The Smalls | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The Smalls

Lakin Ford is the sole returning player for Mississippi College, and hopes to help the team get to its 16th straight tournament appearance.

Lakin Ford is the sole returning player for Mississippi College, and hopes to help the team get to its 16th straight tournament appearance.

Alcorn State University returns just one starter, All-SWAC forward LeAntwan Luckett, from last year's 10-24 team. The Braves head coach Luther Riley has recruited some size to Lorman with junior college transfers Josh Nicolas (7-0), Stephane Raquil (6-10) and Shantardrick Hester (6-8). Alcorn State's only shot at reaching the Big Dance is by winning the SWAC Tournament.

Mississippi Valley State University has one of the toughest coaching jobs. Head coach Chico Potts must try to win games facing a second straight postseason ban and, to make matters worse, without last year's SWAC leading scorer Davon Usher, who transferred. Potts hopes to improve on last year's 5-23 with junior college transfer Anthony McDonald and returning player Matt Smith.

Delta State University returns three starters from last year's 11-16 team and is looking for better results in year two under head coach Jim Boone. The Statesmen return Cornel Knight, Mike Weems and Jack Madgen—Knight and Weems being seniors. Delta State wants to improve on its preseason predicted finish of fourth in the Gulf South Conference, and Jackson State transfer Willie Readus could be the difference for the Statesmen.

Mississippi College returns just one starter from last year's 15-11 team that went 11-8 in conference play.

Lakin Ford is the only returning player for the Choctaws on a team predicted to finish seventh in the American Southwest Conference. Head coach Don Lofton enters his 10th year at MC hoping to maintain the streak of being the only team to qualify for every conference tournament. The Choctaws have made 15 straight tournament appearances.

Millsaps College hopes to improve on last year's 5-21 squad. Head coach Tim Wise wants this year's team to resemble the one that upset number-two seed Rhodes in the Southern Athletic Association Tournament. The three seniors on the Majors' team—Ryan Berger, Tully Gilligan and Murray Kastner—will play at least once near their hometowns.

Belhaven University turned to former assistant coach John Aiken (now in year two) last year to lead the program, and the squad finished 12-18 overall and 8-10 in the Southern State Athletic Conference. The Blazers return several players from last year's team including Curt Hall, Chris Cofield and Jackson native Jerrial Dawson. Belhaven was picked to finish tenth in the very competitive SSAC.

Tougaloo College enters its second year with Harvey Wardell as head coach. His first campaign finished with an 8-18 record. The Bulldogs feature Denzel Hardy, who made the Preseason All-Conference Team in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. Conference coaches picked Tougaloo to finish sixth in the conference.

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