MANHATTAN, N.Y.- With basketball fans itching for news during the final dog days of summer, some good news arrived for the Florida SouthWestern State Men's Basketball team on Friday as the Buccaneers were ranked 4th in Street & Smith's Preseason Juco Report and FSW sophomore guard Keon Ellis was named to the 2020 Preseason Super Soph Second Team.
FSW returns four players to the fold from last year's squad that won 30 games and made their second straight appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament Quarterfinals. Ellis leads the pack, a year after averaging 8.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in 18 minutes per game as a freshman. Ellis waited in the wings behind a pair of Power 5 guards in Charles Manning Jr. and Maddox Daniels, but rose to the occasion when called upon, putting up a 22 point effort against Indian River in the FCSAA State Tournament and 21 against LSU-Eunice earlier in the year. Joining Ellis in the backcourt will be Jalen Finch who started 21 games at the point for FSW a season ago. Finch quietly orchestrated the Bucs' offense as a freshman, coming onto the scene late with three of his top five scoring performances of the season in the postseason. The Bucs also bring back a pair of big men this season in 6'10 Simeon Kirkland and 6'8 De'Lazarus Keys. Kirkland's minutes were limited last season playing behind LSU signee DeShawn Thomas, but he still played in all 33 games for the Bucs, shooting 47% from the field while chipping in 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in 10.1 minutes a night. Keys saw action in 27 contests, scoring in 15 of them.
The Bucs will also bring some talented new faces into the mix this year, led by New Mexico State transfer Berrick JeanLouis who played in 15 games for the 30 win WAC champs last season. Another Division I transfer, Ralph Bissainthe (Illinois-Chicago) will strengthen the Bucs on the wing, while 6'11 Mohamed Sylla and 6'9 forwards Sebastian Guitain and Peyton Williams bolster FSW in the post.
FSW will face another challenging slate in 2019-20 which includes Street & Smith's Preseason #7 team in Eastern Florida State opening weekend as well as #15 Chipola and #17 Snow in the first half of the year. The Bucs open their campaign at home in Suncoast Credit Union Arena on Friday, November 1st when they host Broward in a 7 PM tip.
Defending National Champions Vincennes leads the Preseason Poll while Tallahassee checks in at #2 and John A Logan at #3 ahead of the Bucs. In all, four teams from the Sunshine State find themselves ranked in the top 10 while Chipola made it five in the top 20.
Joining Ellis on the Super Soph Second Team was Brayan Au of Ranger, Terry Durham of Triton, Justin Johnson of South Georgia Tech, and Valdir Manual of Harcum. Ellis was one of five players from the state of Florida named to the Super Sophs teams while a pair of first year players from the Panhandle Conference were recognized on the Fabulous Freshmen list.