Players to Watch: America East Conference

Scott McGrathCorrespondent IAugust 7, 2010

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 23:  Chris De La Rosa #0 of the Siena Saints brings the ball upcourt as he is guarded by Reggie Redding #15 of the Villanova Wildcats in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional at the St. Pete Times Forum on March 23, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Last college basketball season, I tried to do a series highlighting a few players to watch from each conference for the season. While I completed the first few conferences alphabetically, I started on the process too late into the season to actually finish. At a certain point, highlighting players to watch 20 games in to a 30 game season became pretty pointless.

Therefore, I have decided to restart the same series for the 2010 season, just quite a bit earlier.  Essentially, I give a few players from every conference to keep an eye on during the season.

With that said, let's start with the America East Conference.


Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook Seawolves

Tommy Brenton is entering his junior season with Stony Brook, and really can do it all on the basketball court.  Brenton is only 6'5" yet he led the America East in rebounding and in defensive rebounds last season, and also was second in total offensive rebounds in the conference.  

Brenton really is an all purpose guard (even playing forward occasionally) as he also finished top 10 in assists per game, and second in the conference in steals per game. Stony Brook held the best conference record in the America East, largely to Brenton's efforts, though lost in the conference tournament to Boston University.

Throughout the season, Brenton had seven double-doubles, and filled up his stat line nearly every game.  Though he never had an outstanding game in one stat, he consistently added rebounds, assists, steals, and even blocks.


Joe Zeglinski, Hartford Hawks

Joe Zeglinski enters his senior season, after red-shirting two years ago due to injury. Hartford was not a great team last year, however, Zeglinski was a bright spot, especially in the conference.

Zeglinski really can do it all for the Hawks, as he finished top 10 in points scored, top five in points per game, and top 10 in defensive rebounds per game in the America East.

Unlike Brenton, Zeglinski could put up prolific scoring numbers in some games.  He led Hartford with 23 points in a two point loss to Baylor, probably one of Hartford's best games all season.  Compiling two double-doubles throughout the season, Zeglinski also scored 20 or more points seven times in the season.

A streaky three point shooter, Zeglinski can really light up the scoreboard when he gets hot, like in a game against UMBC, in which he finished with 29 points.


Chris De La Rosa, UMBC Retrievers

Chris De La Rosa transferred to UMBC in 2008 from Siena and is entering his second season with the Retrievers. Though UMBC won only four games last season, De La Rosa was a huge boost for the team.

Both his defensive and offensive presence helped UMBC, as De La Rosa finished with the most assists in the America East, as well as being top 10 in steals.

De La Rosa is not much of a scorer (averaging just over 11 points per game), but did have five games where he exploded for more than 20 points. He clearly was a positive influence on the team, as two of those five games were wins.


John Holland, Boston University Terriers

John Holland has been one of the best America East players the past two seasons (and was a "player to watch" last season as well). He is an absolutely explosive scorer, but does even more on the court than that.

Holland was held to single digits only three times throughout all of last season, and put up 20 points on Kansas State, 21 on Indiana, 23 on Georgia Tech, and 23 on UConn.  He can clearly score against any team, but just does not have much of a supporting cast from the Terriers.

The top scorer in the America East last season, Holland also was top 10 in rebounds, top five in steals, and number one in minutes. He's an extremely durable player, who does not often find himself in foul trouble, as he never played less than 25 minutes in a game.

Scoring 20 or more points 19 times last season, Holland also put on a show in a win against Delaware scoring 43 points. Holland is an extremely exciting player, and certainly is the best scorer returning to the America East this season, perhaps for the second straight season.


Freshman To Watch: Travis Robinson, Boston University Terriers

If Travis Robinson can score as well as scouts say he can, a combination of Robinson and Holland could be a scary one for Boston University's America East opponents.

Touted as an excellent mid-range jump shooter, as well as slasher, Robinson should be a great addition to an already decent Boston University squad.

Luckily, even if Holland still must bear most of the scoring load for the Terriers, Robinson is also a highly touted defender and rebounder.  He truly is a "do-it-all" player, and could lead Boston University to a conference championship this season.