Aug. 16, 2012
The race for the MAAC Player of the Year Award could be as open as the league's crazy sprint to a title. After Iona's dominating run through the league last season, which led to an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament as the Gaels were upset by Loyola (MD) in the conference tournament, every team has question marks and an opportunity to capitalize.
Last season's top player, Iona's Scott Machado, graduated, along with two other All-MAAC First Team players in Machado's teammate Mike Glover and Fairfield's Rakim Sanders leaving the cupboard a little empty, but not bare.
Teams in the MAAC are compensating by bringing in talented transfers and junior college players. Ashton Pankey - from Maryland to Manhattan, and Curtis Dennis - from Toledo to Iona, both transferred this offseason and could make a big impact. (Pankey needs to have his waiver approved first.) Also, former St. John's guard Nurideen Lindsey, who transferred in 2011-12 at midseason will be eligible for Rider in December.
Here are 10 returning players that should make a big impact on their teams and the title race in the MAAC this season: