Men's basketball picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference
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With three starters returning and six players returning from last year’s Atlantic Sun Conference championship team, the JU men’s basketball team was selected to finish fourth in the league according to the preseason media and coaches’ poll released Wednesday.

Senior forward Ayron Hardy was selected to the 12-member preseason all-conference team, marking the fourth straight year that a Dolphin has selected to the preseason team.

Lipscomb is the preseason pick by both the coaches and the media to win the league, led by preseason “Player of the Year” Adnan Hodzic. The Bisons were also picked by both the media and coaches to win the tournament title.

“Entering the season, we’re picked where we should be after losing two great players,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “There are a lot of talented teams in the league and it will be another tight race for the title.”

The Dolphins were picked to finish fourth behind the three Tennessee schools, as both polls had Lipscomb, ETSU and Belmont finishing 1-2-3 respectively.

In the coaches’ poll, Kennesaw State was picked fifth trailed by Campbell, UNF, Mercer, Stetson, Florida Gulf Coast and USC Upstate in order. In the media poll, Kennesaw State and Campbell were picked to finish fifth and sixth, trailed by Mercer, UNF, Florida Gulf Coast, Stetson and USC Upstate in order.

Hardy is the Dolphins top scorer returning from last season, averaging 9.0 points per game while finishing second on the team in blocks and tied for the team lead in steals.

“Ayron has developed a reputation as one of the best defenders in the league and is deserving of this recognition,” Warren said. “Being a senior, we’re expecting more out of him this season.”

Jacksonville was part of a four-way tie for the regular season title and earned a spot in the NIT last season where the Dolphins upset Arizona State in the first round for the first postseason win since 1974. JU won 20 games for the first time since 1986 and was the first team since Troy State in 2004 to successfully defend its regular season title.