Men's basketball picked ninth in Atlantic Sun preseason poll

Oct. 12, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With nine players on the roster that are underclassmen, the JU men's basketball team was picked ninth in the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason poll released on Thursday.

JU will start the second year of the Cliff Warren Era on Friday with its first practice, bringing a group of fresh faces to the floor - seven newcomers from his first full recruiting class.

"I'm ready to get on the floor and start practice and the guys are too," Warren said. "We've got a lot of work to do before we start playing games. With a young group like we have this year, the preseason practices will be a critical time for everyone to learn the system."

Defending tournament champion Belmont was picked by both the league coaches and media as the preseason favorite to win the conference title, garnering five of the possible 10 first-place votes in the coaches poll. The Bruins were also picked to be the tournament champion in both polls.

Lipscomb, Belmont's rival and runner-up to the Bruins in the A-Sun Championship game, was picked second in both polls. East Tennessee State, the tournament host for the second straight year, is picked third.

A-Sun newcomer Kennesaw State is picked fourth and Campbell was slotted fifth in both polls.

The coaches poll has Stetson picked sixth, followed by Mercer, Gardner-Webb, JU and UNF picked 10th. The media poll has Gardner-Webb in sixth followed by Stetson, Mercer, JU and UNF.

"Belmont is the defending champion and with the guys they have returning, they will be the team to beat," Warren said. "Lipscomb returns a lot of talent as well and will be right there in the conference race. We had a very competitive league last year and I expect the same to happen again this year."

Warren's squad hits the floor for its first practice on Friday at 5 p.m. The Dolphins open their regular season on the road at Savannah State on Nov. 12 at 5 p.m.