes were made by the league's 14 head coaches and selected media members.
It is the highest preseason prediction for the Rams since the 2007-08 season, when Rhody was also tabbed to finish second. URI received eight of a possible 27 first-place votes, totaling 347 points. Dayton was picked first, with 12 first-place votes and 352 points.
Davidson (six first-place votes, 329 points) was third, George Washington (one first-place vote, 285 points) fourth, and VCU (277 points) was fifth. Richmond, Saint Joseph's, St. Bonaventure, La Salle, Massachusetts, Duquesne, Saint Louis, George Mason, and Fordham round out the remainder of the preseason poll.
Matthews and Martin were each named to the league's preseason All-Atlantic 10 First Team. The junior duo are two of the top players at their respective positions nationally. CBSSports.com recently selected the top 100 players in the country. Matthews ranked #56, while Martin checked in at #90.
Matthews - an A-10 Second Teamer last season - is the league's third-leading returning scorer, averaging 16.9 points per game. The Detroit native is one of 20 players named to the Jerry West Award watch list - honoring the top shooting guard in the nation. He has scored 999 career points and is poised to become the 52nd member of Rhode Island's 1,000 point club.
Martin - a 2014-15 All-A-10 Second Team pick - was also named to the 2015-16 Preseason All Defensive team. The 6-7 forward led the A-10 in field goal percentage (59.8%) and blocked shots (3.12 bpg) a year ago, while averaging 11.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game a season ago. Martin was also selected to the preseason All-Defensive Team.
Davidson's Jack Gibbs, Jordan Price of La Salle, and DeAndre' Bembry of Saint Joseph's round out the five-player first team.
For the full preseason poll and all-conference teams, click here.