ETSU men picked third in A-Sun basketball polls
Sophomore Courtney Pigram was ETSU's second leading scorer a year ago with 12.0 ppg.
Sophomore Courtney Pigram was ETSU's second leading scorer a year ago with 12.0 ppg.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

            MACON, Ga. (Oct. 12, 2006) - Despite the departure of the program's all-time leading scorer and 2006 Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year Tim Smith, the league's media and coaches still expect ETSU to battle at the top of the conference standings this season.


            In balloting of both the league's media and coaches, the Buccaneers are picked to finish third in the regular season standings. Meanwhile, defending tournament champion and co-regular season champion Belmont narrowly edged long-time rival Lipscomb to top both the Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Men's Basketball media and coaches polls. The two Music City rivals landed first or second in all but two submitted polls. 


The Bruins claimed favorite status by a single point both times.  Belmont is led by a pair of Preseason All-Atlantic Sun selections in senior Boomer Herndon and guard Justin Hare.  Herndon was Belmont's second leading scorer and top rebounder, while Hare added Tournament Most Valuable Player honors to his growing resume after lifting the Bruins to the tournament crown with a 32-point performance in the title game versus Lipscomb. Lipscomb, who shared the 2006 regular season title with Belmont, can basically be viewed as a co-favorite. The Bisons received one less first place vote in both polls, accounting for the total point difference. Preseason Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Eddie Ard returns to Allen Arena for his third season, joining running mate Brian Fisk on the preseason All-Atlantic Sun team. Ard is one of the most versatile players in the conference who at 6-5 brings a legitimate inside-out game.


Tournament host ETSU garnered one first place vote in the coaches poll and lands third on both lists.  The Bucs face a rebuilding year as they must replace 2006 Player of the Year Tim Smith who paced the A-Sun in both scoring and steals as a senior.  Kennesaw State's Ronell Wooten rounds out the preseason All-Atlantic Sun squad while the Owls are slotted fourth after an impressive debut season.  KSU won nine of their first 10 conference games to make a big splash on the scene. 


Campbell was picked fifth, their best preseason positioning in several years.  The Camels boast one of the nation's top scoring offenses and look to continue the improvement that saw them go from zero conference wins in 2005 to nine and a spot in the postseason tourney in 2006.  The polls diverge over the next three spots as the coaches rank Stetson sixth followed by Mercer and Gardner-Webb while the media countered with GWU sixth followed by Stetson and Mercer.  Jacksonville and UNF round out the preseason polls.


Please see complete polls and voting below.




2006-07 A-Sun Coaches Poll

1.      Belmont (5)                

2.      Lipscomb (4)                

3.      ETSU (1)                        

4.      Kennesaw State           

5.      Campbell                       

6.      Stetson                        

7.      Mercer                         

8.      Gardner-Webb               

9.      Jacksonville                   

10.    UNF                               


Tournament Champion:  Belmont


2006-07 A-Sun Media Poll

1.      Belmont (10)                 

2.      Lipscomb (9)          

3.      ETSU                          

4.      Kennesaw State          

5.      Campbell                     

6.      Gardner-Webb             

7.      Stetson                      

8.      Mercer                          

9.      Jacksonville               

10.    UNF                            


Tournament Champion:  Belmont


2006-07 A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year

Eddie Ard - Lipscomb


2006-07 Preseason All-Atlantic Sun

Eddie Ard - Lipscomb

Brian Fisk - Lipscomb

Justin Hare - Belmont

Boomer Herndon - Belmont

Ronell Wooten - Kennesaw State

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