This is the highest seeding reached in school history as well as the highest ranking achieved by any school in South Atlantic Conference history.
The Railsplitters head into the season returning four starters, nine letter winners, and seven of their top ten scorers from last year's team. The returners are headlined by Desmond Johnson, the reigning South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year, who was named second-team All-American by the Sporting News. Johnson will be the Railsplitters' top returning scorer and rebounder from last year's team, as he averaged 14.9 points and 8.4 rebounds a game.
In addition to Johnson, Lincoln Memorial will be returning the starting backcourt of Brandon Armstrong and Cameron Carden. Armstrong is coming off a season in which he led the Railsplitters in minutes played as well as averaging 12 points and 4.6 rebounds a game while Carden led LMU in three-point field goals(74), assists(76), steals(46) and led the SAC in three-point field goal percentage(43%) on the season.
Sophomore Vincent Bailey is the final returning starter for the Railsplitters, and he comes off a freshman year in which he was selected the All-Conference Freshman team. Lincoln Memorial will be aided off the bench by the return of major contributors Wally Jones, Tony Martin, Chance Jones, Dustin Craig, and Justin Allen.
Along with the returning members from last year's team, the Railsplitters will be bolstered by a tremendous class of newcomers. Leading this class is Jairocey Simpson, a 6'9", 290lbs center from Detroit, Michigan. Simpson was ranked as one of the top 100 JUCO players in the country at Pratt Community College where he averaged 15.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. In addition to Simpson, the Railsplitters will be sparked by the addition of Jake Troyli, a 6'10", 215lbs forward who is transferring from Presbyterian College. Troyli brings vast experience as he was second on the Blue Hose in scoring and rebounding as a sophomore while leading the team in blocked shots. Lorenza Ross is expected to make a significant impact in the Lincoln Memorial backcourt. Ross, a 6'2", 185lbs point guard by way of Savannah, Georgia, comes in following a high school career in which he led Richmond Hills High School to a region title while being named Region Player of the Year. Ross was also a two-time Georgia AAA All-State Selection. C.J. Wakely will add depth and talent to the loaded Railsplitter backcourt as well. Wakely, a 5'11" combo guard from Alachua, Florida, joins LMU with an extensive number of accolades including First Team All-State and Gainesville Sun Player of the Year following a season in which he averaged 29 points per game. The Railsplitters will also be aided by the addition of redshirt freshman Kennan Peterson, a 6'9", 250lbs forward from College Park, Georgia.
With these pieces in place, the expectations and hopes for Railsplitters' basketball have never been higher. This comes in the wake of the best season in the school's NCAA history as LMU finished last year 27-3, winning the South Atlantic Conference Regular Season and Tournament titles. They finished the season ranked 10th in the country on the NABC poll after being ranked as high as 5th in the country as late as February.
Preparations are underway for this much anticipated Railsplitter season as Lincoln Memorial will bring in the season with a Midnight Madness celebration. The festivities will begin at 10 p.m. on October 14th. The season will kick off with an exhibition at the University of Tennessee on November 7th.
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Sporting News NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Preseason Top 10
1. Bellarmine (KY)
2. Lincoln Memorial (TN)
3. West Liberty (WV)
6. Benedict (SC)
7. Missouri Southern
8. Augustana (SD)
9. Metro State (CO)
Sporting News Preseason All-America Team
Phillip Brown (Georgia Southwestern)
Jet Chang (BYU-Hawaii)
Braydon Hobbs (Bellarmine)
Jeremy Kendle (Bellarmine)
Josh Magette (Alabama-Huntsville)
Marcus Goode (Benedict)
Desmond Johnson (Lincoln Memorial)
Trevin Parks (Johnson C. Smith)
Taylor Rohde (Alaska-Anchorage)
Cody Schilling (Augustana, SD)