The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Basketball Team has been predicted to finish in third place in the South Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll as announced by the league this morning. Additionally, R.J. Gunn and Darius Simmons have each earned Preseason First Team All-Conference accolades.
The Bears earned one first-place vote and finish behind traditional powers Lincoln Memorial and Queens in the poll. LR returns nearly every player from a season ago including the duo of Gunn and Simmons who both were tabbed among the best players in the league. The pair enter the season each with 917 career points and look to top 1,000 in their senior campaigns. Of the 2,306 points scored in the 2019-20 season, LR returning players scored 2,295.
Gunn was an All-Region selection a season ago and averaged 19.6 points per game and led the Bears with 6.8 rebounds per contest. The forward played nearly 34 minutes per game in 2019-20 and scored in double figures in all but one game. Against Clayton State on Nov. 20, Gunn dropped 36 points and went 15-of-26 from the field. For the year, Gunn had five double-doubles and finished third in the conference in scoring and second in field goals made.
Simmons averaged 17.6 points per night, a figure that was good for 10th in the conference. Simmons led the Bears by converting 83.3 percent from the free throw line and his 140 free throws made were more than double anyone else on the team. Simmons finished second on the team with 71 assists and had three games of 30 or more points. Like Gunn, Simmons had just one game where he failed to score in double figures.
The Bears tipoff the historic 100th season of basketball on Nov. 21 when they host Queens at 4 p.m.