The Liberty Flames men's basketball team was selected to finish ninth in the Big South Conference standings for the 2014-15 season, as voted on by the conference's head coaches and members of the media. The announcement was made Monday at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Charlotte Uptown as part of the 2014-15 Big South Basketball Media Day.
Head coach Dale Layer enters his sixth year with the program. This year, the Flames feature a new cast of characters accompanying returning starters Tomasz Gielo and Andrew Smith and fellow returnees redshirt freshman Ryan Kemrite, Ethan Layer and Joe Retic. Liberty's newcomers include transfers David Andoh, James Johnson and Theo Johnson along with freshmen Jordan Dembley, Calvin Hoffman, Evan Maxwell, Peter Moller, A.C. Reid and Ezra Talbert.
The voting panel tabbed defending Big South Champion Coastal Carolina (297 points) as the preseason favorite. The Chanticleers hold a four-point margin over High Point (293). Radford (233), Winthrop (221) and Charleston Southern (199) make up the rest of the top five. Rounding out the remainder of the preseason poll are UNC Asheville (191), Gardner-Webb (168), Campbell (113), Liberty (85), Presbyterian (67) and Longwood (47).
High Point's John Brown was tabbed the Big South Preseason Player of the Year. Along with Brown, the Big South Preseason All-Conference first team includes Radford's Javonte Green, Asheville's Andrew Rowsey, Coastal Carolina's Warren Gillis and Charleston Southern's Saah Nimley. The preseason second team consists of Presbyterian's Jordan Downing, Gardner-Webb's Jerome Hill, Winthrop's Keon Moore, Coastal Carolina's Elijah Wilson and Charleston Southern's Arlon Harper.
The Flames open the 2014-15 season on Nov. 14, playing host to Randolph College inside the Vines Center at 8:30 p.m. A month and a half later, Liberty will kick off conference play on the road, when it squares off against Campbell on New Year's Eve.
Both the 2015 Big South Men's and Women's Basketball Championships will be played at Coastal Carolina's The HTC Center in Conway, S.C. The men's tournament will span March 4-8, with the winner earning the Big South Conference's automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
2014-15 Men's Basketball Preseason Poll Rk Team (first-place votes) - Points
1. Coastal Carolina (14) - 297
2. High Point (12) - 293
3. Radford (1) - 233
4. Winthrop - 221
5. Charleston Southern (1) - 199
6. UNC Asheville (1) - 191
7. Gardner-Webb - 168
8. Campbell - 113
9. Liberty - 85
10. Presbyterian College - 67
11. Longwood – 47
2014-15 Big South Conference Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
John Brown, High Point (Preseason Player of the Year)
Javonte Green, Radford
Andrew Rowsey, UNC Asheville
Warren Gillis, Coastal Carolina
Saah Nimley, Charleston Southern
Jordan Downing, Presbyterian College
Jerome Hill, Gardner-Webb
Keon Moore, Winthrop
Elijah Wilson, Coastal Carolina
Arlon Harper, Charleston Southern
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