10/18/12 — Trojan men, women each picked third in preseason CC basketball poll

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Trojan men, women each picked third in preseason CC basketball poll

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 18, 2012 1:49 PM

HIGH POINT -- Preseason polls in any sport usually provide plenty of locker room material and motivation.

And coaches always say "it's not where you start, but where you finish."

So it makes sense that Mount Olive College hasn't put too much stock in the 2012 Conference Carolinas men's and women's preseason basketball polls. League coaches picked each team to finish third.

"We really don't put too much emphasis on preseason polls, they are what they are -- preseason," fifth-year MOC men's head coach Joey Higginbotham said. "I'm very excited about this year's team, but we have a long way to go to get where we want to be. We are concentrating on getting better every day."

Mount Olive returns just two full-time starters -- Dory Hines and Mahamed Ibrahim -- along with four key reserves off last year's squad that posted a 20-win season for the seventh time since 2004. The Trojans earned two first-place nods and 81 points in the poll.

Reigning champion and NCAA Division II participant Barton was selected first and collected four first-place votes. Senior guard Gerald Boston, a three-time all-Conference Carolinas performers, looks to lead the Dogs back to the postseason.

Second-year member King (Tenn.) College advanced to the NCAA tournament last season. The Tornado return three of their top four scorers, including sophomore Logan Lyle, the league's freshman-of-the-year in 2012.

Nine points separated the top four teams in the poll. Queens University of Charlotte is fourth, followed by Belmont Abbey (66 points), Coker and Limestone with 52 points apiece, Pfeiffer (37), Erskine (29), Lees-McRae (20) and North Greenville (17).

On the women's side, the Trojans -- directed by 12th-year head coach Wendy Lee -- are coming off a 19-win season. Five starters return, including senior guard Andrea Jones, a two-time All-Conference Carolinas selection.

"I don't feel like a lot of teams lost a lot of players across the board this year," Lee said. "I'm not surprised that we were picked third, but we're not satisfied with third. It won't be an easy spot for anybody this year.

"It's going to be tough to finish in the top eight in the league and might not be determined until the last week of the season."

Eleven coaches put the bulls-eye on defending champion Limestone (S.C.) College, which returns a trio of seniors who have each connected on 100-plus three-pointers during their respective careers. The Saints compiled 121 points.

Perennial power Barton, which returns only one full-time starter, is tabbed second. Coker is fourth with 89 points, followed by in-state rival North Greenville (82).

Pfeiffer (67), Queens (66), Belmont Abbey (49), Erskine (45), King (35), Lees-McRae (22) and Converse (12) complete the poll.

"The league is at its peak right now and it will be a good year for Conference Carolinas, you can see from the poll there will be a lot of parity," Lee said. "I think we do have a lot of potential to have a great season, and we have set our goals high. We do have some holes to fill and I really like this team."

The Trojan women tip off their season Nov. 9 at in-state foe St. Augustine's, while the men open their 2012 campaign Nov. 17 against West Virginia State in the 47th annual Pickle Classic.