Rollins at Auburn-Montgomery | Friday, November 8 – 8:30 p.m.
Rollins vs. Benedict | Saturday, November 9 – 3 p.m.
Montgomery, Alabama | AUM Athletic Complex
Tom Klusman tips off his 40th season at the helm of Rollins men's basketball November 8-9 in Montgomery, Alabama as the Tars face a pair of South Region foes in Auburn-Montgomery and Benedict. The annual tip-off tournament between the Sunshine State Conference, Gulf South Conference and SIAC serves as an early season barometer of offseason progress. The Tars opened the season with the same two opponents last year, beating both at the Florida Tech Tipoff as part of a 5-0 start to the year. After the trip, Rollins returns home for five-straight games in Winter Park leading into the SSC season.
Tracking the Tars:
Rollins was 10-18 a year ago and missed out on a spot in the SSC tournament. Five seniors graduated out of the program and looking to fill those spots are eight returning letterwinners, three transfers and four freshmen. Back are the Tars top-three scorers from a year ago, led by guard Jakobi Bonner. The senior put up 14.6 points a game last year, shooting 53 percent from the field. Four-year starting point guard Connor Mckim put up 13.9 points and 3.4 assists a game while shooting 84 percent from the free throw line. Hutton Yenor made a splash in his redshirt freshman season, posting 13.6 points a night. Returners Trevor Recio (6.6 ppg) and Parker Davis (5.5 ppg) are also going to big factors in the Tars success this season. Newcomers Dayton Gumm (Austin Peay) and Brooks Cluxton (Campbell), along with redshirt freshmen Cade Long and Will Erickson, gave the Tars a noticeable boost in the Tars preseason scrimmages.
Tracking the Warhawks:
AUM from the Gulf South Conference finished 8-20 overall and 4-16 in GSC play a year ago. Leading scorer Carlos Bell returns and will once again look to pace the AUM attack. The senior guard put up 14.4 points a game and made a living at the free throw line, going 106-139 on the year. Fellow backcourt mate Darrion Taylor is also back after scoring 12.7 points a game, behind 69 three-points, last season. Aaron Reddick is another leading returner, averaging 10.9 points and eight rebounds a game. Transfers Jeremiah Bozeman and DJ Jackson were both picked as GSC top-newcomers in the conferences preseason release. AUM was picked to finish 12th in the preseason poll, conducted by the leagues coaches.
Tracking the Tigers:
Benedict went 4-24 last season with a 3-14 mark in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Tigers were picked fifth in the East Division of the SIAC in the league's preseason poll this season. Seniors Romello Jones and DeShawn Graham were the top scorers a year ago, both netting 11.5 a game. Tyrease Mapp scored 10.8 a game last year and led the team with six rebounds a night. Benedict will meet Florida Tech to open the event on Friday afternoon before meeting the Tars on Saturday.
- Rollins is 2-0 all-time against Benedict, including a 72-60 win a year ago.
- Rollins is 1-0 all-time against AUM after an 86-76 win last season.
- Rollins 39-38 in season openers in its modern era (since 1950).
- Tom Klusman is 27-12 in season openers
- In the last 10 years, the Tars are 6-3 in season lid-lifters.
- Rollins was picked seventh in the Sunshine State Conference preseason poll.
- Connor Mckim ranks 37th all-time in program scoring with 1058 points.
- Connor Mckim ranks 10th in program history with 329 assists.
- Connor Mckim's career .824 percentage from the free throw line is 10th best in Tars history.
- Tom Klusman has the 12th most victories (703) of active college coaches, all divisions.
- Tom Klusman ranks third among active Division II coaches in total wins and ninth all-time.
Rollins returns home for a pair to start its home slate, hosting Warner on Wednesday, November 13 at 7 p.m. and then welcoming Lake Erie on Friday, November 15 at 7 p.m. The Tars Fans can follow the Tars all season long on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com and locally on 91.5 FM WPRK.