We continue our previews of the conference with ASUN. Every week on Twitter, we preview two conferences as we stream live from the Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) account, chatting with members of the media and coaches across the selected league.
For the full Twitter Space, click the link below:
To open the conversation, Mid-Major Madness writer Nick Lorensen and A Sea of Red’s Jon Manson recapped what happened at ASUN last season and so far this offseason. Although Bellarmine won the conference tournament in March, this was not the team to represent the league at the NCAA Tournament because of its transition to Division I (a silly rule that really shouldn’t exist, but we disagree). Jacksonville State represented the league and fell to Auburn in the first round.
The news continued into the early months of the offseason for Bellarmine, as star Dylan Penn relocated to Vermont and head coach Scott Davenport announced it would be his final season as boss, passing the torch to his son Doug. That flame would remain lit a little to the west as Liberty received good news that one of the best guards in the country, Darius McGhee, is back for another season.
To open the conversation with the coaches, Queens coach Grant Leonard (6:00) came in to talk about his team’s first year at DI. The Knights are one of four programs transitioning to DI this season and join Austin Peay as first-year members in the league.
“Over the past seven years, we’ve had the sixth-best winning percentage in all of NCAA basketball,” Leonard said. “I know it’s a completely new level and challenge, but we’ve had a lot of phenomenal players and I’m really excited to get into the mix right away.”
Jon and Nick continued the conversation by visualizing all the teams in the league. To learn more about your team, advance recording for each timestamp.
23:00 Austin Peay
32:30 Central Arkansas
34:45 Eastern Kentucky
43:15 State of Jacksonville
47:15 State of Kennesaw
58:30 North Alabama
1:00:40 North Florida
1:04:50 POTY and Title Predictions
Along with Twitter Space, Nick also spoke with Liberty coach Richie McKay about the program he built in Lynchburg. The Flames have won over 20 games in six straight seasons and return one of the top 3-ball threats in McGhee.
“We can talk all you want about what he does and can do on a basketball court, but ironically, it’s worth mentioning the history Darius had when he returned. He finished the season, he’s the all-time winning player at Liberty. He set multiple records, consecutive ASUN Player of the Year awards and literally could have gone anywhere,” said McKay. “And he turned down all of that to maintain his eligibility. I talked to some NBA teams about his future and what he needed to do. He could have signed a professional contract the day our season ended and he stayed. Nick, you see, he didn’t ask for anything to stay.
To listen to our entire interview with McKay, click the link: Richie McKay Interview
Along with ASUN, a preview article about the Patriot League will also be released this week. Stay tuned for Twitter Space previews on MEAC and Southland.