Oct. 26, 2004
PLANO - Lamar, under the direction of second-year coach Billy Tubbs, has been picked to finish sixth in the Southland Conference men's basketball preseason coaches poll while Northwestern State was tabbed the team to beat in the race for the 2004-05 championship, announced the league office on Tuesday.
Northwestern State received four first-place votes for a total of 88 points, edging Sam Houston State by just one point. The Bearkats also received four first-place votes and totaled 87 points. Texas-San Antonio received two first-place votes and was tabbed third with 78 points and Stephen F. Austin claimed the final first-place vote and was picked fourth with 67 points.
Southeastern Louisiana, who shared the regular season championship with Texas-San Antonio and Texas-Arlington last year, was picked fifth with 64 points. Lamar, who posted an 11-18 record last season, received 56 points and is slated to finish sixth.
McNeese State was picked seventh with 43 points, followed by Louisiana-Monroe and UTA in eighth with 38 points, Texas State was 10th with 36 points and Nicholls State was 11th with 10 points.
In the sports information director's poll, UTSA received five first-place votes for a total of 97 points, one point better than Northwestern State. The Demons received three first-place votes and totaled 96 points. SHSU and SLU both received a first-place vote and were slated to finish third and fourth with 92 and 86 points, respectively.
SFA was picked to finish fifth with 80 points. Lamar, who received the final first-place vote, and Texas State tied for sixth with 60 points. UTA was tabbed eighth with 53 points, followed by McNeese State (43), UL-Monroe (42) and Nicholls State (17).
Northwestern State also occupied three spots on the preseason all-SLC team to lead all schools. Juniors Jermaine Wallace and Clifton Lee were first team selections, and junior Byron Allen was named to the second team. Also on the first team was Nate Lofton of SLU, Joe Thompson of SHSU and Willie Depron of Nicholls State.
In addition to Allen, the second team was comprised of Eddy Fobbs of SHSU, Marcus Clark of SFA, Josh Naylor of Texas State and Steven Thomas of UTA.
The Cardinals return three starters and six letterwinners from last year's squad led by senior guards Raymond Anthony and Teddy Davis. Anthony, an honorable mention all-SLC selection last year, led the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game and his 94 three-pointers made was the second-best single-season total in school history. He ranked 14th in the NCAA with 3.2 three-pointers made per game.
Davis averaged 13.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season. Also back for the Cardinals are junior Jason Grant and sophomore Blake Whittle. Grant averaged 7.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He led the SLC with 71 blocked shots, which ranked as the second-best single-season total in school history and ranked 19th in the NCAA. Whittle averaged 7.4 points and 3.6 rebounds, and he was third on the team with 32 three-pointers made.
Lamar will host Delta State in the first of two exhibition games on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Montagne Center. The Cardinals open the regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 23 when Jarvis Christian visits the Montagne Center for a 7 p.m. game.
2004-05 Southland Conference Men's Basketball Polls
Coaches Poll (1st-place votes) Points
1. Northwestern State (4) 88
2. Sam Houston State (4) 87
3. Texas-San Antonio (2) 78
4. Stephen F. Austin (1) 67
5. Southeastern Louisiana 64
6. Lamar 56
7. McNeese State 43
8. Louisiana-Monroe 38
10. Texas State 36
11. Nicholls State 10
Sports Information Directors Points
1. Texas-San Antonio (5) 97
2. Northwestern State (3) 96
3. Sam Houston State (1) 92
4. Southeastern Louisiana (1) 86
5. Stephen F. Austin 80
6. Lamar (1) 60
Texas State 60
8. Texas-Arlington 53
9. McNeese State 43
10. Louisiana-Monroe 42
11. Nicholls State 17
2004-05 Preseason All-Southland Conference Men's Basketball Teams
NAME UNIVERSITY POS CL HT HOMETOWN
Nate Lofton Southeastern Louisiana C Sr. 6-9 New Orleans, La.
Joe Thompson Sam Houston State G Sr. 6-4 Wharton, Texas
Jermaine Wallace Northwestern State G Jr. 6-2 Dubberly, La.
Willie Depron Nicholls State PG Sr. 6-1 White Castle, La.
Clifton Lee Northwestern State F Jr. 6-7 Boyce, La.
NAME UNIVERSITY POS CL HT HOMETOWN
Eddy Fobbs Sam Houston State C Sr. 6-11 Silsbee, Texas
Marcus Clark Stephen F. Austin PG Jr. 5-10 Marshall, Texas
Josh Naylor Texas State G Sr. 6-0 Rockwall, Texas
Steven Thomas Texas-Arlington F Jr. 6-5 Fort Worth, Texas
Byron Allen Northwestern State F Jr. 6-7 Leland, Miss.