The Bisons basketball team opens practice for the 2011-12 season Friday at 5 p.m. in Allen Arena.
This will be the second launch of practice this fall for the Bisons. In August Lipscomb received ten days of practice in preparation for their foreign tour to the Dominican Republic. The Bisons played four exhibition games on the tour.
Coach Scott Sanderson returns only four players with playing experience in the Lipscomb uniform.
Preseason All-Atlantic Sun selection Jordan Burgason averaged 10.8 points last year shooting 41.8 percent from beyond the arc. Guard Robert Boyd averaged 5.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a freshman. Senior Justin Glenn scored 2.4 points and had 2.6 rebounds in 10.9 minutes of action per game. Junior Jacob Arnett started 22 games last year averaging 3.4 points and 2.3 assists.
Also returning are freshmen Damarius Smith and Carter Sanderson who redshirted last season.
Junior Deonte Alexander joins the Bisons after two standout seasons at East Mississippi Community College where he scored 952 points. He led them to a 52-12 record and two appearances in the national tournament.
Lipscomb’s roster wasn’t settled until late this fall. After the departures of freshman Stephen Hurt and sophomore transfer Cory Stanton from the team, Sanderson added two walk-ons. Zack Ellis is a 6-foot-5 sophomore forward from Franklin, Tenn., and Chad Johnson is a 6-foot-0 freshman guard from Edmond, Okla. Senior Brett Staal decided in August to not return for this season.
Lipscomb plays its first exhibition game on Tuesday, Nov. 1 against Freed-Hardeman in Allen Arena. The game will be carried on 102.5 The Game presented by Jackson.
The true freshmen players are:
Zavion Williams is a 5-foot-10 guard from West Creek High School in Clarksville, Tenn.
“Zavion is extremely fast,” Sanderson said. “He is one of the best at anticipating where the ball is going to go. He has quick hands. He can really guard the ball in the open floor which is going to benefit us a lot.
“The best thing I can say about him is he is a winner. He loves to compete on a high level. Right now he is trying to figure it all out. He is trying to figure out what he needs to do to help us be successful.”
Zavion benefited from the days or practice as the Bisons prepared for their trip to the Dominican Republic.
“He played well in the Dominican, but he knows he has a lot of room to improve,” Sanderson said. “He knows he doesn’t have it all figured out yet, but he is getting it. He is learning how to listen.”
Zavion helped lead West Creek to both the District 10 and Region 5 championships. He was the most valuable player in both tournaments.
“Zavion made average teams better,” Sanderson said. “A lot of it had to do with how he played on both ends of the floor.”
Martin Smith is a 6-4 forward from Clarksville Academy.
He is the twin brother of Bisons newcomer Malcolm Smith.
“A lot of people wondered why we signed him,” Sanderson said. “There were some people wondering if we signed him so we could also get his brother.”
Sanderson was adamant from the beginning of recruiting that he wanted to sign both of them, but that they would welcome either one.
“Martin has a huge upside on both ends of the floor,” Sanderson said. “He can really, really shoot the basketball. He is a pretty good passer. He can defend multiple positions with his size and his length.”
The challenge for the Bisons coaching staff is to help Martin to realize how good he can truly be as a player. His 190-pound frame was one of his biggest problems in high school. He knows that he must pay the price in the weight room in order to improve.”
“He has a slender build,” Sanderson said. “The only thing that hampered him in high school was his lack of strength. He had the skills.
“I don’t want him to be hampered by anything. He hangs on every word that you say. We are trying to get him to understand how much potential he has.”
Malcolm Smith is a 6-5 forward from Clarksville Academy.
“Malcolm was the player of the year in Tennessee for the 2010-2011 season.
“Malcolm is very gifted physically,” Sanderson said. “He led us in scoring in the Dominican. He can score with his back to the basket and with his face to the basket.
“His biggest value is his versatility. He is still learning what he is supposed to do. He has a lot of wasted energy offensively. He has to learn to define what he can and cannot do.”
Sanderson expects Malcolm to challenge for the free throw record because of his style of play.
Marvin Williams is a 6-8 power forward from White Station High School in Memphis.
“Marvin can score with his left or right hand around the basket,” Sanderson said. “He also can score in multiple ways. He has a very good feel of where he is offensively and you can’t teach feel.
“He is a very good passer. He is O.K. rebounding the ball. He understands how to play. He has to get in better shape. He can have a major impact in what we are doing.”