A-10 offseason: New Saint Louis coach transforms roster; 2025 tourney site announced; NBA decisions and more

Billikens will be a top contender in 2025 with hiring of Josh Schertz

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Athletic directors and men’s basketball coaches from the 15 Atlantic 10 Conference schools met last week in Naples, Fla.

NCAA President Charlie Baker talked to everyone at the meeting about a number of topics, including the potential expansion of the NCAA tournament. An A-10 press release Monday confirmed what Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade has already said. The A-10 would support a bigger field.

“The directors and coaches strongly supported the future expansion of the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments,” the press release read. “Given the parity in the sport, there was support (and a recommendation) for combining the current NIT/WBIT into the expansion review of the current field of 68 teams selected for March Madness.”

Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant is also on the record in wanting a bigger tournament. His team played in the tournament for the first time in seven years in March and beat Nevada in the first round before losing to Arizona. The A-10′s other representative in March Madness, Duquesne, upset Brigham Young in the first round before losing to Illinois.

The success of Dayton and Duquesne on March 21 gave the A-10 a confidence boost. The last two months have provided a mix of good news and bad as the transfer portal has reshaped rosters.

There will still be recruiting news in the weeks to come. Dayton, for instance, still has two scholarships to fill, assuming DaRon Holmes II stays in the NBA Draft, as expected.

For the most part, though, the 2024-25 rosters are known at this point. Making any sense of them and trying to decide the order of the 15 teams in the preseason poll is another matter. That’s a more difficult task than ever and probably something best saved for October.

Instead of an offseason power ranking, here’s a glance at the offseason news from around the A-10.

Tournament site: The A-10 announced Tuesday the 2026 conference tournament will return to PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

The A-10 last played its tournament in Pittsburgh in 2017. Dayton was the No. 1 seed that season and lost to Davidson in the quarterfinals. No. 4 seed Rhode Island beat No. 2 Virginia Commonwealth in the championship game.

The 2025 A-10 tournament will take place at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. It was also played there in 2018, when No. 3 seed Davidson beat No. 1 seed Rhode Island in the final, and in 2022, when No. 6 Richmond beat No. 1 Davidson in the championship.

New coaches: Saint Louis lured Josh Schertz, one of the hottest names on the coaching carousel, from Indiana State. After taking the Sycamores from 11 wins to 23 to 32 in three seasons, he takes over a program that went from 23 to 21 to 13 victories in Travis Ford’s final three seasons.

Duquesne’s Keith Dambrot retired after leading the Dukes to the first NCAA tournament berth since 1977. Duquesne gave the job to Dru Joyce III, the associate head coach the last two seasons.

Joyce and Schertz will be the only two new coaches in the league unless there’s an unexpected change before the 2024-25 season.

Here’s how the 15 head coaches rank in terms of longest tenure: 1. Chris Mooney, Richmond (entering 20th season); 2. Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure (18th); 3. Grant, Dayton (eighth); 4. Billy Lange, Saint Joseph’s (sixth); 5. Drew Valentine, Loyola Chicago (fourth); T-6. Frank Martin, Massachusetts (third); T-6. Fran Dunphy, La Salle (third); T-6. Archie Miller, Rhode Island (third); T-6th. Chris Caputo, George Washington (third); T-6. Keith Urgo, Fordham (third); T-6. Matt McKillop, Davidson (third); T-12. Tony Skinn, George Mason (second); T-12. Ryan Odom, Virginia Commonwealth (second); T-14. Schertz, Saint Louis; T-14. Joyce, Duquesne.

Roster transformation: Schertz has filled 12 of 13 scholarships at Saint Louis with three returning players, seven transfers and two incoming freshmen.

Two of the transfers followed Schertz from Indiana State: Robbie Avila, a 6-10 center who averaged 17.4 points last season, and Isaiah Swope, a 5-10 guard who averaged 15.9 points.

Recruiting flip: Norfolk State transfer Jamarii Thomas, a 6-0 guard who was the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year, committed to VCU on April 30 but changed his mind and picked South Carolina six days later.

Familiar transfers: Jalen DeLoach, a 6-9 forward, played his first two seasons at VCU before transferring to Georgia last season when VCU coach Mike Rhoades left for Penn State. Now DeLoach is returning to the A-10 but with Loyola Chicago. His scoring average dropped from 9.7 points per game in his sophomore season at VCU to 3.6 last season at Georgia.

• Maximus Edwards, a 6-5 guard, will play at Duquesne next season after averaging 11.5 points the last two seasons at George Washington.

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Changing minds: Gibson Jimerson, of Saint Louis, Max Shulga, of Virginia Commonwealth, and Nate Santos, of Dayton, all entered the transfer portal only to return to their schools.

Jimerson, a 6-5 guard, will play his sixth season with the Billikens. He appeared in 10 games as a freshman but earned a medical redshirt because of an injury. His second season, played during the pandemic, did not count against his eligibility. He has 1,825 points in five seasons.

Shulga committed to Villanova but then announced Wednesday he would return to VCU.

Santos, a 6-7 forward, will be Dayton’s top returning scorer (11.7 points per game) if Holmes doesn’t return.

NBA decisions: Seven A-10 players appeared on the list of early-entry candidates for the NBA Draft.

Three of those players also entered the transfer portal and committed to new schools: Dayton’s Koby Brea (Kentucky); George Mason’s Keyshawn Hall (Central Florida); and VCU’s Toibu Lawal (Virginia Tech).

Joe Bamisile, a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.1 points last season, announced last week he would withdraw from the draft and return to VCU.

Rasheer Fleming, a 6-9 forward who averaged 10.7 points for Saint Joseph’s, has not announced his decision.

Holmes, Dayton’s leading scorer, also has not announced his decision, but all signs point to him staying in the draft. He was the only A-10 player invited to the NBA Draft Combine last week.

The seventh player was Shulga.

New scholarship player: Jake DiMichele, a 6-4 guard who averaged 6.4 points as a freshman at Duquesne, announced Saturday he had earned a scholarship after playing last season as a walk-on.

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