LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland men’s basketball tied for sixth in the Mid-South Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll announced Tuesday by the league office.
Cumberland dropped an 82-62 decision last year in the Mid-South Conference Championships to eighth-ranked the University of Pikeville, finishing with an overall record of 12-15 and a conference mark of 5-9.
Head coach Lonnie Thompson begins his 16th season, returning six letter winners and two starters including All-America honoree Diondrey Holt, Jr. while welcoming 11 newcomers.
The Phoenix must replace senior Jamonte Graham, who averaged 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season. The Nashville, Tenn., native played two seasons for Cumberland, seeing action in 44 total games. Marquel Hickerson also graduated last year, finishing his career with 1,025 points in 98 games in four years for the Phoenix.
Holt, Jr., enters his senior year, leading the squad last season averaging 18 points per game, 93 total rebounds (3.4) and 53 assists. The Louisville, Ky., native registered 24 starts in 27 games while averaging 30.6 minutes per game last season.
Thompson has added a host of newcomers, several of whom could be difference makers for CU, including Ty Sean Powell, a junior transfer from the University of the Pacific who started his collegiate career at Duquesne University.
Juandrico Walker, a senior transfer who played two years with Holt, Jr., at Lassen College as well as Blake Johnson, a junior transfer who played previously at Columbia State Community college, along with Andrew Rogan, a junior transfer from Bethel University, should all see plenty of minutes this season for the Phoenix.
Georgetown College was selected as the favorite to win the 2017-18 Mid-South Conference regular season title, earning 40 total points and one first-place vote. Life University was picked second with 39 votes and three first-place votes and Lindsey Wilson followed with 38 points and one first-place vote.
The University of Pikeville ranked fourth in the conference poll with 37 points and two first-place votes and the University of the Cumberlands was fifth with 30 points and the final first-place vote.
Campbellsville University and Cumberland tied for sixth with 16 points and Shawnee State rounded out the poll.
The men’s basketball season opener takes place October 30 against Oakwood University at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center at 8 p.m.
2017 Mid-South Conference
Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll
|No.||School (First-Place Votes)||Points||2016-17 Record|
|1.||Georgetown College (1)||40||24-8, 9-5|
|2.||Life University (3)||39||26-11, 12-2|
|3.||Lindsey Wilson (1)||38||21-11, 7-7|
|4.||University of Pikeville (2)||37||28-8, 9-5|
|5.||University of the Cumberlands (1)||30||22-9, 8-6|
|6.||Campbellsville University||16||15-15, 4-10|
|6.||Cumberland University||16||12-15, 5-9|
|8.||Shawnee State||8||9-19, 2-12|