Players to Watch: Atlantic Sun Conference

Scott McGrathCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 18:  Tommy Hubbard #13 of the East Tennessee State Buccaneers shoots the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 18, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The fourth installment of the "Players to Watch" series, this time featuring the Atlantic Sun Conference.


Junard Hartley, Campbell Fighting Camels

Campell finished in a four way tie for first in conference record last season, but lost in the first round of the conference tournament to eventual champion East Tennessee State University.

Entering his senior season, Junard Hartley will be the leader of this Fighting Camels team (how awesome a name is that?) and the one calling the shots from the point guard position.

Held to three assists or fewer in only four games last season, Hartley finished with the best assists per game in the A-Sun, and accumulated 10 or more assists in three games (to put this in perspective, John Wall did it four times last season).  Add his conference leading 2.6 steals per game to his accomplishments, and you get a pretty impressive resume.

It is probably worth mentioning that both of those stats are also top 20 in the nation, making it all the more impressive.  If Hartley can continue churning out strong numbers, Campbell just might be dancing next season.


Markeith Cummings, Kennesaw State Owls

Markeith Cummings may only be entering his sophomore season, but he has already established himself as a force in the Atlantic Sun.

An explosive scorer from almost anywhere on the court, Cummings finished top five in the conference in scoring, and also added a top 10 finish in rebounding.

While his rebounding numbers are decent, his scoring ability is unbelievable.  Held to single digits only once last season, Cummings once scored 30 points on only 20 shots (also finishing four of nine from three).

The Owls may not have had a great season last year, but it will be exciting to see what Cummings can do as his game develops and to see he can take this Kennesaw State team.


Tommy Hubbard, East Tennessee State Buccaneers

Tommy Hubbard's all-around contributions to East Tennessee State landed them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.  Returning for his senior season, Hubbard hopes to carry the Buccaneers to the Big Dance one more time.

Hubbard is the kind of player who fills up stat-lines, and fills them up pretty nicely.  In the Atlantic Sun last season, Hubbard finished top three in rebounding, top ten in scoring, and top ten in steals.

Whether on the glass, from his jump shot, or on defense, Hubbard's contributions were seen in every game, and he is a vital player to East Tennessee's success.

The Atlantic Sun should be pretty competitive again this season, and the Buccaneers will be relying on Hubbard to carry them to the top once again.


Adnan Hodzic, Lipscomb Bisons

Adnan Hodzic withdrew from the NBA Draft earlier this year, much to the chagrin of the 10 other teams in the Atlantic Sun.  Hodzic is probably the best player in college basketball that nobody's heard of.

Finishing second in scoring in the country last season, Hodzic finish first in scoring in conference and second in rebounding.  He is an absolute offensive machine, never once scoring in single digits and recording 20 or more points in the final 12 games of the season last year.

A center at only 6-9, Hodzic gives teams problems all game long because of his ridiculous ability to get the basket.  However, Lipscomb finished tied for the best conference record and bowed out early in the conference tournament.

Look for Hodzic to do better in his senior season.


Freshman to Watch: Luis Jacobo, Stetson Hatters

Stetson may have had the worst conference record last season, but that doesn't mean they won't have one of the best freshman in the Atlantic Sun.

Luis Jacobo could be the key to turning around the Hatters' program, as he is an excellent all around player.  

Noted for his rebounding and defensive ability, Jacobo is also an explosive slasher who should greatly help Stetson on the offensive end.  He could be the immediate answer to help the Hatters have a stronger finish in the Atlantic Sun this year.