Lipscomb center Adnan Hodzic was named the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason player of the year, and the Bisons were the choice of both the media and conference coaches to win the regular season title, the conference office announced Wednesday.
Hodzic, the 2009-10 A-Sun Player of the Year, and teammate Josh Slater were unanimous all-conference selections. Only one other player, Kennesaw State’s Markeith Cummings, was named on every ballot.
“Adnan and Josh have both been major parts of our program,” coach Scott Sanderson said. “They both know how to handle success. Some players don’t understand how to do that. They have earned individual accolades, but they both know they can’t play as well as they do without their teammates.”
Belmont, which was picked third in both polls, also had two players – guard Ian Clark and forward Mick Hedgepeth – among the 12 who earned preseason all-conference honors.
The Bisons and Bruins were two of the teams that finished in a four-way tie for the conference crown last season at 14-6. Lipscomb was 17-13 overall; Belmont was 19-12.
Lipscomb was the overwhelming choice of the media as this season’s top team, though, with 23 first-place votes among the 33 that were cast. Six of the 11 coaches chose Lipscomb as the team to beat, and four tabbed East Tennessee State.
“I don’t worry a whole lot about it,” Sanderson said. “… Championships are won on the floor where they should be. Being picked No. 1 in a preseason poll means we have a lot of good players coming back, which we do.”
Belmont received one first-place vote in each poll.
“Preseason polls never do much for me, as they can't be cashed in for more points or more wins,” coach Rick Byrd said. “We can't control any of that. We can only control getting better each day in practice.
“ … Once again, our conference will be balanced and competitive.”