Sporting News tabs Knights No. 6 in preseason rankings
9/21/2015 | Men's Basketball
LOUISVILLE, Ky.-The Bellarmine University men's basketball team is tabbed as the No. 6 team in the country according to the Sporting News Yearbook's 2015-16 preseason rankings.
"Polls are great for fans and recruits," said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport, "but what I'm most impressed with is our basketball team and its work ethic in the offseason and the preseason thus far. I really, really enjoy coaching this basketball team every day."
Tarleton State-which, like Bellarmine, lost in the national semifinals last season-got the top spot in the rankings. The Texans' 2014-15 record mirrored the Knights' 31-4 mark.
Augustana is in the No. 2 position with West Liberty, Lincoln Memorial and Missouri Southern rounding out the top five. Following Bellarmine in the top 10 are Midwestern State, St. Cloud State, Montevallo and California Baptist.
Listed as a "possible breakthrough" in the rankings is Great Lakes Valley Conference foe Indianapolis.
The rankings indicate the Knights are playing one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation as Bellarmine will tangle with both No. 4 Lincoln Memorial (Jan. 2 at home) and No. 7 Midwestern State (Nov. 27 in Evansville, Ind.) in addition to the always rigorous GLVC slate.
The Knights return 11 players and three starters from last's year final four team, and Davenport is pleased to welcome back such a seasoned squad. "There's no teacher like experience," he said, "and we have tremendous leadership."
Among Bellarmine's returnees are juniors Josh Derksen and Rusty Troutman, who both averaged more than 11 points a game last year, and 6-10 senior George Suggs, who led the GLVC in blocked shots last season and made 46.8 percent of his 3-pointers-also a league best.
The Knights also have a strong group of newcomers this season including Yasin Kolo, a 6-10 transfer who was enrolled at Bellarmine last year and was able to practice all season with the team. A strong recruiting class adds both size and guard play with junior college transfer Al Davis providing experience as a playmaker.
Bellarmine opens its 2015-16 season with a three-game exhibition season against some of the top teams in the area. The Knights will travel to the YUM! Center to take on Louisville on Sunday, Nov. 1. A week later they go to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats, and they conclude their exhibition schedule with a Nov. 9 date at Assembly Hall with the Indiana Hoosiers.
The regular season opens in Knights Hall on Nov. 14 when Bellarmine entertains Northwood University in the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge.