Ryan Dunn is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Sun Conference. Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.
Predicted Order of Finish:
- Lipscomb Bisons (20-9, 15-5)
- Jacksonville Dolphins (19-11, 14-6)
- Mercer Bears (17-15, 12-8)
- Campbell Camels (17-13, 11-9)
- East Tennessee State Bucs (15-15, 11-9)
- Belmont Bruins (13-17, 10-10)
- Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (14-15, 9-11)
- Stetson Hatters (13-16, 8-12)
- North Florida Ospreys (11-19, 7-13)
- Kennesaw State Owls (9-23, 5-15)
- USC-Upstate Spartans (4-25, 4-16)
Preseason All-Conference Team (all stats 2008-09 season):
- James Florence (G), Mercer 20.8 points, 3.7 assists
- Ben Smith (G), Jacksonville 16.9 points, 4.0 assists
- Jonathan Rodriguez (F), Campbell 15.6 points, 8.3 rebounds
- Mike Smith (F), ETSU 15.3 points, 7.7 rebounds
- Adnan Hodzic (C), Lipscomb 17.1 points, 7.1 rebounds
6th Man. Daniel Emerson, Mercer. Yes I know Emerson will not come off the bench but since he is such a good player and he wasn’t mentioned on my all-conference team I wanted to give him some recognition. Emerson was the only player in the league last year to average a double-double.
Impact Newcomer. Justin Tubbs, ETSU. Transfer from Alabama, very athletic and should provide immediate help in the ETSU backcourt.
What You Need To Know.
While the A-Sun has 11 teams in the league, only nine teams are eligible for postseason play as Florida Gulf Coast and USC-Upstate are still completing their transition from Division 2to Division 1. This upcoming season marks the first year that North Florida and Kennesaw State will be eligible for postseason play as they have now completed their transition to Division I. Only eight spots are reserved for the conference tournament meaning that only one eligible team will miss out. This year’s tournament will be played at Mercer’s University Center in Macon, Georgia.
Some headlines that made news this offseason included a coaching change at North Florida as they named former Baylor assistant Matthew Driscoll head coach. Driscoll has put together quite the coaching staff that features former Campbell assistant Bobby Kennan, former Head Coach at Lander College Bruce Evans, and Jeremy Shyatt, former Director of Basketball Operations at VCU and son of former Clemson head coach and current Florida top assistant Larry Shyatt. Driscoll and his staff brought in nine newcomers to go along with six returning players. Five of the newcomers earned all-state honors in the state of Florida.
The league features two of the more premier mid-major players in Campbell’s Jonathan Rodriguez and Mercer’s James Florence. Both have a chance to rewrite their school and conference record books. Florence is the active leader for career scoring in the league with Rodriguez following in second. Rodriguez stands second on the Atlantic Sun’s career double-double list with 39, and is just three off the record. Florence currently sits in fifth on the Mercer all-time scoring list. Both players should indeed break numerous records and if you haven’t seen them play it would definitely be worth your money to see them in action this season.