WINTER PARK, Fla. (October 17, 2012) - Rollins garnered one first-place vote and finished fourth in a tight race atop the 2012-13 Sunshine State Conference preseason poll, it was announced Wednesday.
Saint Leo, the surprise team of last season, was picked to win the conference, earning 180 points with 10 first place nods. Florida Southern was a close second with 172 points and six first place votes while Eckerd (143, 1 first place) was third.
Rollins totaled 137 points and the final first place vote in the poll conducted among conference head coaches and sports information directors.
The Tars were 16-11 a year ago and made a first round exit from the SSC Tournament as the No. 4 seed. Rollins needs to replace four starters and more than 60 percent of its offensive output from last year, but expectations are running extremely high in Winter Park. Senior Dave Diakite is the top-returning scorer, putting up 10.2 a game in his first season with the Tars after transferring from UCF. Brett Chance netted nearly seven points a game while Scott Schuette (5.1 ppg), Jeff Dirkin (3.5 ppg) and Chris Uhle (2.2 ppg) are also back for the Tars.
Bolstering Rollins' line-up this season are four Division I transfers. Guard Kyle McClanahan and forward Adam Allen from Florida, Mitch Woods from Appalachian State and Lukas Winegarner from Radford should all make an immediate impact.
Tom Klusman, now in his 33rd year, is set to reach another career milestone with a career record of 590-330. With 10 more victories, he would become just the 15th head coach in Division II history with 600 wins. He ranks fifth in wins among active coaches, just 13 behind University of Tampa coach Richard Schmidt.
Rollins starts the season with a big exhibition contest on Friday, Nov. 2 at Wake Forest. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. from Winston-Salem, N.C. The regular season begins Friday, Nov. 16 at home against Warner University.
Fans can follow the Tars all season long on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com with live video, audio and stats. Locally, Rollins basketball will be carried on 91.5 FM WPRK.
2012-13 SUNSHINE STATE CONFERENCE MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL
Rank - Team, Points (1st Place Votes)
1 - Saint Leo, 180 (10)
2 - Florida Southern, 172 (6)
3 - Eckerd, 143 (1)
4 - Rollins, 137 (1)
5 - Nova Southeastern, 75
6 - Florida Tech, 74
7 - Lynn, 71
8 - Barry, 68
9 - Tampa, 52