Liberty has been picked as the preseason favorite in the ASUN in both the coaches and media preseason polls, as released by the conference Wednesday. Darius McGhee was unanimously selected as the conference’s Preseason Player of the Year.

Ritchie McKay’s Flames are coming off a 23-6 season and 11-2 mark in conference play that saw Liberty earn a 13-seed in the NCAA Tournament before losing to No. 4 seed Oklahoma State in the first round. The Flames won the ASUN regular season title and the ASUN Tournament title for a third consecutive season.

The reigning ASUN Player of the Year, McGhee will be looking to become the first ever two-time conference player of the year performer in school history. Last season, he led the Flames in scoring at 15.5 points per game while shooting 45.2% from the field and 40.8% from three. McGhee made 95 three pointers during the season, the fourth most for made three-pointers in a single season. He has made 224 three-pointers during his career, as he is tied for 3rd most in school history with Larry Jackson for career three-pointers made, trailing only Larry Blair and Ryan Kemrite. Kemrite’s career record of 258 made three-pointers will likely be broken by McGhee before Christmas this season.

The Flames are the heavy favorite to repeat for what would be an ASUN record fourth straight time in a new look conference which will feature the additions of three teams in Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, and Central Arkansas. Liberty returns three starters in McGhee and forwards Kyle Rode and Blake Preston.

FGCU’s Kevin Samuel was named the ASUN’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and was also named to the ASUN preseason all-conference team alongside McGhee. Lipscomb’s Ahsan Asadullah joins McGhee as the only unanimous selection to the all-conference team. THey were joined by Bellarmine’s Dylan Penn, Eastern Kentucky’s Braxton Beverly and Jomaru Brown, Jacksonville’s Kevion Nolan, Jacksonville State’s Darian Adams, North Florida’s Carter Hendricksen, and Stetson’s Rob Perry.

The full preseason coaches and media ASUN polls are listed below.

The Flames will open the season at home against Regent University, a member of the NCCAA, on Nov. 11, before heading to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to take on LSU on Nov. 15 in a game that will be televised on ESPNU.

Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll
(1st place votes) Total Points

  1. Liberty (9) 141
  2. Eastern Kentucky (1) 126
  3. Jacksonville State 103
  4. Bellarmine (1) 97
  5. Lipscomb 89
  6. FGCU 88
  7. North Florida (1) 82
  8. Stetson 67
  9. North Alabama 49
  10. Jacksonville 40
  11. Kennesaw State 37
  12. Central Arkansas 17

Preseason Men’s Basketball Media Poll
(1st place votes) Total Points

  1. Liberty (30) 376
  2. Eastern Kentucky (2) 288
  3. Bellarmine 284
  4. Lipscomb 284
  5. Jacksonville State 240
  6. North Florida 230
  7. FGCU 200
  8. Stetson 176
  9. North Alabama 174
  10. Jacksonville 94
  11. Central Arkansas 80
  12. Kennesaw State 70