College Basketball Preview: NC A&T joins new conference with new coach

The Aggies enter the CAA with interim coach Phillip Shumpert at the helm

Demetric Horton, center, averaged 10.7 points for the Aggies last season. (Kenneth Ferriera/News & Record via AP)

For the third time in as many years, the Aggies are in a new conference. North Carolina A&T played one year in the Big South after leaving the MEAC before jumping to the Colonial this year. A&T will do it with interim coach Phillip Shumpert leading the way after Willie Jones was abruptly dismissed in mid-August.

2021-22 record: 12-20 (6-10 Colonial)

Top players: Redshirt junior Marcus Watson was named an honorable mention preseason All-CAA player, and the forward led the Aggies with 12.6 points and six rebounds last year. Guard Demetric Horton, the only other player to average double-digit points last season (10.7), also returns. Duncan Powell, a top-100 recruit in 2021, missed last year with a knee injury but is back.

Key additions: Three-star guard Tyrese Elliott of Loganville, Georgia, should contribute right away. JUCO transfer Kam Woods, who played a season at Troy in 2020-21, is another guard who should factor into Shumpert’s rotation.

Departed players: Guards Kameron Langley and Tyler Maye are gone, so the Aggies will need to replace their veteran leadership.

Expectations: The Aggies were picked to finish 11th in the Colonial by the conference’s coaches, and Shumpert will have his work cut out for him in leading A&T on short notice.