RAMS PICKED FOURTH IN A-10 POLL; TILLMAN NABS PRESEASON FIRST TEAM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – VCU was selected fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference's Preseason Poll, the league announced Tuesday at its annual Media Day at the Capital One Arena.

The Rams, led by first-year Head Coach Mike Rhoades, earned 299 points in the poll, just one less than Saint Joseph's. Defending league champion Rhode Island earned 390 points and grabbed 27 of a possible 28 first-place votes to top the poll, while St. Bonaventure was second with 345.

Additionally for VCU, senior forward Justin Tillman (Detroit, Mich.) was selected Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference First Team. Tillman and senior guard Johnny Williams (Richmond, Va.) were also named to the Preseason All-Defensive Team.

VCU has reached seven straight NCAA Tournaments and has advanced to the final of its conference tournament in each of those seasons. The Rams were 26-9 a year ago and placed second in the A-10 regular season standings with a 14-4 mark. VCU eventually met Rhode Island in the league's title game in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Rams return a pair of starters in Tillman and Williams and welcome back rotation regulars De'Riante Jenkins (Eutawville, S.C.) and Malik Crowfield (LaPlace, La.). Issac Vann (Bridgeport, Conn.), a transfer from Maine, will also suit up for VCU for the first time after sitting out last year. The Rams welcome nine newcomers in 2017-18, including Longwood graduate transfer Khris Lane (Richmond, Va.).

Tillman finds himself on the A-10 Preseason First Team after a breakout junior campaign in 2016-17. The Detroit, Mich. native averaged career-highs of 12.2 points and 8.7 rebounds, while shooting .592 from the floor, last season. In conference play, Tillman averaged 14.5 points and 9.6 rebounds and collected 11 double-doubles. He was named All-Atlantic 10 Conference Third Team for his efforts.

Williams joins Tillman on the Preseason All-Defensive Team following a 2016-17 season in which the 6-foot-1 guard became one of the Rams' catalysts. In addition to averaging 8.3 points and 3.1 assists per game, Williams also swiped 21 steals and blocked six shots.

VCU will kick off the 2017-18 campaign, the program's 50th season, Nov. 10 against Grambling State.

2017-18 ATLANTIC 10 PRESEASON POLL
( ) indicates first place votes

1. Rhode Island (27)....................................390
2. St. Bonaventure (1) ................................345
3. Saint Joseph's..........................................300
4. VCU..............................................................299
5. Dayton........................................................266
6. Davidson....................................................245
7. Saint Louis.................................................225
8. Richmond..................................................198
9. La Salle........................................................194
10. George Mason .........................................140
11. George Washington ..............................132
12. Massachusetts.........................................79
13. Fordham ....................................................66
14. Duquesne..................................................61

2017-18 ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE PRESEASON FIRST TEAM
Peyton Aldridge, Davidson, Sr., F (20.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg)
E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island, Sr., G (14.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure, Sr., G (20.6 ppg, 6.5 apg)
Matt Mobley, St. Bonaventure, Sr., G (18.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
Justin Tillman, VCU, Sr., G (12.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg)