The 2013-14 season will be a new look, of sorts, for the Lamar Cardinals. Lamar returns two starters, but only six letterwinners from the 2012-13 season, which could have the average fan looking past this year's version of the Cardinals. That assumption would be a mistake.
Lamar returns two of its top four scorers from last season, including California native Rhon Mitchell. A 6-5 forward, Mitchell was one of the top freshmen in the league last season averaging better than 10 points and nearly five rebounds per game. Mitchell will be joined by the squad's lone senior, Amos Wilson, who averaged nearly nine points and five rebounds in 23 starts last season. The Cardinals will turn to a couple of sophomores for leadership at the guard spot. Keilan Blanks and Donnell Minton return from a rookie campaign that saw them combine to average 12 points and four assists per game in 24 starts last season. In addition, all six of Lamar's returning letterwinners bring starting experience to the lineup.
Head coach Pat Knight, and his staff, have added seven newcomers to this year's squad, but they bring with them quite a bit of success and experience from the junior college level. Among the team's seven newcomers, five come by way of the junior college route, with two freshmen. The incoming class adds immediate help at both ends of the floor. Four of the five transfers averaged double-figure scoring during their juco careers, while Gainesville, Fla. Native, Octavius Green, was the nation's second-leading rebounder averaging 13 rebounds per contest. Tyran de Lattibeaudiere comes to Beaumont from one of the top junior college programs in the country. One of the nation's top shot blockers, de Lattibeaudiere, guided Vincennes University to the NJCAA Final Four, while averaging 5.0 blocks per game during his sophomore season.
While the Cardinals' schedule will not have them facing a tough 11-game road stretch like last season, the upcoming slate is a daunting one that consists of trips to both coasts, games in all four times zones, as well as games against four teams that competed in the 2013 NCAA Championship tournament. Lamar opens the 2013-14 season at Butler Nov. 9, before hosting George Mason in their home opener three nights later. Things don't get any easier when Lamar opens conference play with consecutive road games against the defending Southland regular-season champion, Stephen F. Austin, Jan. 2 and the defending Southland tournament champion Northwestern State Jan. 4.