Along with Thornton's all-league honors, the Tribe was picked ninth in the CAA predicted order of finish as voted on by the league's coaches, media and sports information directors. Drexel, who won the regular season in 2012, is the preseason favorite for the league crown followed by Delaware at No. 2, George Mason at No. 3, Old Dominion at No. 4 and Northeastern at No. 5.
Drexel's Frantz Massenat was the preseason CAA Player of the Year selection and was joined on the preseason first team by Delaware's Jamelle Hagins and Devon Saddler, Drexel's Damion Lee, Northeastern's Jonathan Lee and UNCW's Keith Rendleman. James Madison's A.J. Davis, Northeastern's Quincy Ford, Georgia State's Devonta White and Mason's Sherrod Wright joined Thornton on the preseason second team.
Last season, Thornton earned CAA All-Rookie Team honors as he started 14 of 32 games and ranking second on the team in scoring. One of the top returning scorers in the CAA, he averaged nearly 12 points per game in conference action last season, while shooting 39.1 percent from 3-point range. His percentage from long range in CAA play ranked sixth in the league.
Thornton turned in a number of stellar performances, but none better than his career-high 28-point showing against eventual CAA Champion VCU on Feb. 1. Thornton was 10-of-12 from the floor, including a 5-of-6 effort from 3-point range against the Rams in Williamsburg. He also turned in a 22-point showing at VCU on Jan. 19 and added 23 points, including 15 in the first half, at George Mason on Jan. 2.
Along with Thornton, the Tribe returns three starters in senior Matt Rum and juniors Brandon Britt and Tim Rusthoven. The Green and Gold also welcome back the services of Kyle Gaillard, who after starting 18 of 32 games in 2011, missed last season due to injury. Britt was a CAA All-Rookie Team honoree in 2011, while Rusthoven is one of the top returning post players in the CAA, averaging 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season. As a team, the Tribe returns 72.3 percent of its scoring (1397 of 1931), 70.8 percent of its rebounding (701 of 990) and 70 percent of its assists (240 of 343) from a year ago.