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ASU hoops get little love in preseason predictions

Kedeemya Cooper

Kedeemya Cooper

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Kourtney Alexander

ALBANY — Albany State women’s basketball coach Robert Skinner admits that he didn’t vote for this year’s All-SIAC preseason team or predicted order of finish.

If he would have voted, however, he would have ranked his Lady Rams exactly where they showed up in the preseason predicted order of finish — in the bottom half.

Neither the Albany State men’s nor women’s teams were given much respect by the conference’s coaches in the preseason rankings with the Lady Rams being picked to finish fourth in the East Division and the Golden Rams coming in at fifth.

“That’s the way the other coaches see it,” Skinner said. “And I think the three teams in front of us deserve to be in front of us.”

The Lady Rams did place two on the All-SIAC team in junior Kedeemya Cooper and senior Kourtney Alexander.

“Both of them are expected to be two of our premier players,” Skinner said. “I look for them offensively and defensively to be a big part of what we are doing. I think if both of them will have big years and we can add a couple of other player to step up, then we will have a good year as a team.”

And despite the Lady Rams’ fourth-place prediction — and Skinner’s similar preseason ranking — a “good year” for ASU could put the Lady Rams in position to win their first SIAC crown since 1998.

“I know we can win it,” Skinner said. “We just have to go out and execute and perform. I don’t think there is any team in the conference that is so talented that we can’t play with them.”

The ASU men were shut out of the All-SIAC preseason team following last year’s fifth-place finish in the East Division, but men’s coach Chris Cameron said he and his players don’t pay much attention to preseason predictions or honors.

“A lot of it is speculation,” he said. “We have never got caught up in where we are picked in the beginning because we know we have to play the year. We have a lot of new guys, and (other coaches) don’t know what we have.”

The ASU men open the season with an exhibition Nov. 2 against the Darton College club team and begin the regular season Nov. 15 in the Paine College Classic, while the Lady Rams open the season Nov. 8 in the SIAC-Sunshine Challenge in Fort Valley.

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SIAC men’s predicted order of finish

East Division

1. Benedict

2. Morehouse

3. Paine

4. Fort Valley State

5. ALBANY STATE

6. Claflin

7. Clark Atlanta

West Division

1. Stillman

2. Tuskegee

3. Kentucky State

4. LeMoyne-Owen

5. Lane

6. Miles

Overall Champion: Benedict

Preseason All-SIAC men’s team

PlayerTeam

Darrius WilliamsMonroe

Brandon Davey Fort Valley State

Javier McKinney Tuskegee

Ulyssess Thomas IIIKentucky State

Kedric TaylorPaine

Dwayne BinghamClark Atlanta

Austin Anderson Morehouse

Brennan Reynard Benedict

Jeremy WhitmoreLane

Jeffrey Wherry Stillman

SIAC women’s predicted order of finish

East Division

1. Clark Atlanta

2. Benedict

3. Fort Valley State

4. ALBANY STATE

5. Paine

6. Claflin

West Division

1. Tuskegee

2. Stillman

3. Kentucky State

4. Miles

5. LeMoyne-Owen

6. Lane

Overall Champion: Clark Atlanta

Preseason All-SIAC women’s team

PlayerTeam

Conisha Hicks Clark Atlanta

London RichardsonBenedict

Erika Sumpter Clark Atlanta

Angel Mitchell Stillman

Ashley WattsPaine

KADEEMYA COOPER ALBANY STATE

Marie MacAbeeTuskegee

Shytina HartleyFort Valley State

KajuannaRivers Tuskegee

KOURTNEY ALEXANDER ALBANY STATE