Oct. 25, 2012
BEAUMONT - With only one starter returning from last year's NCAA Tournament team, the Lamar men's basketball team has been picked fifth in the Southland Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, announced the league office Thursday.
Head coach Pat Knight, who led the Cardinals to a 23-12 record and the Southland Conference Tournament title in his first season, will have nine newcomers and five returning letterwinners to work with this season. Senior forward Stan Brownis the only returning starter, posting per game averages of 4.9 points and 4.3 rebounds last season.
League newcomer Oral Roberts received seven of the possible 10 first place votes and is the preseason favorite with 77 points. Stephen F. Austin earned the remaining three first place votes and is picked second with 72 points. Northwestern State (61), McNeese State (55) and Lamar (45) round out the top five.
"The preseason picks don't mean anything," said Knight. "It's good for the fans if you're picked high, but it doesn't mean anything. You have to play the season, get through the pre-conference and then get through the conference.
"For me as a coach, I almost like not being picked for anything because it gives you motivation. You can use that with your team. With us having so many new guys, I think it's good that we're picked middle of the pack. It gives us something to work at to finish higher than where people think you will."
With 42 points, Southeastern Louisiana leads the bottom half in the coaches poll. Sam Houston State was picked seventh with 38 points, followed by Nicholls and Central Arkansas tied for eighth with 24 points and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 10th with 12 points.
The Sports Information Directors' Poll also had Oral Roberts and Stephen F. Austin finishing first and second, respectively, but had Lamar and McNeese State tied for third. The SIDs picked Northwestern State to finish fifth, followed by Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls, Central Arkansas and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The preseason All-Southland Conference Teams were also announced Thursday, although Lamar was not represented on either the first or second team.
SFA senior guard Antonio Bostic headlines the first-team, joined by teammate Taylor Smith, Northwestern State's Shamir Davis, Central Arkansas' LaQuentin Miles and Brandon Fortenberry of Southeastern Louisiana.
Oral Roberts placed two players on the preseason second-team in guard Warren Niles and forward Steven Roundtree. The remainder of the team is made up of Dontae Cannon of McNeese State, James Hulbin of Northwestern State and Fred Hunter of Nicholls.
Lamar will play a pair of home exhibition games on Nov. 3 against McMurry and Nov. 5 against Northwood before opening the regular season in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Kansas State on Nov. 12.
2012-13 Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
|Team (First Place Votes)
Oral Roberts (7)
Stephen F. Austin (3)
Sam Houston State
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi