Bisons picked to win Atlantic Sun Championship
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
By Trevor Garrett
Bisons picked to win Atlantic Sun Championship

Lipscomb University men’s basketball team has been picked to win the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament title and tie for the regular season crown, the conference office announced Wednesday.

Lipscomb and Jacksonville each received 111 points in the preseason coaches poll. Jacksonville received five first place votes while Lipscomb tallied four. Lipscomb was selected as the favorite to win the General Shale Brick tournament championship.

The Bisons will be led in the 2009-10 season by junior center Adnan Hodzic, a preseason All-Conference Team selection. He paced last year’s squad averaging 17.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game with a 58.7 field goal percentage.

Lipscomb head coach Scott Sander is quick to praise Hodzic and acknowledges that championships can only be won as a team.

“We will rely on Adnan a lot this year,” Sanderson said. “But we have a lot of very good players around him that can make his job a lot easier. Much of his success is through what our players do on the perimeter.”

Lipscomb returns four starters for last year’s team that went on a nine game winning streak to close the season before falling to Jacksonville in the Atlantic Sun tournament semifinals.

Junior guard Josh Slater will play a pivotal role for the Bisons again this year. Slater delivered a constant attack last year averaging 11 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, but Sanderson sees even more growth from him during this offseason.

“Everything about his thinking is completely different this year,” Sanderson said. “He has made huge strides. He really wants to lead. You lead not only verbally but by your actions and his actions have spoken volumes this year.”

After losing guard Michael Lusk to graduation, the Bisons will look at a myriad of options to run the point position. Johnny Lee, a senior transfer from George Washington University, is expected to be a key addition to fill the void, but freshman Zach Brown and redshirt freshman Jacob Arnett also factor into the mix.

Juniors Michael Teller and Brandon Brown return at the forward positions for Lipscomb. All-Freshman team member Brian Wright and transfer Justin Glenn round out Lipscomb’s frontcourt.

Lipscomb received 287 points and three first place votes to finish second in the preseason media poll. Jacksonville was ranked first.

“We have lofty goals for our team this year with a lot of guys coming back,” Sanderson said. “We are going to work as hard as we possibly can to achieve every goal we want to achieve.”

Lipscomb opens practice on Friday, Oct. 16. The Bisons host Freed-Hardeman in an exhibition on Nov. 5 and open the season in Allen Arena against Elon on Nov. 14.

2009 Men's Basketball A-Sun Preseason Coaches Poll
# School (1st Place Vote) Points
T1. Jacksonville (5) 111
T1. Lipscomb (4) 111
3. Mercer (1) 91
4. ETSU (1) 89
5. Belmont 83
6. Campbell 72
T7. Florida Gulf Coast 43
T7. Stetson 43
9. North Florida 30
10. USC Upstate 28
11. Kennesaw State 25

Tournament Champion: Lipscomb

2009 A-Sun Preseason All-Conference Team
Pos. Player (Yr.) School
F Lehmon Colbert (Sr.) Jacksonville
F Daniel Emerson (Sr.) Mercer
*G James Florence (Sr.) Mercer
F Ayron Hardy (Jr.) Jacksonville
*C Adnan Hodzic (Jr.) Lipscomb
*F Jonathan Rodriguez (Sr.) Campbell
C Nick Schneiders USC Upstate
G A.J. Smith (Sr.) Stetson
*G Ben Smith (Sr.) Jacksonville
G/F Mike Smith (Sr.) ETSU

Preseason Player of the Year: Ben Smith, Jacksonville

2009 Men's Basketball A-Sun Preseason Media Poll
# School (1st Place Vote) Points
1. Jacksonville (24) 328
2. Lipscomb (3) 287
3. Mercer (2) 254
4. Belmont (1) 252
5. ETSU (1) 247
6. Campbell 193
7. Stetson 127
8. Florida Gulf Coast 119
9. Kennesaw State 87
10. USC Upstate 81
11. North Florida 71

Tournament Champion: Jacksonville