Cajuns Picked 7th in Sun Belt Men’s Basketball
The last three seasons, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns have finished in the top four in the Sun Belt and earned a first round bye in the Sun Belt Men's Basketball Tournament.
If the league's coaches are right, that streak will come to an end this coming season.
The Cajuns, who lost 65% of their scoring and 70% of their rebounding from a year ago, were tabbed an uncharacteristic seventh in the preseason coaches' poll released today by the Sun Belt.
"We expected to picked somewhere in the middle of the pack," head coach Bob Marlin said recently as the veteran coach gets ready to start his seventh season at Louisiana. "But I think we will be much better defensively than we were a year ago and we're excited about the season."
The Cajuns will return three starters from a season ago, as Jay Wright, Bryce Washington and Johnathan Stove will be joined by a slew of newcomers for 2016-17.
Wright was tabbed a third team preseason All-SBC selection.
The Cajuns have to move on without 2015-16 Player of the Year Shawn Long, who left as the third leading scorer and top rebounder in school history. Long is one of only two players in the NCAA modern era (since 1973) to garner 2,250 points and 1,400 rebounds in a career.
"We still think we'll be a good rebounding team," Marlin said, "although we'll have to do it more by committee, obviously."
UT Arlington, which returns all five starters from a team that won 24 games a year ago, was the overwhelming choice to win the league. Defending champion Little Rock was picked second, followed by Georgia State and Georgia Southern. Newcomer Coastal Carolina was picked fifth, followed by South Alabama, Louisiana, ULM, Troy, Arkansas State, Appalachian State and Texas State.
Kevin Hervey, who missed the second half of last season after suffering a knee injury, was named the preseason Player of the Year. He was joined by teammate Erick Neal, Arkansas State's Devin Carter, Little Rock's Marcus Johnson, Jr., and last year's Freshman of the Year, Tookie Brown of Georgia Southern as the other first team selections.
For the entire poll and preseason All-Conference teams, click here.