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Sun Belt Insider Info

Sun Belt Breakdown

Western Kentucky's new PF and SG will impact the Sun Belt right away

By Mike LaPlante

Here are a few things to pay attention to in the Sun Belt as the NCAA basketball season tips off and signing day is around the corner:

Best incoming freshman

SG Derrick Gordon at Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky made it difficult to pick the conference's top incoming freshman considering the outstanding class that the Hilltoppers brought into Bowling Green for the 2011-12 season. George Fant is a homegrown kid who is going to have an outstanding career and should be a crowd favorite from day one, but Gordon gets the slight nod as the Sun Belt's top newcomer. The strong physical shooting guard stood out on a star-studded nationally ranked high school team and had college coaches double-checking their programs as he showed dominant flashes against elite players in head-to-head matchups. He is a high-energy guy who has been well-coached and he loves to compete. He can score the ball, but may have the biggest impact as a freshman defensively because his intensity level is infectious. Western Kentucky got a steal in Gordon and should reap the benefits immediately.

Incoming sleeper

C Michael Javes at Arkansas-Little Rock
ULAR locked the Columbia native up before the cat got out of the bag that the big fella was on the market. Although he is still a little raw offensively, he will be a juggernaut in the paint defensively. He has the size and athleticism of a high-major post and will give the Trojans someone who can compete inside when they play out of conference. As he develops a back-to-the-basket game, look out.

North Texas SF Jordan Williams is another to watch. He spurned offers from higher-profile programs and decided to stay closer to home and play for coach Johnny Jones. Williams is a high-level athlete with an attacking mentality who has already made a big impression on NBA scouts in the preseason as the combo-forward's game has evolved on the perimeter. We expect this kid to have a big year and help the Mean Green compete for a conference championship.

Looking ahead to signing day
FAU has had the most success in the early recruiting period as coach Mike Jarvis has Owls fans excited about signing two high-major prospects in PF Chris Bryant (Tallahassee, Fla./Fishburne Military School) and PG Stefan Moody (Kissimmee, Fla./Poinciana). Arkansas State is looking forward to adding SG Raeford Worsham (Waynesboro, Miss./Wayne Co) while ULAR will sign diminutive PG John Gillon (Houston/Strake Jesuit). Denver is bringing in a couple of talented shooting guards, Nate Engesser (Colorado Springs, Colo./Colorado Springs Christian) and Jalen Love (Wichita, Kan./East), who should bolster their backcourt. Florida International coach Isaiah Thomas went back to his roots in Chicago and grabbed athletic wing Milton Doyle (Chicago/Marshall). Louisiana-Lafayette is taking in-state shooting guard Cleveland Thomas (Baton Rouge, La./Scotlandville Magnet), while Louisiana-Monroe found its potential backcourt of the future in PG Kyle Koszuta (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) and SG Taylor Birchett (Roswell, Ga./Roswell).

Mike LaPlante, a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting, has over 20 years of coaching and recruiting experience.
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Re: Sun Belt Insider Info

He may impact the Sun Belt, but he's not impacting the team's performance thus far (4-6)…

Lost again tonight to IUPUI (2-8) 82-74

Here's their losses so far this year, in what will likely be McDonald's last if this trend keeps up:

St Joes 72-61
Tulsa 65-49
LSU 76-57
VCU 69-64
VCU 68-45
Murry State 70-59

Their wins (TN ST, SELA, BGSU, and SIU) come at a +5.5 average margin of victory.

Not going to cut it for the Fans up on the Hill…….
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