HARROGATE, Tenn. - The Lincoln Memorial men's basketball team has been slotted at No. 4 in the Division II Bulletin preseason poll while redshirt-junior guard Cornelius Taylor was tabbed as a Super 16 Selection, it was announced with the publication of Division II Bulletin's 2018-19 season preview issue. It marks the second preseason recognition for both the Railsplitters and Taylor. Lincoln Memorial was also positioned at No. 4 in the Street & Smith's preseason rankings, while Taylor was fingered as a preseason All-American. LMU went 32-2 and a perfect 20-0 in South Atlantic Conference play last season, notching the program's fourth consecutive 30-win season and sixth straight SAC regular-season title. For the third time in four seasons, the Railsplitters finished the year ranked No. 1 in the national poll and hosted the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional at Tex Turner Arena. Lincoln Memorial has arguably been the most successful Division II men's basketball program over the past four seasons, combining for a 126-14 record with back-to-back trips to the national semifinals on its resume, including a run to the national championship in 2016. However, the Railsplitters are in a unique position heading into the 2018-19 campaign, as six of the top-eight scorers off last season's team are gone, including leading scorer Trevon Shaw, National Player of the Year Emanuel Terry and multiple-time All-SAC selection Dorian Pinson. All told, LMU returns just seven letterwinners this season, while 14 players have never appeared in a game for the Railsplitters. Taylor, a 6-0 point guard out of Claxton, Ga., is the lone returning starter from last season's team, and he garners his second preseason All-American accolade after contributing 14.5 points, 3.9 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 38 percent from three. For his efforts, Taylor earned a spot on the All-SAC second team. The speedster scored double digits in 26 of his 33 appearances and surpassed the 20-point threshold six times. He enters the upcoming season with 861 career points, 222 career assists and 137 made three-pointers. Aside from Taylor, Kamaran Calhoun, Alex Dahling, Rhondi Hackett, Steven Perriere and TJ Harvin are the only returners that made at least 20 appearances last season. Of that group, Calhoun is the only one that contributed more than five points per game with 6.0. The Division II Bulletin also laid out its conference predictions, pegging Lincoln Memorial to win its seventh straight SAC title. Queens, who is ranked 11th in the national preseason poll, was picked second, while Carson-Newman was picked third. The Railsplitters begin their season with an exhibition at Auburn on November 2. The season officially commences with a rematch of last season's Southeast Regional semifinals showdown against Clayton State on November 9 in Aiken, S.C.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught