St. Joe's A Sleeper Pick in the A-10

        It's been years since the St. Joe's Hawks were the favorites in the A-10 Conference and now that Butler and VCU have been added to the mix, the path looks even more gloomy. There are the Bulldogs and the Rams, joining the top-ranks of Xavier, Temple and 2012-13 hopefuls Saint Louis, UMass and LaSalle.

        St. Joe's finished at 9-7 in the conference, pulling in 20 wins overall and return all five starters, including some dangerous guards. The 5'11" Carl Jones led the team with 17.0 points per game, while 6'2" Langston Galloway was just behind him with 15.5 points. Jones is good for a quick burst to the rim and seeking contact, but also has the range and confidence to pull-up from deep. He went off for 38 points against Seton Hall early-on and then averaged 23 points per game in the final four games of '11-'12.

        In the frontcourt, the star to watch is C.J. Aiken, a long, lanky shot-blocking extraordinaire with 3.5 per game a year ago to go with his 10.9 points and 5.1 rebounds. However, Aiken can fall in love with his 15-18 foot jumper, pulling him away from the rim and despite his thin frame, is where he is best utilized. Power forward Halil Kanacevic lives on the high-post playing a point-forward role from time-to-time and averaging a team-best 3.7 assists per game, but also possesses the motor and strength to dive to the rim and attack the glass, where his 8.3 rebounds were also a team-high.

If St. Joe's wants to return to A-10 supremacy and a NCAA bid, the key will be Aiken's development, but also the continued scoring of Jones and Galloway.

By Staff Writer - 8- 21 - 12