LU hoops picked 5th in preseason poll

Published 10:22 am Friday, October 12, 2018

By Lamar SID  office

FRISCO, Texas – Lamar University men’s basketball has been picked fifth in a preseason poll of the Southland Conference head coaches and media relations directors announced league officials Wednesday morning. The poll was released during the SLC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Media Day from the Toyota Center in Houston.

“At this time of the year polls are insignificant,” said LU head coach Tic Price. “Whether we were picked first, last or middle of the pack it wouldn’t change how we approach practice or get ready for the season. By and large, preseason polls are more for the media and fans than us. I’m far more concerned with polls at the end of the season.”

The Cardinals received 186 points to finish fifth in the poll just behind Abilene Christian. Stephen F. Austin has been picked to win the regular-season with 23 first-place votes and 287 total points. Three different teams received first-place votes Wednesday (SFA, Southeastern Louisiana – 2 and ACU – 1).

Being picked in the middle of the pack may not be considered high praise in a normal year but considering that LU graduated six letterwinners and four starters from last season, including its leading scorer and rebounder, it should be taken as a positive.

The Cardinals enter the upcoming season with five returning letterwinners from last season and eight newcomers. With that many new players on the roster, it would normally be seen as a rebuild year, but the LU coaching staff sees the 2018-19 squad as a veteran lineup. Big Red added four NCAA Division I transfers last season – all four of whom had to sit out the year due to transfer rules. Those four players –  V.J. HolmesJordan HunterMike Kolawole and Laquarious Paige – will now have their time to shine in a Red and White uniform.

“Despite all the new guys, I think we have the opportunity to do something special this season,” said Price. “We have good talent on the perimeter. With the return of Josh Nzeakor and Nick Garth, we have guys who are battled tested and will provide leadership. I’m not surprised by where we’re slotted in the polls because not too many people know much about our personnel.”

In addition to the newcomers, the Cardinals also return one of the league’s top rebounders in Josh Nzeakorand the school’s all-time leading three-pointer shooter in Nick Garth. Nzeakor was named to the 2018 Preseason All-Southland Conference team Tuesday, while Garth enters his senior season having already scored more than 1,000 points in his career.

The Cardinals open the 2018-19 season Tuesday, Nov. 6 against Huston-Tillotson. The game against the Rams will tip off from the Montagne Center at 7 p.m. Tickets for the upcoming season can be purchased by calling the LU Ticket Office at (409) 880-1715.