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Date Posted: Thu, November 18 2004, 14:37:49
Author: giantbenmav
Subject: Hoopville.com SLC Preview

Very interesting.....I dont think I can put that much credit into any SLC preview that does not even have Northwestern St making the SLC playoffs....

Southland Conference 2004-05 Season Preview

by Matt Isam

The 2005 season in the Southland Conference should be very entertaining with recent powerhouses falling and new teams starting to earn the respect and compete at the top of the conference.

Of course there will be some familiar teams such as University of Texas-San Antonio, Sam Houston State University, Southeastern Louisiana University and University of Texas-Arlington battling for the conference crown, this season could be full of surprises with teams such as Lamar University rising up and Teams such as Stephen F. Austin falling down.

Also, the conference as a whole got great news this off-season landing a multi-year corporate sponsorship agreement with O'Reilly Automotive. O'Reilly will be hosting the championship tournament along with being the feature television sponsor for the SLC. This is a huge boost to the 11 team conference and O'Reilly Automotive.

Hoopville All-Southland Conference Team
Senior forward Joe Thompson, Sam Houston State
Senior guard Raymond Anthony, Lamar
Senior guard Willie Depron, Nicholls State
Junior guard Jermaine Wallace, Northwestern
Senior center Nate Lofton, Southeastern Louisiana

Conference MVP

Senior guard Raymond Anthony, Lamar

Honorable Mention

Senior forward Joe Thompson, Sam Houston State

Freshman of the year

Guard John Ford, McNeese State

Newcomer of the year

Junior guard Jeremy Long, Lamar

Defensive player of the year

Senior center Nate Lofton, Southeastern Louisiana

Most Improved Player

Senior forward Eddy Fobbs, Sam Houston State

Coach of the Year

Billy Tubbs, Lamar

Team Previews (In projected order of finish)

Texas San Antonio Roadrunners

(19-14 overall, 11-5 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Sophomore guard Kurt Attaway (last year's freshman of the year in SLC and led the team with 105 assist)
Senior guard David President (led team with 55 steals last season)
Senior forward Raphael Posey (second on team last season with 11.4 ppg)
Senior forward John Millsap (started 16 games in '03, has tremendous upside)
Senior center Anthony Fuqua (led the team with 42 blocked shots)

Coach Tim Carter is really going to miss the SLC's leading scorer LeRoy Hurd from last year's championship squad, but he has four returning starters and a lot of depth on the bench. Add that with junior college transfers center Ray Salvage, guard Andre Owens and high school recruit Adam McCoy and you get another SLC championship. Many polls and sports gurus have the Roadrunners earning another NCAA tournament bid and I have to agree, because in my mind they are still the champions until another team beats them for the SLC crown.

Sam Houston State Bearkats

(13-15 overall, 8-8 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Junior guard Chris Jordan (9.8 ppg last season)
Junior guard Marcus Ebow (top ten in assist in SLC last season with 3.9pg)
Senior forward Joe Thompson (led the team last season with 15.3 ppg)
Senior forward Wilder Auguste (led the team in field goal pct. with .573 last season)
Senior center Eddy Fobbs (very dominant post player, comes back after a medical red shirt last season)

This team is for real; they led the nation in assists last season and return four starters. Bearkat fans are pumped to have Eddy Fobbs back who has something to prove after missing last season with an injury. This team could be very dangerous this year and will be one of the only teams who can knock off UTSA. Coach Bob Marlin recruited a great freshman class with forward Ryan Bright leading the way.

Lamar Cardinals

(11-18 overall, 5-11 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Senior guard Raymond Anthony (15.5 ppg last season could be conference MVP)
Senior guard Teddy Davis (13.2 ppg last season but could lose starting job to Jeremy Long)
Junior forward Alan Daniels (NJCAA All-American last season)
Junior forward Thomas Fairly (Junior college transfer with loads of talent on the inside)
Junior center Jason Grant (led SLC with 71 blocked shots last season)

Coach Billy Tubbs has finally turned this program into a powerhouse this year. The Cardinal's have two of their top three scorers returning and this could be a great defensive year for Jason Grant. Tubbs recruiting class has been ranked as high as third in the nation. The class includes junior college transfers center Nashid Beard, forwards Thomas Fairly and Alan Daniels who are expected to contribute immediately, and guard Jeremy Long who could very well take over the starting spot from Teddy Davis. Also Tubbs brought in freshman standouts guard Chuck Foster and forwards John Mertz and Larry Handy, who will all see playing time this season. There is also some experience coming off the bench with sophomore guards Blake Whittle and Kevin Smith. This team is my surprise pick this season and could give all the tops team trouble during the championship run.

Texas Arlington Mavericks

(17-12 overall, 11-5 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Junior guard Jarrett Howell (Started last 9 games averaging 7.7 ppg and 3 apg last season)
Junior guard Brady Dawkins (Considered most dangerous threat from outside and was second in SLC in three point pct. last season)
Junior forward Steven Thomas (Lone starter from last season, all-SLC honors, 12.1 ppg and 5 rpg)
Sophomore forward Stephen Floyd (Considering a scoring threat from perimeter)
Sophomore center Jay Neukomm (Played in final 18 games last season)

This could be a good year for the Mavericks even though they only have one returning starter. They get senior forward Stevin Ozier back after sitting out because of transferring. Ozier was freshman of the year in the 2001-2002 season while playing for Stephen F. Austin. Also this could be the best recruiting class coach Eddie McCarter has ever had at UTA. The class includes guards Roderick Epps, Myles Guidry, Baron Sauls and forwards Larry Posey and Jermaine Griffin. Not to mention the returning lettermen Senior forwards Chris Hairfield and DeMarcus James. I predict the Mavericks to be near the top of the standings when it's all said and done.

Southeastern Louisiana Lions

(20-9 overall, 11-5 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Senior guard Jonathan Patton (6 ppg last season)
Senior guard Neil Berry (2.6 ppg but brings experience)
Junior forward Ricky Woods (Junior college transfer, 18 ppg and 8rpg last season)
Junior forward Jonathan Walker (Started 26 games last season)
Senior center Nate Lofton (Averaged a double-double with 13.2 ppg and 10.9 rpg, which was fourth in the nation)

Well the Lions had a great season last year finishing first in the regular season but losing in the SLC tournament. Nate Lofton is poised to dominate the boards this season and junior college transfer Ricky Woods is expected to start immediately. Also J/C transfers Chris Lee and Leonard Harden are expected to see significant minutes as well as freshman recruit Thomas Woods. This should be another successful season for the Lions but I see a couple of teams pushing them out of the way by the end of the season.

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

(21-9 overall, 10-6 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Junior guard Marcus Clark (9.4 ppg, 117 assists vs. only 53 turnovers last season)
Junior guard Jerry Cheves (Junior college transfer, 19.3 ppg and 4 rpg last season)
Senior forward Taylor Moore (9.9 ppg and 6.3 rpg last season)
Junior forward Anthony Paez (Junior college transfer, 17.3 ppg last season)
Senior center Hank Rivers (7.2 ppg and 5.1 rpg last season and started the final 18 games)

The Lumberjacks will have a tough time this season defending the nations longest home-winning streak at 30 games. Coach Danny Kaspar has to find replacements for the top scorer and top rebounders from last year's team. He might have found some hope though in junior college transfers Anthony Paez, Jerry Cheves, Justin Thomas along with freshman recruits Scott Weaver and Matt Kingsley. Also returning role players Josh Porter, Rodrigo Segantin, Patrick Hannaway and Leonard Brown should add some help off the bench. I predict SFA will be a good team, just not as good as last year.

Texas State Bobcats

(13-15 overall, 8-8 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Senior guard Josh Naylor (11.3 ppg last season)
Junior guard Andre Oupoh (Junior college transfer, 13 ppg, 7 rpg last year and earned 1st team all-Conference honors)
Senior forward Anthony Dill (led team in rebounding last season with 4.7 pg)
Junior forward Terrell Broussard (Junior college transfer, 12 ppg and 8 rpg last season and earned 1at team all-Conference honors)
Senior center Zach Allison

Coach Dennis Nutt has some promising talent this season with three returning starters and junior college transfers Andre Oupoh, Terrell Brousard and Rory Green, who can play either one or two guard. All three are expected to contribute immediately to a team that hung in there with the best of them last season. Freshman recruits Roderick Adams and Matt Canady are also expected to see some playing time while developing under coach Nutt's wing. I think that the Bobcats will finish in the middle of the pack and make the SLC tournament, but I don't see them beating the tops teams, but you never know.

Northwestern State Demons

(11-17 overall, 8-8 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Junior guard Jermaine Wallace (15.5 ppg last season and was on all -SLC team)
Junior guard Kerwin Forges (6.7 ppg last season)
Sophomore forward Demetrius Bell (4.9 ppg last season)
Junior forward Clifton Lee (13.2 ppg last season and was on all-SLC team)
Junior center Byron Allen (8.3 ppg last season)

This season the Demons have a lot of young talent with a lot of experience. I pick this team to surprise some people and win games, but I don't pick them to win the whole thing. There just aren't enough talented role players behind Wallace and Lee. However Coach Mike McConathy would probably disagree and argue the fact that he has recruited a few players and made it to the SLC tournament last season.

Louisiana Monroe Indians

(12-19 overall, 8-8 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Senior guard Aaron Branch (4.5 ppg and 2.1 apg last season)
Sophomore guard Roshon Jacobs (two sport standout, 4.5 ppg last season as a freshman)
Sophomore forward Isaac Gay (only returning starter and teams best defender as a freshman last season)
Senior forward DeAndre Alexander (top returning scorer with 6 ppg last season)
Junior F/C Daryl Mason (team's most promising junior college transfer)

Coach Mike Vining has won more championships and games than any other coach this season has a very tough job. How his team plays this season depends heavily on their talent, which the Indian's have plenty of. With two sophomores Isaac Gay and Roshon Jacobs gaining more experience this season, the Indians will be a force in the SLC for the next couple of seasons. Vining is also pumped about his junior college transfers including guard Cecil Hood, center Darien Bynum, and forwards Gary Robinson and Adrian Harper.

McNeese State Cowboys

(11-16 overall, 7-9 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Senior guard Edward Garriet (14 ppg and 4.1 rpg last season and ranked among the nation's top three point shooters)
Sophomore guard Ryan Price (8.3 ppg last season)
Senior forward Ronald Dorsey (4.4 ppg 3.2 rpg last season)
Junior forward Lance Hood (Junior college transfer who averaged 21 ppg and 8.5 rpg last season)
Junior center Darrius Manciel (Junior college transfer who averaged 15 ppg and 15 rpg last season)

This is a rebuilding year for head coach Tic Price and the only thing good coming out of this season will be for his team to gain experience for the 2006 season. He brought in two junior college transfers who are expected to start immediately. He also recruited high school phenom guard John Ford, and he has guard Troy Aaaron back from last year's sit out because of transferring from Tulane. Love me or hate me Cowboy fans but I think it will be a long season for your team and I predict them to finish close to last.

Nicholls State Colonels

(6-21 overall, 1-15 SLC)

Projected starting five:
Senior guard Willie Depron (15.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg last season)
Junior guard Cyril Djoukeng (Junior college all-American last season with 16.7 ppg and 7.8 apg)
Senior forward Jason Wilkins (11.1 ppg last season)
Senior forward Dominique Gleason (6.4 ppg last season)
Sophomore center Kieran Gleeson (Big body, lots of talent and potential to excel)

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse for the Colonels, their head coach Ricky Blanton resigned for personal reasons on Oct. 18th. Man o Man, they are going to have a long season. Top assistant J.P. Piper was tabbed as the new head coach. Piper has been at the school for two years, and prior to that was a successful high school coach for eight seasons. They do have some talent, and they do have a great freshman recruit Adonis Gary, but they don't have a chance this season and whoever inherits the head coaching job will probably pull his hair out by the season's end.

(Ed note: Just yesterday, November 8th, center Kieran Gleeson and forward Maurice Veal were ruled academically ineligible for the entire season.)

Overall Conference Outlook

This will be a very exciting season for SLC men's basketball fans. I see a lot of teams being able to fill in hole with junior college players right away, and on the flip side I see some teams having disastrous seasons. When it's all said and done, every fan should applaud the winner of the SLC crown because this year it won't be a cakewalk.

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