Lions picked second in preseason Southland men’s basketball poll
HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana men’s basketball team is picked to finish second by the Southland Conference Pre-Season Coaches poll, released Wednesday by the league office.
The Lions, under fifth year head coach Jay Ladner, return three starters from a team that won 22 games and won the Southland Conference regular season conference championship last year for the first time since 2005.
“Honestly I don’t put a whole lot of stock in pre-season polls,” said Ladner. “They’re primarily for the media and fans. But I guess the rewarding side of it is my colleagues in this league, which I have tremendous respect for, recognizing the progress that we’ve made as a program. Obviously though, we’re all still chasing Stephen F. Austin. It’s simply going to be a challenge for us because last year even though we were picked third we were still a surprise team in most people’s eyes. It’s one thing to do it one year, but it’s a whole other thing to do it again and be consistent with that success. I’m very proud and humbled that the other teams in the league think this much of us but we have a lot of work to do and there is still a lot of question marks on this team. We will take it with a grain of salt.”
SLU will be led by seniors Marlain Veal, Moses Greenwood and Keith Charleston.
Veal, a point guard from New Orleans, Louisiana, was named Pre-Season First Team-All Southland Conference Tuesday and holds the program record for all-time assists. Greenwood, a forward from Sharon, Mississippi, averaged 10.2 points and 5.2 rebounds last season. Charleston, a guard from Little Rock, Arkansas, averaged 4.5 points and 4.1 rebounds.
SLU will also have the services of senior guards Quinton Thomas and D’Angelo West to provide depth, leadership and experience.
The Lions added several newcomers to the fray that make them a contender for the conference title once again. SLU added transfers Von Julien, Kajon Brown and Pape Diop that could make an immediate impact to help fill the loss of several key players including leading scorer Jordan Capps.
While Southeastern has plenty of reason for optimism, Stephen F. Austin is the favorite according to the poll. SFA returns three Pre-Season First Team All-Southland selections and their top three scorers in guards Shannon Bogues (15.4 ppg) and Kevon Harris (14.5) and forward T.J. Holyfield (12.9).
SLU and Stephen F. Austin will meet in the conference opener Jan. 2 at SFA. SLU defeated the Lumberjacks 73-62 at home last year but lost in the Conference Title Game to them 59-55.
New Orleans is picked third in front of a potential sleeper, Abilene Christian, in the fourth spot. Despite finishing 8-10 in the conference, ACU returns three of their top four scorers from last year including Pre-Season All-Southland Conference selections Jalone Friday (13.3 ppg) and Jaren Lewis (13.2), and senior Jaylen Franklin (10.5).
“There are a lot of teams that could jump up and have a great conference season,” said Ladner. “But right now it’s too early to tell who the true sleeper in the league is. I know last year two of our three losses were to teams that didn’t make the conference tournament so the parity in this league is unbelievable. Every night we play in this league we treat every team like a contender because there isn’t a team in this league that can’t beat you if you aren’t ready to play.”
The Lions open the 2018-19 season Tuesday, Nov. 6 on the road at LSU at 7:30 p.m. The play-by-play can be heard on 90.9 KSLU. Live stats and video will be available at LionSports.net at the men’s basketball schedule page.
HARDWOOD CLUB/S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the basketball program are encouraged to join the Hardwood Club. Lion alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letterwinners.
All membership fees and donations to Hardwood Club are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern basketball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at [email protected] or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
For more information on Southeastern Basketball, follow @SLU_Hoops and @CoachLadner on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.
– www.LionSports.net –
2018-19 Southland Conference Pre-Season Poll
(First Place Votes) Total
1. Stephen F. Austin (23) 287
2. Southeastern La. (2) 243
3. New Orleans 204
4. Abilene Christian (1) 196
5. Lamar 186
6. Sam Houston State 172
7. McNeese 136
8. Central Arkansas 115
9. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 115
T10. Houston Baptist 101
T10. Nicholls 101
12. Northwestern State 73
13. Incarnate Word 30
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