Men's Basketball 2008-'09 Preview
The Bulldogs set lofty goals for themselves at the start of the 2008-'09 season. With the bulk of the previous season's team returning, Coach Lonnie Thompson knew this team had a chance to once again return his program to national notoriety. Participating in one of the country's most competitive conferences, the Bulldogs would find themselves alone at the top of the TranSouth almost half-way through the conference season and would boast a national ranking as high as No. 16 along the way. These Bulldogs never saw themselves fall lower than fourth place in the conference.
The team's goal of returning to national prominence was made a reality when the Bulldogs were invited into the field of 32 in Kansas City, Missouri (site of the 2008 NAIA National Tournament). Although the Bulldogs would lose in the first round to the eventual national champion Oklahoma City, this team had nothing to hang their heads about. The Bulldogs finished the season with an overall record of 21-12 with a few players receiving conference as well as national accolades. Freshman guard Johnny Kuchar was named to the TranSouth All-Freshman Team, senior forward DeCorey Young was named Second Team All-TranSouth and junior guard Thomas Douglas was named First Team All-TranSouth and Honorable Mention All-American.
The future looks bright for the men's basketball program as they are returning three starters and three reserves from last season. The addition of red-shirts Brandon Springer (Nashville, Tenn.) and Jamar Finley (Rome, Ga.) along with the signing of three NCAA Division I transfers will add a great deal of depth and experience to Coach Thompson's roster as well.
The Bulldog's 2008-'09 season will tip-off in one of the nicest NAIA athletic complexes in the country on Oct. 30 at Berry College in Rome, Ga. The Bulldogs will play Shorter College on the Oct. 30, followed by a match-up against the host team from Berry College on Oct. 31. The Bulldogs will then travel back to Murfreesboro, Tenn. and take on Middle Tennessee State University on Nov. 1 in Murphy Center. MTSU is one of two NCAA Division I teams the Bulldogs will face this season. They will also play Tennessee State University for the second straight season at the Gentry Center in Nashville, Tenn. Cumberland came up short last season at TSU, falling by a final score of 90-80.
The Bulldogs will be road warriors for most of the non-conference season as nine of their first 10 games will be played on the road. Conference play will begin on Dec. 4 when Cumberland hosts Blue Mountain College.