Wonder Boys picked third in GAC Eastern | Sports

For the first time since Mark Downey last patrolled the sidelines in Tucker Coliseum, the Arkansas Tech University men’s basketball team will play its conference schedule in a divisional format as the Great American Conference has temporarily-formed divisions for the 2020-21 season.

Competing this coming year in the GAC Eastern Division, the Wonder Boys have been picked to finish in a tie for third with Arkansas-Monticello according to the preseason poll announced by the league office on Tuesday.

Ahead of the Wonder Boys and Boll Weevils in the Eastern Division preseason poll are Southern Arkansas and Henderson State. SAU is picked to win the division and received four of the six first-place votes. HSU garnered the remaining two first-place votes.

Come early January, a new(ish) era of Wonder Boys basketball will get underway as Downey returns to the sidelines following a 10-year absence from his first stint in Russellville. That initial stint was capped off in 2009-10 in a remarkable way as Downey led the Wonder Boys to a 30-2 overall record and a No. 1 national ranking during the year (held top-ranking for seven weeks).

In his return to Tucker, Downey will have the return services of five letter winners from a year ago. Highlighted among the returners are Ke’Lyn Adams and Tony Hall. Adams was a key reserve in 2019-20 as he averaged 4.6 ppg in 27 games played (three starts). Playing in all 28 games, Hall started 18 contests and averaged 4.0 ppg. He also ranked second on the team in three-pointers made with 43.

Needing to replace the three top scorers averaging double figures, Downey and his staff will lean on the addition of a bevy of talented newcomers. In all, 12 players will suit up for the first time as Wonder Boys once the season tips off.

Among those newcomers, eight are transfers with three holding DI experience. New to the mix from the DI ranks are Kimani Binder (Orlando, Fla.), DeShawn Davidson (Waukegan, Ill.) and Kobe Wilson (Palestine, Texas). Kevin Howard (Beaumont, Texas) and BJ Johnson (El Dorado, Ark.) are also new to Tech from four-year schools as Howard is transferring from LSU-Shreveport (NAIA) and Johnson from Northeastern State (NCAA DII).

Binder was on the roster last season at Portland State but did not play due to injury. Prior to that, he was a two-year all-conference player at Indian River State College. In his final year at Indian River, Binder ranked 11th in NJCAA DI in scoring average as he averaged 22.3 ppg.

Davidson is a Texas State transfer where he appeared in 15 games and made 10 starts last season. Prior to that, Davison played two years at Des Moines Area Community College. A starter his final year at DMACC, Davidson averaged 17.9 ppg.

Wilson comes to Tech after spending two years at Arkansas State. In his two years, Wilson played in 40 games for the Red Wolves and averaged 2.0 ppg off the bench.

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