Benson's Bunch tabbed seventh in preseason SAC poll

Benson's Bunch tabbed seventh in preseason SAC poll

VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Carson-Newman's men's basketball program has been pegged for a seventh place finish in the South Atlantic Conference's annual preseason poll, released Tuesday morning. 

The Eagles were picked second and finished second last season, but lost a combined 3,400 career points with the departure of now professional basketball players Antoine Davis and Ish Sanders. 

Lincoln Memorial was picked to win the league in front of Newberry, Queens and Wingate.

"All that matters is what happens at the end of the season," C-N head coach Chuck Benson said. "We don't place stock in it in any fashion whether we're one or 12, we just want to be able to improve and get better as the year goes on.

"Having said that, I think it is fair to say that Lincoln Memorial has earned their spot at the top. They're poised again to be an elite program in the conference this year."

Anderson was placed fifth and Lenoir-Rhyne sixth, a vote in front of the Eagles.

Carson-Newman won 19 games last season and made a run to the NCAA tournament before bowing out in the first round to archrival Lincoln Memorial.

The Eagles return 41 percent of their scoring from a year ago after losing Davis, Sanders and Kevin Leatherwood and Ray Likely.

"This is a great opportunities for other kids to step up (both in our program and others)," Benson said. "There are some guys returning who were in the mix last year, now you see who can step into those roles and establish new names for themselves in the absence of those great players."

Senior guard Jared Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) is the Eagles' leading scorer.  He dropped 277 points last season. 

The Eagles do return their leading rebounder in junior Carson Brooks (Knoxville, Tenn.).

The SAC has a vastly different look from the 2013-14 season.  Of the league's 13 leading scorers from last year, only one returns – Newberry's Dondray Walker.

Coker, Brevard, Tusculum, Catawba and Mars Hill round out the league's preseason poll.

"Every year we completely ignore the poll and focus on getting better every day," Benson said. "Last year when we were ranked second, we didn't talk about it. This year, being ranked seventh, we won't talk about it. We won't change that, we'll just focus in on being better as a unit."

Carson-Newman opens up its season at the 45-Second Class at Barton on Nov. 14-15.  Coverage of those games will be available online at courtesy the Eagle Sports Network.

Team (First-Place Votes)


Lincoln Memorial (9)


Newberry (3)




















Mars Hil


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