TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2002
Men's Basketball Picked To Win A-Sun South Division In Preseason Polls
Oct. 29, 2002
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University has been picked to win the A-Sun South Division in both the 2002-03 Atlantic Sun Coaches and Media Preseason Basketball Polls, as released by the conference office today. It is the highest the Dolphins have been chosen since joining the league in 1998. Georgia State, who was the unanimous pick to win the North Division, has represented the A-Sun in the NCAA Tournament in two of the last three seasons.
The Dolphins have also been picked to win the A-Sun South by five national publications. JU returns four starters and nine letterwinners from last year's 18-12 team (12-8 A-Sun), including All-Atlantic Sun guard Kevin Sheppard (St. Croix, Virgin Islands). The Dolphins also return senior forward Calvin Warner (Jacksonville, Fla.), who averaged 13.7 points and 8.2 rebounds a game as a junior, as well as senior guard James Daniels (Port. St. Joe, Fla.) and senior forwards Antwan Robertson (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.), Tabari Brown (Brunswick, Ga.) and Ryan Lewis (New Orleans, La.).
"It's a compliment to what people think we have," said head coach Hugh Durham, who is entering his sixth season at Jacksonville. "Now we just have to go out and live up to it."
Florida Atlantic, which won last year's A-Sun Tournament, is picked to finish second in the South, followed by Mercer, Troy State, UCF and Stetson. Jacksonville State, an A-Sun semifinalist from a year ago, has been picked to finish second in the North, followed by Belmont, Samford, Campbell and Gardner-Webb. Georgia State was the unanimous pick to win the A-Sun Tournament, which will be hosted by GSU in Atlanta for the second time in three years. Georgia State and Troy State tied for regular-season championship last year.
Jacksonville is coming off back-to-back 18-win seasons for the first time in more than 15 years, while sporting two of the best defenses in school history. Durham is currently 10th among active Division I coaches with 591 career victories, just nine wins shy of becoming just the 38th coach all-time with 600 career victories.
The conference has gone to divisional play for the 2002-03 season because of the addition of Gardner -Webb. The top two teams in each division, along with four wild cards (four best records, regardless of division) will advance to the Championship and compete for the A-Sun's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Gardner-Webb is not eligible to compete in the 2003 A-Sun Championship.
2002-03 Atlantic Sun Preseason Coaches/Media Poll
North Division Pts. South Division Pts. 1. Georgia State 82/154 1. Jacksonville 80/113 2. Jacksonville St. 56/96 2. Florida Atlantic 53/106 3. Belmont 46/88 3. Mercer 52/101 4. Samford 44/77 4. Troy State 34/74 5. Campbell 24/41 5. UCF 31/56 6. Gardner-Webb 12/32 6. Stetson 14/27 Tournament Champion: Georgia State (10)
2002-03 MEN'S BASKETBALL