The Missouri Southern men's basketball program has been ranked No. 5 in the Sporting News Division II Men's Preseason Poll, the magazine has announced.
Head coach Jeff Boschee returns nine players off a team that went 20-11 last year in his first season as a head coach. The Lions reached the MIAA Tournament finale for the second season in a row.
Austin Wright, Greg Renfroe and Taevaunn Prince all return to the starting lineup for the Lions. Renfroe was a member of the MIAA's All-Defensive Team last year, while Prince was a second-team All-MIAA pick. Wright set the MSSU single-game record for three pointers and he currently sits in fourth place for career three's, just one three from third and 48 three's from the all-time record. The Lions also return six others to the rotation, four of whom saw action including Charlie Brown, Taylor Luster, Blaine Miller and Bruce Marshall. Terrence Pierce and Andrew Ballock redshirted.
Southern welcomes in six newcomers to its roster for 2015-16. LJ Ross comes in from Arkansas-Fort Smith, but he practiced with the team the second part of the year. Braelon Walker (Little Rock Parkview) and Brady Petry (Springfield Hillcrest) are the lone freshmen, while DJ Feitl comes to the Lions from NAIA John Brown Unviersity. He averaged 18.4 points per game last year and shot over 44 percent from the field. Vince Fritz (Sacred Heart) and Isaac Kreuer (UMKC) are Division I transfers.
The Lions open the 2015-16 regular season by playing host to the MIAA/NSIC Challenge on Nov.13 and 14. Southern will play St. Cloud State and Minnesota State. The complete poll is below, while the entire list with more information can be found by clicking in the story links.
2015-16 Sporting News Top 10
1 Tarleton State
2 Augustana (SD)
3 West Liberty
4 Lincoln Memorial
5 Missouri Southern
7 Midwestern State
8 St. Cloud State
10 California Baptist