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October 3, 2010

League preview: Mid-Eastern Athletic

We continue with our league breakdowns for the upcoming season; we'll work backward from league No. 32 to our top-ranked league.

The breakdowns will become more in-depth as the leagues get bigger.

30. Mid-Eastern Athletic

By Mike Huguenin

Morgan State dominated MEAC opponents last season, winning the regular-season title by four games and doubling up by taking the league tourney title, too.

The Bears lose star G Reggie Holmes, but junior F Kevin Thompson is back and should take over the title as the league's best player. He's a tough low-post scorer and is active on both ends. Sophomore F DeWayne Jackson is a 3-point threat and gives the Bears a nice inside-outside duo. Morgan State also is well-coached by Todd Bozeman, and his success could lead to a job offer from a bigger program after this season.

The chase for second place should be an entertaining one. Bethune-Cookman has the league's best guard in C.J. Reed, and he is coached by his dad, Clifford Reed. South Carolina State, which was the only league tam to beat Morgan State last season, lacks size but is well-coached and has a deep backcourt. Norfolk State looks to be the other prime contender, even though the Spartans lost leading scorer Michael DeLoach.

A dark horse is Maryland-Eastern Shore, which has improved its win total from three in 2006-07 to four to seven to 11 last season. Hillary Haley, who began his career at Saint Bonaventure, is the key player for the Hawks.

F DeWayne Jackson, Morgan St. (6-8/210, So.)
F Kyle O'Quinn, Norfolk State (6-10/240, Jr.)
F Kevin Thompson, Morgan State (6-9/240, Jr.)
G Darnell Porter, S.C. State (6-4/200, Sr.)
G C.J. Reed, Bethune-Cookman (6-3/175, Jr.)
F Thomas Coleman, N.C. A&T (6-9/220, Sr.)
F/G Rob Hampton, Norfolk State (6-4/200, Sr.)
G Hillary Haley, Md.-Eastern Shore (6-6/205, Jr.)
G Darrion Pellum, Hampton (6-6/205, Jr.)
G Calvin Thompson, Howard (6-3/180, Jr.)
PLAYER OF YEAR: F Kevin Thompson, Morgan State
NEWCOMER OF YEAR: G/F Aric Brooks, Morgan State (6-6/205, Jr./transfer from Jacksonville)

1. Morgan State
2. South Carolina State
3. Bethune-Cookman
4. Norfolk State
5. Maryland-Eastern Shore
6. Delaware State
7. Hampton
8. Howard
9. Coppin State
10. Florida A&M

New coaches: Kevin Nickelberry at Howard (had been coach of Libyan national team)
Regular-season winner last season: Morgan St.
Tourney winner last season: Morgan St.
League RPI rank in each of past 3 years: 30th in 2009-10, 30th in 2008-09, 30th in 2007-08
Last NCAA tourney win by a league team: 2004, Florida A&M in play-in game
2011 conference tournament: March 8-12, Winston-Salem, N.C.

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