With a young team, ups and downs are to be expected. That, in a nutshell, is what the Freed-Hardeman Lions experienced during the 2011-12 season.
The ups included four wins over NCAA Division II programs, a road win over No. 6 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) College, two wins over nationally-ranked Tougaloo (Miss.) College and two road wins over rival Union (Tenn.) University.
The downs of the season could be summed up in two words: home performance. FHU went 12-3 on the road but 8-7 at home. Five of those seven home losses were in conference play.
The good news is that only one regular player from last year’s team is gone, leaving plenty of experience returning to the floor. The bad news is that the departing player, Anthony Sampson, led the NAIA in assists last season with 8.5 per game.
But the Lions should have plenty of depth at point guard to pick up the load. Senior Michael Young and sophomore Debrell McLemore both return and, along with highly-touted freshman Damion Wooten, they will give Freed-Hardeman a solid trio to run the offense.
The offense should again revolve around two-time NAIA All-American and last year’s TranSouth Conference Co-Player of the Year, Kyle Teichmann. The senior averaged 21.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season. Classmate Jonathan Milewski gives FHU an outside threat to compliment Teichmann. Milewski was second on the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game on the strength of 84 three-pointers. Both have been named Pre-Season All-Conference selections.
The team’s greatest depth is at wing where Chandler Mack, Daniel Gravatt, Verkeneo Mann, Orlando Bass and Mark Brown give Head Coach Jason Shelton plenty of options and combinations. Mack was the conference freshman of the year after averaging 10.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
In the post, FHU also returns Reginald Gilmore and Vincent Dotson. Gilmore, a junior, showed growth last season while averaging 6.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Dotson played limited minutes but is a defensive presence who is developing a stronger offensive repertoire. The Lions are ranked number 12 in NAIA Pre-Season polls.