Busting Brackets

Atlantic 10 Basketball: 2024 Offseason Pressure Index for each team

Saint Joseph's v Seton Hall
Saint Joseph's v Seton Hall / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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Can Afford To Think About Two Years

Returning: G DeLonnie Hunt, G Mikkel Tyne, G Jason Roche, F Aidan Noyes, C Mike Walz
Pressure Index: 1/10

Chris Mooney has regained all of the support that he had lost at the turn of decade, thanks to the 2022 A-10 Tournament title and 2024 A-10 Co-Regular Season title. And for the second time in four years, the Spiders roster has lost a significant group (four graduating starters, with one transferring for a final year).

Last time, it took a whole year for Neal Quinn to adapt to the demands of playing center in this offense, and for Richmond to land a proper lead guard. Over those two offseasons, Mooney and his staff proved to have a keen eye for unheralded small conference transfers that turned into contributors. No doubt they'll pull in a few again this spring, but absent proper replacements for Quinn and Jordan King, it may just become about building a foundation towards contending in 2025-26.

Ideal Target: Jhamir Brickus, (La Salle, 1 yr left). Richmond already landed a center to pair with Walz in Jonathan Beagle (Albany, 2), who is praised as an "underrated passer." That's one Mooney stereotype, so why not another? Brickus would immediately accelerate the Spiders' timetable as a two way replacement for King who possesses everything but his special off the dribble shotmaking. Richmond also has a visit scheduled with All-Ivy League guard Chris Manon (Cornell, 1), another player who could put them right back into contention.

St. Bonaventure
Returning: C Noel Brown
Pressure Index: 1/10

Mark Schmidt landed a lot of talented transfers the last two seasons, but they never gelled together on the court and in the second year, possibly off the court as well. St. Bonaventure is coming off the ultimate anti-Schmidt year, where most of the returning players actually regressed and the overall talent was better than the results. So why not take this barren roster as a chance to follow UMass of last year and go back to finding high schoolers and current freshmen that want to learn and grow under Schmidt, like all of his best teams of the past? Some of them will get sick of it and leave after a year, but the whole point is developing a central core. And Schmidt and his staff can afford a rebuild year. How many straight bad seasons would he need to have before coming under pressure? Three? Four?

Ideal Target: Cian Medley (SLU, 3). I swear that these are the only two inter-conference transfers I picked, but Medley is the perfect target for a great developmental coach to get during a rebuild season. He has excellent court vision but turnovers were a big issue his first season and he needs to become more aggressive attacking the rim and hunting his own shot in general. But overall, an excellent talent who could be special in the right situation.

George Mason
Returning: G Darius Maddox, G Jared Billups, F Austin Ball, F Jalen Haynes (redshirt last season)
***G Woody Newton has an available Covid year
Pressure Index: 3/10

George Mason was a genuine sleeper for next season when the news broke that Baraka Okojie was heading to the portal, meaning that Tony Skinn had lost both of his top notch acquisitions from the prior spring (Keyshawn Hall). There's still decent talent left but it's going to take at least one star pickup, plus a few other additions and a leap from Austin Ball to build a contender next season. Skinn and staff did a terrific job in their first offseason in building for a two year cycle, but this may now be the start of a new one.

Ideal Target: (Pacific, 2). The Tigers were dispicable last year, losing their last twenty-three games against Division I opponents, but they were good in exactly one stat, assist rate (top thirty nationally). This came despite being being bottom fifty in the nation in effective field goal percentage, solely because of Odum. It's hard to trust players with good stats on teams this awful but Odum is a worthy home run swing to replace Okojie.