Jacksonville Sports Day

ASUN: Lipscomb Selected Atop Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll

ATLANTA, Ga. – Lipscomb is favored to capture the 2020-21 ASUN Conference Men’s Basketball title after being selected to the top spot in both the Coaches & Media Polls, announced by the league office.

The Bisons secured a total of 21 first-place votes combined between the two polls while Liberty, North Florida and Stetson also received first-place nods.

Lipscomb was selected atop both polls as the Bisons are looking to advance to their fourth consecutive ASUN Championship Final and claim their second regular-season crown in the last three years.

The two-time defending ASUN Regular Season and Tournament Champions, Liberty landed second in the polls followed by Stetson and North Florida. All four teams earned at least one first-place vote in both the Coaches and Media polls. FGCU, North Alabama and Jacksonville finished in the fifth through seventh slots.

In the Coaches poll, Bellarmine placed eighth followed by Kennesaw State while the Owls were selected eighth by the media rounded out by the Knights.

Ahsan Asadullah was named Preseason Player of the Year after being the only ASUN player ranked in the top-three for scoring (18.6), rebounding (10.1) and assists (3.9) following his sophomore season.

On the defensive side of the ball, he finished sixth in the league in blocks (36) and seventh in steals (36). He also added 15 double-doubles, 16 10-plus rebound performances and 12 20-point games a year ago while setting three new ASUN Championship records — 18 made field goals in a game (quarterfinals vs. FGCU), 89 total tournament points and 42 total tournament rebounds.

Asadullah was selected to the NABC All-District First Team, All-ASUN First Team, ASUN All-Academic Team and ASUN All-Tournament Team.

Elijah Cuffee, the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, helped lead Liberty to its second-straight ASUN Championship and Regular Season titles.

The Flames became only the second league team to earn 30 wins last season which also set a new Flames program record. Defensively, the senior led the way for Liberty as the Flames were first in the league in scoring defense (53.8), field goal percentage defense (38.7), three-point field goal percentage defense (29.2) and turnover margin (+2.6).

Cuffee was second on his team averaging one steal per game while adding 7.0 points per game and grabbing 2.6 rebounds per contest.

Asadullah was one-of-six unanimous selections to the Preseason All-Conference Team alongside FGCU’s Caleb Catto, Liberty’s Darius McGhee, North Florida’s Carter Hendricksen and the Stetson duo of Mahamadou Diawara and Rob Perry as all six are either sophomores or juniors.

Six of the nine ASUN schools were represented on the team while FGCU, Liberty, North Alabama and Stetson all landed a pair of players on the preseason squad.

MBB Preseason All-Conference Team:

*Ahsan Asadullah, Lipscomb, Jr., C (18.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.2 SPG)
A member of the All-Conference First Team, All-Academic Team and All-Tournament Team in 2019-20, Asadullah was the only player in the league to be ranked in the top-three for scoring (18.6), rebounding (10.1) and assists (3.9). He was also one of only two players in the conference to average a double-double on the year and set three new ASUN Championship records.

*Caleb Catto, FGCU, Jr., G (12.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.6 APG)
Catto begins his junior campaign in 2020-21 after leading FGCU in scoring last season at 12.7 points per game, which ranked 10th in the ASUN, as he reached double figures in 21 games including a career-high 26 at Kennesaw State (Feb. 13). His 2.6 assists per contest were second-best for the Eagles in 2019-20.

*Darius McGhee, Liberty, Jr., G (9.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.7 APG)
A starter in all 34 games last season, McGhee is Liberty’s top returning scorer from a year ago at 9.5 points per game. He also grabbed 4.0 rebounds per contest and has been apart of back-to-back ASUN Regular Season and Championship title squads for the Flames.

*Carter Hendricksen, North Florida, Jr., F (14.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.8 APG)
An All-Conference Second Team and All-Academic Team honoree, Hendricksen was one of two players ranked in the conference’s top-six for scoring and rebounding last season at 14.9 points per game (5th) and 7.1 rebounds per game (6th). He also finished second in the ASUN for three-pointers (84) as the Ospreys led the nation in three-point field goals made (391) and three-point field goals made per game (11.8).

*Mahamadou Diawara, Stetson, So., F/C (12.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG)
Diawara, named to the ASUN All-Freshmen Team a year ago, finished third in the league for field goal percentage at 58.5 percent last season while his 12.5 points per game were 11th and second among all freshmen, behind teammate Rob Perry. Meanwhile, his 6.5 rebounds per contest were first among all freshmen and ranked eighth in the ASUN.

*Rob Perry, Stetson, So., G (15.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.6 APG)
The reigning ASUN Freshman of the Year, Perry earned a spot on the ASUN All-Conference Second Team after leading Stetson and ranking fourth in the league in scoring (15.1). He also led the conference in three-point field goal percentage (42.6) and was fifth in three-pointers made (69) for the Hatters.

Jalen Warren, FGCU, Sr., G (10.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.8 APG)
Warren dished out a team-best 3.8 assists per game which also ranked third in the ASUN last season. His 10.9 points per game were also second on the FGCU squad as he hit double figures in 18 contests including reaching the 20-point plateau twice.

Elijah Cuffee, Liberty, Sr., G/F (7.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.3 APG)
Cuffee returns for his senior season after starting all 34 games last year and helping the Flames to their second-straight ASUN Regular Season and Championship titles. In 2019-20, he averaged 7.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per outing while shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 80.6 percent at the free throw line.

Jamari Blackmon, North Alabama, Jr., G (12.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.8 APG)
The 2019 ASUN Freshman of the Year, Blackmon enters his junior year after finishing second on the Lions’ squad in scoring last season at 12.4 points per game. In addition, he ranked fourth in the conference for assists (2.8) and was fifth in three-point field goals made per game (2.13).

Emanuel Littles, North Alabama, Jr., F (8.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG)
Littles’ 10.3 rebounds per contest led the ASUN during the 2019-20 season while his 55.0 percent shooting percentage ranked fifth. The junior, who started 23 of his 27 games played a year ago, ranked third in the ASUN with 15 10-plus rebound contests while recording seven double-doubles which was tied for third in the league last season.

  • – denotes unanimous selection to the preseason team

For the 10th-straight year, the ASUN Conference took to social media to poll the fans for the conference preseason superlative awards. FGCU’s Caleb Catto was named the Fan-Voted Preseason Player of the Year with 286 votes, while Kennesaw State’s Alex Peterson earned the Fan-Voted Preseason Defensive Player with a total of 330 votes.

Unanimous Preseason Player of the Year: Ahsan Asadullah, Lipscomb
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Elijah Cuffee, Liberty

Preseason MBB All-Conference Team
*Ahsan Asadullah, Lipscomb, Jr., C
*Caleb Catto, FGCU, Jr., G
*Darius McGhee, Liberty, Jr., G
*Carter Hendricksen, North Florida, Jr., F
*Mahamadou Diawara, Stetson, So., F/C
*Rob Perry, Stetson, So., G
Jalen Warren, FGCU, Sr., G
Elijah Cuffee, Liberty, Sr., G/F
Jamari Blackmon, North Alabama, Jr., G
Emanuel Littles, North Alabama, Jr., F

  • – denotes unanimous selection to the preseason team

2020-21 Preseason MBB Coaches Poll
Place Team (1st-Place Votes) Points

  1. Lipscomb (5) 74
  2. Liberty (1) 66
  3. Stetson (2) 64
  4. North Florida (1) 56
  5. FGCU 45
  6. North Alabama 40
  7. Jacksonville 29
  8. Bellarmine 18
  9. Kennesaw State 13

2020-21 Preseason MBB Media Poll
Place Team (1st-Place Votes) Points

  1. Lipscomb (16) 256
  2. Liberty (10) 245
  3. Stetson (4) 202
  4. North Florida (2) 192
  5. FGCU 156
  6. North Alabama 146
  7. Jacksonville 108
  8. Kennesaw State 68
  9. Bellarmine 62

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