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Southland releases preseason basketball honors and rankings

Lamar men picked 5th, women 8th

FRISCO, Texas — Lamar University junior guard Davion Buster has been named 2020 Preseason Second Team All-Southland Conference announced league officials Wednesday morning. In addition to the release of the preseason all-conference teams, the Cardinals have also been picked fifth in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches and media relations directors.

“We knew Davion was a special player when we recruited him and he’s proven that during his time at Lamar,” said head coach Tic Price. “People have to be aware of where he is on the court at all times. He is more of a rhythm player and is very tough to stop once he gets it going. The league has recognized the value that he brings to the program.”

Buster returns as the Cardinals’ top returning scorer. The Austin, Texas native ended his sophomore season ranked 13th in the league averaging 14.6 points per game. One of the league’s top sharp shooters, Buster finished the season sixth in the league in three-point field goal percentage (95-of-251/.378) and second in the Southland in three-pointers made per game (3.3). He also averaged 2.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

Buster etched his name in the school and Southland record books last season against rival McNeese. Buster struck for a 11 three-pointers to tie a conference record and became the third player in program history to hit 11 threes in a game. Buster finished the game with 39 points, despite sitting out part of the game with an ankle injury.

In just two short seasons, Buster has already knocked down 130 three-pointers, just 10 shy of moving onto the school’s all-time top 10 list. That number is made even more impressive by the fact that Buster played in just 19 games during his rookie season.

The Cardinals are picked fifth in the poll behind preseason favorite Stephen F. Austin. Big Red received three-first place votes (199 points) and is one of five schools to receive first-place votes. The Cardinals finished just 10 points back of fourth place Nicholls, and 17 back of third-place Sam Houston State. Abilene Christian (three first place votes) was picked second with 254 points.

“We don’t put much stock in preseason polls,” said Price. “The polls are for the media and the fans. We put more stock into how we finish. The goal each year is to finish No. 1. I think that is something that our team can look at and use as motivation to prove to the rest of the league that we’re better than a fifth-place team.”

The Cardinals enter the 2020-21 season with eight returning letterwinners and three starters from last season. In addition to Buster, senior Avery Sullivan is also coming off a career year for the Red and White. The Pflugerville native posted career highs in every statistical category last season while turning himself into one of the league’s top double-double men. The Cardinals closed out the 2019-20 season having won five of their final seven games, including a 21-point blowout in the opening round of the Southland tournament against rival McNeese.

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With the season on the horizon, Lamar University senior guard Jadyn Pimentel and junior guard Angel Hastings have been named to the Southland Conference Coaches' Preseason All-SLC Second Team.

A 5-foot-6 product of Wagner High School in San Antonio, Texas, Hastings returns as the leading scorer for the Cards in 2020-21 as she produced 12.4 points per game and assisted 41 times throughout the previous year, while bringing down in 2.3 rebounds per game during the previous season. She ranked No. 14 in the Southland in scoring, No. 10 in free throw percentage and No. 10 in three-point field goal percentage a year ago.

A 5-foot-3 guard from St. Louis, Mo., Pimentel was named to the 2019-20 Southland All-Defensive Team after posting a 3.3 steals per game average and stayed in the NCAA Top Ten in steals, where she finished with 93. Pimentel finished third on the team in scoring in 2019-20 where she averaged 8.4 points per game. She ranked No. 1 in the Southland in steals, No. 5 in assists and No. 8 in assist/turnover ratio for 2019-20.

The Preseason All-SLC First Team is comprised of Aiyana Johnson and Stephanie Visscher of Stephen F. Austin, Amber Leggett and Faith Cook of Sam Houston State and Anna MacLeod of Abilene Christian.

Hastings and Pimentel are joined on the second team by Makayla Mabry of Abilene Christian, Morgan Carrier of Southeastern Louisiana and Zya Nugent of Stephen F. Austin.
Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own team or players.

Lamar was predicted to finish in eighth in the Southland Conference in a vote of the league's coaches and sports information directors. Stephen F. Austin received 14 first-place votes and were picked to win the 2020-21 Southland Conference Championship followed by Sam Houston State, Abilene Christian, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Southeastern Louisiana in the top five.

The Cardinals were 10-19 overall and 6-14 in SLC play a year ago, finishing in tenth place in the league standings. LU enters the 2020-21 season under the direction of second-year head coach Aqua Franklin and returning two starters and seven returning total letterwinners who saw action last year.