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Robert Morris picked second in 2010 NEC preseason coaches poll

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Sophomore guard Karon Abraham named to 2010 All-NEC preseason team

According to a poll of league head coaches, the Robert Morris University men's basketball team has been picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference in 2010-11. It marks the fifth straight year the Colonials have been picked to finish in the top three in the league, as Robert Morris was tabbed second in both 2006 and 2007 and third in each of the last two seasons.

Tabbed the favorite in the NEC in 2010-11 is Quinnipiac, which received 11 first-place votes and became the first program to be named the unanimous choice in the league since Long Island in 1997-98. Following the Bobcats and Colonials in the top five of the 2010 NEC Preseason Coaches Poll are Long Island, Central Connecticut State and Mount St. Mary's. The Blackbirds received on first-place vote, as head coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.

Rounding out the 2010 NEC preseason poll are Fairleigh Dickinson, which was picked to finish sixth, St. Francis (N.Y.) and Saint Francis (Pa.), which were picked to tie for seventh, Sacred Heart, Monmouth, Wagner and Bryant.

Robert Morris returns two starters and five letterwinners from a 2009-10 team that finished with an overall record of 23-12 (.657), including a mark of 15-3 (.833) in the NEC.

RMU is the three-time defending NEC regular-season champion, earning outright titles in 2008 and 2009 and sharing the title in 2010 with Quinnipiac. The Colonials are also the two-time defending champion of the NEC Tournament, becoming the first team to win back-to-back tournament titles since Rider in 1993 and 1994 thanks to a 52-50 win over the Bobcats March 10, 2010, in Hamden, Conn., in the championship game of the 2010 NEC Tournament.

In addition to being picked second in the 2010 NEC Preseason Coaches Poll, sophomore guard Karon Abraham (Paterson, N.J. / Harp Academy) was named to the 2010 All-NEC Preseason Team. Abraham is one of three guards on the squad, joining Akeem Bennett of St. Francis (N.Y.) and Mike Scott of Fairleigh Dickinson, while forwards Ken Horton of Central Connecticut State and Justin Rutty of Quinnipiac were also selected to the team.

Abraham led the Colonials in scoring last season by averaging 13.6 points per game. En route to establishing seven freshman records at Robert Morris, Abraham led the NEC in free-throw percentage (.851) and ranked second in the circuit in both three-pointers (85) and three-point field goal percentage (.443). A unanimous pick as the 2010 NEC Rookie of the Year, Abraham was also tabbed the 2010 NEC Tournament MVP after leading RMU to its seventh league title.

Also returning as a starter for Robert Morris in 2010-11 is redshirt sophomore guard Velton Jones (Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast Catholic). In 35 games, including 30 starts, Jones averaged 8.0 points per game while leading the Colonials in both assists (99) and steals (51).  

Robert Morris is led by first-year head coach Andrew Toole, who took over the helm of a program that has experienced unprecedented success over the last five years. RMU enters the 2010-11 campaign owning NEC records for the most victories over the span of two, three, four and five years.

Since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, the Colonials own a record of 105-56 (.652), while since the beginning of the 2007-08 campaign when Toole joined the staff at Robert Morris as an assistant coach, RMU is 73-31 (.702). The Colonials are also 46-8 (.852) in league play over the last three seasons, the best stretch by an NEC in the 30-year history of the conference.

RMU opens its 2010-11 season when it welcomes Saint Peter's to the Charles L. Sewall Center for a 4:00 p.m. tip Saturday, Nov. 13.

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