Bears’ Simmons, Gunn on first-team
preseason all-conference team
By CHRIS HOBBS
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne University’s men are predicted to finish third this season in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC), conference head coaches said this week in a poll.
The league begins play on Nov. 21 with limited seating at games based on following COVID-19 state guidelines at each school.
LRU is scheduled to open on Nov. 24 at Limestone. After games at Newberry, S.C. and Anderson, S.C., the Bears’ home opener is scheduled for Dec. 9 against Catawba.
The league favorite is Lincoln Memorial with 11 first-place votes, followed by Queens and Lenoir-Rhyne, both of whom received one first-place vote.
LRU has two preseason first-team All-SAC picks – 5-foot-11 senior guard Darius Simmons of Raleigh and 6-7 guard-forward R.J. Gunn of Columbia, S.C.
Simmons averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season for the Bears (14-14, 10-12 SAC) while Gunn provided 19.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Lincoln Memorial finished 32-1 last season, winning 32 straight games and the SAC Tournament title and a No. 2 national ranking by the NABC (National Basketball Coaches Association).
The Railsplitters are a preseason No. 3 pick according to Basketball Times, with returners Cameron Henry and Devin Whitfield named preseason All-Americans.
1. Lincoln Memorial (11), 155 points
2. Queens (1), 144
3. LENOIR-RHYNE (1), 122
4. Tusculum, 117
5. Catawba, 114
6. Anderson, S.C., 107
7. Wingate, 81
8. Newberry, S.C., 78
9. Carson-Newman, 77
10. Mars Hill, 64
11. Coker, S.C, 45
12. UVA Wise, 40
13. Limestone, 26
Quin Notingham, Anderson
Cameron Henry, Lincoln Memorial
Devin Whitfield, Lincoln Memorial
Cameron Whiteside, UVA Wise
Darius Simmons, Lenoir-Rhyne
R.J. Gunn, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jamari Smith, Queens
Trenton Gibson, Tusculum
Jarren Cottingham, Wingate
Javonte Cooke, Mars Hill
Crosby James II, Anderson
Kenny Dye, Queens
LRU’S 2020-2021 SCHEDULE: https://lrbears.com/sports/mens-basketball/schedule
LRU MEN’S 2020-2021 BASKETBALL ROSTER: https://lrbears.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster/darius-simmons/4366
LAST YEAR’S FINAL BEAR STATS: https://lrbears.com/sports/mens-basketball/stats/2019-20?path=mbball
LAST YEAR’S SAC MEN’S FINAL STANDINGS: https://www.thesac.com/sports/mbkb/2019-20/standings