AUGUSTA, GA – Despite returning eight players from last year’s 18-10 squad, the Francis Marion University men’s basketball team has been picked to finish eighth according to the annual Peach Belt Conference Coaches’ Pre-Season poll released on Wednesday.
USC Aiken has been selected as the team to beat, as the Pacers received 10 of a possible 12 first-place votes and totaled 141 points. Augusta State University is second in the poll with 113 points, followed by Clayton State University (110), Georgia College (99), Armstrong Atlantic State University (98), University of Montevallo (96), Flagler College (65), FMU (64), Georgia Southwestern State University (56), North Georgia College & State University (52), Lander University (50), Columbus State University (45), and UNC Pembroke (25).
The Patriots did receive one second-place vote.
Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
Among the returning letterwinners, fifth-year FMU head coach Gary Edwards welcomes back two starters as the Patriots pursue a third consecutive winning season for the first time since the early 1990’s. Last year’s win total (18) was the second-highest in 17 seasons. Four transfers and a red-shirt freshman join the squad for the 2010-11 campaign. Edwards has directed FMU to increased win totals each of the past four seasons (9, 12, 16, 18). Overall, Edwards is beginning his 27th season as a college head coach with 444 career coaching wins.
Senior 6-6 swingman Simel Boyd (12.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 52.5% FG), a pre-season honorable mention Sporting News All-American, heads the returnees. Boyd was a second-team All-PBC selection last season two years after being named the 2008 PBC Freshman of the Year. Also returning is 6-10 junior center Andrew Smith (6.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg), 6-8 senior forward David Turner (6.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg), and 6-0 senior guard Bryant Julious (5.3 ppg, 1.9 apg) – who made eight starts last year.
Junior 6-2 guard Shawn Greenfield, a former NJCAA Pre-Season All-American, and 6-4 senior swingman Dominique Coleman head the newcomers. Greenfield comes to FMU from Garrett College, while Coleman is a transfer from the University of West Alabama.
Francis Marion will play an exhibition game at the College of Charleston on Nov. 5, before opening the regular season with four consecutive home contests. The season opener is set for Nov. 16 at home against Allen University.
There was only one coaching change over the summer in the Peach Belt as Robert Moore took over at Columbus State.
The 2010-11 men’s basketball season begins on Nov. 12 and continues through to the 2011 PBC Tournament on March 1, 5, and 6, with the semifinals and finals being hosted by USC Aiken.
2010-11 Peach Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Poll
No. Team (1st-place votes) Total
1. USC Aiken (10) 141
2. Augusta State (1) 113
3. Clayton State 110
4. Georgia College (2) 99
5. Armstrong Atlantic St. 98
6. Montevallo 96
7. Flagler 65
8. Francis Marion 64
9. Georgia Southwestern 56
10. North Georgia 52
11. Lander 50
12. Columbus State 45
13. UNC Pembroke 25