Cumberland men picked second
LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland’s men’s basketball team received one first-place vote and 66 total points, placing second in the TranSouth Conference Preseason Coaches Poll released Tuesday by the conference office.
Cumberland enters the 2008-09 season looking to build upon last year’s 21-13 campaign and national tournament appearance under seventh-year head coach Lonnie Thompson. Senior Thomas Douglas, a First Team All-Conference performer last season and the team’s leading returning scorer at 15.9 points per game, heads into the season with 909 total points scored in the previous two years of competition.
“The conference is very bunched in three groups of teams with Union at the top,” Thompson said. “Our team is a little unknown because we have seven new players and we have a very good schedule, but I think that will benefit us as we move through the season.”
This year’s team expects to have more scoring power with the additions of redshirts Brandon Springer (Columbia State CC) and Jamar Finley (Panola JC), as well as the signings of three NCAA Division I transfers (Kenneth Simms – UMKC, Quentin Turner – Loyola Marymount, and Mario Stowers – Tennessee Tech).
The Bulldogs are also returning a handful of players that contributed to last season’s success, including senior Rontreal Braxton, who averaged 10.8 points per game as a starter last year. Senior Rodney James and sophomore Johnny Kuchar will also play key roles as reserves for the Bulldogs this season.
The Bulldogs roster includes 11 upperclassmen out of 13 players. The squad looks to become the first in Cumberland history to compete in back-to-back national tournaments.
TranSouth Men's Basketball
Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Union Univ. 77 (7)
2. Cumberland 66 (1)
3. Martin Methodist 64 (1)
4. Trevecca 55
5. Freed-Hardeman 53
6. Mid-Continent 29
7. Lyon College 27
8. Bethel College 25
9. Blue Mountain 9