HICKORY, N.C. - The Newberry College men's basketball team is picked to finish seventh in the South Atlantic Conference in the annual preseason coaches' poll, which was released at the league's basketball media day today.
The Indians, in their first season under head coach Jeremy Luther, will be led by two preseason all-SAC selections.
Clemente Martin was a second team all-conference pick after last season, and enters the 2007-08 campaign as a preseason first team selection.
Terrance Spillers finished second in rebounding in the league last season and led the entire conference in offensive rebound. He will begin his senior season as a second team all-conference pick.
Wingate returns several of their key players from last year's team and are the preseason favorite to win the 2007-08 regular season championship in a vote of the league's head coaches. Wingate received four first-place votes and 59 total points.
Headlining the Bulldogs squad is 2007 SAC Men's Player of the Year Sean Barnette. Barnette led the league in scoring last season at 21.6 points per game. He is joined on the preseason All-Conference first team by teammate Bryan Grier, who led the conference in rebounding and blocked shots the past two years.
Wingate starts the season ranked fifth nationally by DII Basketball Bulletin.
Lenoir-Rhyne College finished a close second in the coaches poll, receiving three first-place votes and 56 total points.
The Bears led the way with three preseason All-Conference selections. Josh Kindred and Reggie Bratton were named to the first team, while Josh Rudder was named to the second team. Bratton led the team in scoring last year, while Kindred was the team's top rebounder. Rudder missed most of last season with an injury, but was one of the league's top players two seasons ago.
Defending conference champion Catawba College is picked to finish third. The Catawba Indians received one first-place vote and 49 total points.
Antonio Houston, last season's SAC Freshman of the Year, was named to the preseason All-Conference first team.
Carson-Newman received 36 points to finish fourth in the poll. Scott Williams, who was one of the conference's top scorers last season, was named to the preseason All-Conference second team.
Tusculum College garnered 29 points to finish in fifth place in the poll. Senior forward Jordan Lear was named to the preseason All-Conference second team.
Lincoln Memorial picked up 23 points for sixth place. Beau Brown, who was one of the legaue's top freshman last season, made the preseason All-Conference second team.
Newberry College received 20 points for seventh place. The Indians return Clemente Martin, a second-team All-Conference pick last year who starts the season on the preseason first team.
Mars Hill College rounds out the poll with 16 points. Stoney Polite, a member of the All-Freshman Team last season, is a preseason second-team selection.
Special thanks to Dennis Switzer at the conference office for his contributions to this article.
2007-08 Men's Coaches Preseason Poll
Team (first-place) Total
1. Wingate (4) 59
2. Lenoir-Rhyne (3) 56
3. Catawba (1) 49
4. Carson-Newman 36
5. Tusculum 29
6. Lincoln Memorial 23
7. Newberry 20
8. Mars Hill 16
Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference
Antonio Houston, Catawba
Reggie Bratton, Lenoir-Rhyne
Josh Kindred, Lenoir-Rhyne
Clemente Martin, Newberry
Sean Barnette, Wingate
Bryan Grier, Wingate
Josh Rudder, Lenoir-Rhyne
Terrance Spillers, Newberry
Stoney Polite, Mars Hill
Jordan Lear, Tusculum
Scott Williams, Carson-Newman
Beau Brown, Lincoln Memorial