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The Ultimate Rankings Countdown: 313-299

313. High Point: First year head coach, Scott Cherry comes to High Point in hopes of improving the teams 9-21 record from the 2008-09 season. Cherry comes into a very young program led by last year’s freshman standout, Nick Barbour. Barbour averaged a team high of 14.2 points per game, which earned him Big South All-Freshman honors.

312. Loyola Marymount: The Lions go into the 2009-10 season with one of the youngest and most talented backcourts in the West Coast Conference. Vernon Teel had a phenomenal sophomore year averaging 14.6 points per game. His fellow guard Jarred DuBois also helped out by adding 13.5 points per game. The main thing missing from Max Good’s team is a shut down defense. The two guards are young enough that there is still plenty of time for their defensive skills to blossom.

311. Farleigh Dickinson: The Knights have their top three scorers returning for their senior year. The trio of Sean Baptiste, Cameron Tyler, and Alvin Mofunanya was responsible for 38.6 of the Knights points per game during the2008-09 season. Head coach Greg Vetrone will need to find a supporting cast for the senior trio and if he does so there is no doubt that their offense will be firing on all cylinders.

310. Northwestern State: Mike McConathy’s Demons come into the 2009-10 with a lot of hope in improving their 11-20 record from last season. The team was very young and inexperienced which is the major factor that caused them to struggle in Southland Conference play, winning only 3 of the 16 games. Other than guard Keithan Hancock, the Demons return the same team from last year. Hancock’s 9.1 points per game will be greatly missed but coach McConathy should be able to find someone that will be able to contribute in the same way.  

309. Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles had a rough end to the 2008-09 season, finishing with only two victories in their last ten games. Head coach Dave Balza is in a fairly good position as he only has one of his starters leaving. He is going to have to hope that Reed Baker can take on a leadership role as well as increase his 13.4 points per game from 2008-09. If he can take the rest of the young Eagles team under his wing, they should be able to be a lot more productive than last year.

308. Bryant: The only way Tim O’Shea can improve upon his Bears’ 8-21 record from the 2008-09 season is if they can figure out a way to create some offensive production. The team is set to lose Peter Lambert who finished third on the team in scoring last year. This will set the team back a bit but should not be too harmful. The Bears must continue to play great defense as well as create more scoring opportunities.

307. Brown: The Bears will look forward to see the standout forward, Matt Mullery return for his final year under head coach Jesse Agel. Mullery put up all-star quality stat lines, averaging 16.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.1 bloacks per game. The downside to the Bears is that they are losing two role players in Chris Skrelja and Scott Friske. The two will leave a major hole in the Bears defense that Mullery might not be able to fill by himself.

306. UMKC: The biggest hitch in the Kangaroos 2008-09 season was their performance in conference play in which they went 3-15. The loss of senior leader Dane Brumagin who averaged 15.3 points per game is going to quiet down Matt Brown’s offense. However the Kangaroos have great hope in the junior trio of Reggie Hamilton, Bakari Lewis, and Spencer Johnson that averaged a combined 34.1 points per games as sophomores. The dynamic trio clearly has the talent to improve upon their conference record. The only question is do they have the leadership.

305. Cal Poly: The Mustangs will face a major setback in both their frontcourt and backcourt with the graduation of seniors Titus Shelton and Chaz Thomas. The 6’ 7" Shelton was a force on both the offensive and defensive side of the court in which he averaged 12.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Thomas who averaged 11 points and 3 assists a game was the leader of the dominant backcourt. The Mustangs will need their leading scorer Lorenzo Keeler to step up in the 2009-10 season in order to improve upon their 7-21 record in 2008-09.

304. McNeese State: The departure of seniors, John Pichon and Kleon Penn are going to be a major blow to Dave Simmons’ team. The two seniors were the number two and three scorers, respectively during the 2008-09 season and contributed a combined 19.8 points per game. The Cowboys have a great player in Diego Kapelan who will be a senior this year but it is questionable if he will able to replace the two seniors by himself.

303. Delaware State: The Hornets are going to be put in a difficult situation in the 2009-10 season as they lose two of their top three scorers. There is no doubt that the departures of Donald Johnson and Arturo Dubois are going to be a major speed bump in the teams 2009-10 season. However Greg Jackson’s team should be able to make up for this with their experience. They will have seven seniors this season that should be able to smoothly fill in the void left by Johnson and Dubois.

302. Northern Arizona: The return of Cameron Jones should act as a major form of motivation for the Lumberjacks going into the 2009-10 season. Jones averaged a team high of 12.7 points per game as a sophomore and continues to sharpen his skills. On the other hand the downside for Mike Adras’ team is that they lose several key role players to graduation. The team will be losing a total of four seniors including Matt Johnson who had a break out senior year, averaging 11.6 points per game.

301. Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers suffer the loss of two senior point guards in Mario Sisinni and Steven Sexton who averaged a combined 18.9 points and 5.6 assists per game. However coach Cliff Ellis already has his answer to these two losses and that is in the form of the 6’ 5" forward, Joseph Harris who averaged 15.2 points and 11.4 rebounds a game. Harris is an incredibly versatile player who puts forth great contributions on both the offensive and defensive side of the court and if healthy, can lead to a lot of Chanticleer victories.

300. Hartford: The Hawks struggled down the end leg of the 2008-09 season by losing 14 games in a row, a streak that started on January 17 and did not come to an end until March 1st. To make matters even worse for coach Dan Leibovitz he is set to lose two of his top three scorers in the upcoming 2009-10 season. Jaret Von Rosenberg and Michael Turner averaged 12.8 and 11.2 points respectively last season, which accounted for a major portion of the Hawks offense. The Hawks are in need of some scorers that are capable of stepping into the positions left by Rosenberg and Turner.

299. Longwood: Mike Gillian’s Lancers have a lot of upside heading into the 2009-10 season. The team finished up extraordinarily hot winning 6 of their last 10, which helped them turn around their rough start to post a respectable 17-14 overall record. The only downside for the Lancers is that they will be losing Ryan Bogan who was arguably the team’s most consistent player, averaging 14 points per game. The positive aspect for Mike Gillian is that Dana Smith and Kevin Swecker will both return to Farmville, VA for their senior year. The two averaged a combined 25.7 points per game and will act as a great veteran foundation for the rest of this year’s youthful team.