AMERICUS - The Peach Belt Conference men's basketball preseason coaches poll was released Wednesday afternoon with Georgia Southwestern picked to come in ninth overall, ahead of North Georgia, Lander, Columbus State and UNC Pembroke. The Hurricanes received two votes for fifth place and another two votes for sixth.
Head coach Mike Leeder welcomes back two starters from last year’s squad that posted a 7-20 record. Despite losing All-PBC performer Chris Rawls (15.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg), the Hurricanes retain veteran leadership in two-year starter junior Evan Mobley (14.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.7 apg) and senior Dannie Hunt (3.1 rpg). GSW also returns seniors Will Kenimer (played in 26 games last year) and Derek Smith (played in 26 games last year).
Southwestern will look to the seven new players on its roster to contribute immediately, as well. Leeder’s recruiting class includes five NCAA Division I transfers: Talmadge Bell (Coppin State), Phillip Brown (Air Force), Trayce Macon (Troy), Matt Shaw (Lipscomb) and Colin Slotter (Murray State); and two junior college products: Ian Andre (Daytona State) and Bobby Glover (Shelton State). The squad will remain young, however, as three of the new faces are underclassmen.
GSW lost seven games by four points or less in 2009-10 and posted a 5-11 record in games decided by less than nine points, so a quick jump in the standings is possible if the Hurricanes can come out on the winning end of those close contests.
Highlighting the Hurricanes regular season schedule is a pair of road matchups with Division I opponents, including the opener on November 12 at Kennesaw State and a showdown with the SEC’s Auburn Tigers on Nov. 30.
Defending Peach Belt Conference Tournament champion USC Aiken was selected as the preseason favorite with 141 points and 10 first-place votes.
The coaches preseason poll is listed below. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
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