Sept. 26, 2005
Lipscomb men's basketball coach Scott Sanderson knows all about expectations whether they be good or bad. And even though his Bisons are expected to be picked somewhere in the top tier of the Atlantic Sun Conference he isn't getting overly concerned or excited.
"Last year in preseason we were picked 10 out of 11 teams which meant absolutely nothing, and we ended up finishing fourth," Sanderson said. "This year several publications have us picked third or fourth which means absolutely nothing."
The preseason hype has provided some excitement for the Bisons are they prepare for their toughest pre-conference schedule since becoming an NCAA Division I team. It all starts with the Guardians Classic at Rupp Arena and a potential meeting with the always powerful University of Kentucky Wildcats on their home floor. Stops at Southeastern Conference opponents Auburn (Nov. 20) and Tennessee (Dec. 29) are also on the schedule, but the ultimate goal is to return to the A-Sun Conference Tournament and earn the automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
"Our guys are extremely excited about the potential of our team," Sanderson said. "We have all of our starters back. I can say that every person back in our program this season is better than he was last season."
Friday mornings at 5:45 the Bisons have been practicing. Senior leadership from point guard James Poindexter is already evident. Center Shaun Durant, fresh from playing in August for Great Britain in the World University Games, is also ready for a solid senior season.
"Shaun is an older guy with some experience who should give our younger guys a huge lift," Sanderson said.. "He is in the best shape of his life. He is a much improved player over last season."
"It was unbelievable what Eddie did the last half of the season," Sanderson said. "He was always a talent individually, but you have to get that talent meshed in with your team and sometimes that is pretty difficult.
"Early in January last season he came in and asked me what he had to do to play. The first thing I said was that he had to give me confidence in order for me to give it to him. He got in the mode in practice and figured out what he had to do to play. The last nine games of the season he was one of the better players in the league. He has pretty much picked up where he left off."
Sanderson is expecting strong play from the perimeter with Poindexter, Fisk and Ard. Sanderson also thinks LaKory Daniels, a transfer from the University of Alabama, could be a major contributor when he becomes eligible at Christmas. Transfer Trey Williams, from Kaskaskia Junior College, is also going to get a long look.
One of the surprises in early workouts is freshman center Thomas Pfaff.
"Thomas is playing very, very well," Sanderson said. "He is very active. He plays very hard. He is a guy with a lot of energy."
Kris Alpers is another freshman who may challenge at the post. He has missed practices due to illness.
"Most teams in our league are on injury away from being average," Sanderson. "Most of our guys have stayed healthy."