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.
SIAC men’s predicted order of finish
4. Fort Valley State
5. ALBANY STATE
7. Clark Atlanta
3. Kentucky State
Overall Champion: Benedict
Preseason All-SIAC men’s team
Brandon Davey Fort Valley State
Javier McKinney Tuskegee
Ulyssess Thomas IIIKentucky State
Dwayne BinghamClark Atlanta
Austin Anderson Morehouse
Brennan Reynard Benedict
Jeffrey Wherry Stillman
SIAC women’s predicted order of finish
1. Clark Atlanta
3. Fort Valley State
4. ALBANY STATE
3. Kentucky State
Overall Champion: Clark Atlanta
Preseason All-SIAC women’s team
Conisha Hicks Clark Atlanta
Erika Sumpter Clark Atlanta
Angel Mitchell Stillman
KADEEMYA COOPER ALBANY STATE
Shytina HartleyFort Valley State
KOURTNEY ALEXANDER ALBANY STATE