GSW picked 5th in PBC coaches’ preseason poll
Published 4:32 pm Thursday, November 5, 2015
From STAFF REPORTS
AMERICUS – The Peach Belt Conference (PBC) men’s basketball preseason coaches poll was released on Oct. 30, and Georgia Southwestern is picked to come in fifth place out of 14 teams The Hurricanes received one third place vote, five fourth place votes and four fifth place votes.
Head coach, Mike Leeder, has to replace four starters from last year’s squad that recorded a 15-12 overall record and qualified for the PBC’s postseason tournament.
Damien Leonard is the lone returner in 2015-16. Leonard started and played in all 26 games last season and recorded 14.7 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game.
Southwestern now must look to 12 new players on the roster to contribute immediately. Leeder’s recruiting class included seven transfers: Brandon Price, Adam Thoseby, Karon Wright, Cade Towers, Jure Gunjina, Chandler Thomas, and Terence Johnson.
Leeder also welcomes five freshmen with Peach State ties: Jake Piazza, a 6-2 guard from Thomasville; Colt Yawn, a 5-11 guard from Atkinson; Cale Mainor, a 5-9 guard from Macon; Devin Watson, a 6-3 guard from Lawrenceville and DeVante’ Tremble, a 5-9 guard from Statesboro.
One thing that will not change this season for the Hurricanes is an emphasis on defense. Last year GSW held PBC opponents to the lowest points against average (65.5) and second-lowest 3-point field goal percentage (33.2) in the league.
On the other end of the floor, GSW works for a good look with intentions of stretching the opponents’ defense with accurate shooting from outside. The Hurricanes led the PBC last year in 3-point field goal percentage (41.0).
Southwestern has an exhibition game in the Storm Dome on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. against the All-Army Team before opening the regular season at home on Nov. 17 against Fort Valley State.
The fifth place ranking is GSW’s highest since being picked to win the conference in 2011-12 when the team was coming off a division title and NCAA tournament appearance led by returning All-American Phillip Brown.
The coaches poll predicted UNC Pembroke coming in first place, followed by Augusta University, Montevallo, North Georgia, and GSW.