Lindy’s Sports, one of the leading college print publications, has released its annual college basketball preseason magazine. The magazine gave Liberty and returning ASUN Player of the Year a lot of love.
McGhee was ranked as the 38th best player in the country according to the magazine which also put him on the all under-six foot team. The rest of that team is comprised of UCLA’s Tyger Campbell, Virginia’s Kihei Clark, Richmond’s Jacob Gilyard, and Arkansas’ Chris Lykes.
McGhee was also picked to repeat as the ASUN Player of the Year by Lindy’s, and also named the best playmaker in the ASUN. The first-team all-conference pick is McGhee, Stetson’s Rob Perry, Bellarmine’s Dylan Penn, North Florida’s Carter Hendricksen, and Lipscomb’s Ahsan Asadullah. The second team is comprised of North Alabama’s Jamari Blackmon, North Florida’s Jose Placer, Jacksonville State’s Darian Admas, Kennesaw State’s Spencer Rodgers, and North Florida’s Jonathan Aybar.
Liberty is picked by the publication to win the ASUN once again and return to the NCAA Tournament. In the new look ASUN, with the additions of Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, and Central Arkansas, the conference is moving to an East and West Division. Lindy’s picked Liberty to finish atop the East Division followed by North Florida, Stetson, Florida Gulf Coast, Kennesaw State, and Jacksonville.
The magazine predicts Lipscomb to finish in first place in the West Division. The Bisons are followed by Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Bellarmine, North Alabama, and Central Arkansas.
“The Flames could, should and would be looking at a fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance with ASUN Player of the Year Darius McGhee returning,” the publication stated. “The ongoing pandemic was unkind when its 30-4 team two seasons ago was left wondering what could have been after the tournament was cancelled. McGhee and Liberty just missed the Sweet 16 when he was a freshman, and last season they lost to Oklahoma State, 69-60, in the first round. It might be that magical Lynchburg water, but it is more likely the steady hand of Coach Ritchie McKay who has built the program into a model of stability. Key players rarely transfer and most are redshirted as freshmen to give them years of experience in the program.”
“McGhee is one of three returning starters,” the magazine continued. “Blake Preston is solid up front. McKay again has a solid class of newcomers highlighted by Bryson Spell, who originally committed to Cincinnati and led his high school team in Virginia to a state title.”
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 Flames will be the heavy favorite to repeat for what would be an ASUN record fourth straight time.
Lindy’s also spotlights Kyle Rode as one to keep an eye on. “Kyle Rode took strides as a sophomore last season and has the potential to be a breakout star now.”
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.