LMU men’s basketball 2019-20 season outlook: combo guards

Published 12:33 pm Friday, October 18, 2019

By LMU Athletics

HARROGATE, Tenn. — In basketball, a team’s offensive execution begins with its point guard while shooting guards provide much of the scoring. Both positions are pivotal to a team’s offensive success and the Lincoln Memorial University men’s basketball team appears to be in good hands heading into its 2019-20 season with the Railsplitters’ combo guards, who are able to toggle between both the point guard and shooting guard position as needed.

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LMU returns three letter-winning combo guards and welcomes four newcomers who display the attributes of both a point guard and shooting guard. Returning leading scorer senior Anthony Brown, sophomore Julius Brown and redshirt senior Myles Smith are all back for the Railsplitters in 2019-20, while LMU has brought in freshmen Jeremiah Keene (Westerville, Ohio), Mekell Burries (Newport, Ky.), Luke Hedrick (Hershey, Pa.) and Chase Rankin (Columbus, Ohio).

“Anthony (Brown) came in and I thought made a terrific impact for us last year,” commented head coach Josh Schertz. “Coming in from junior college is never easy and he came in and averaged almost 12 points. Anthony is a guy that stuffs the stat sheet, he led us in assists with 99, averaged over five rebounds a game and was named all-conference honorable mention.”

Leading the team in assists a season ago (3.5 APG), Anthony Brown ranked third in the South Atlantic Conference in field goal percentage (.589) of those who met the NCAA minimums. He shot over 40 percent from three-point land (12-of-29), made the most baskets of any Railsplitter returner (123) and was a .800 free-throw shooter (73-of-87).

“He’s a guy that has the engine needed to get this thing running and he’s got a lot of guys around him,” continued coach Schertz. “Finding that balance of being aggressive to score, because he can certainly put the ball in the basket, and also creating offense, being a facilitator and distributor, finding that equilibrium in those two things is going to be important for us.”

Julius Brown averaged 8.3 points as a true freshman in 2018-19, making four starts and seeing the court for action in 28 games. The Columbus, Ohio, native also dished out 53 assists (1.9 APG) and led the team in free-throw percentage (.903).

“Julius Brown played a lot last year as a true freshman and I think arguably is as good a defender as there is in the league,” Schertz spoke. “He’s a guy that plays very hard and when he comes into the game, his tenacity fuels our energy. He does an unbelievable job guarding multiple positions, and he’s a guy that we really feed off of.”

Smith, one of four seniors, looks to help provide leadership for LMU this season while Keene, who was high school teammates with Julius Brown at Westerville North, aims to make an impact in his inaugural collegiate year as one of five freshman.

“Jeremiah Keene is a true freshman that has come in and really been impressive over the last couple of months,” Schertz said. “He plays with a poise and maturity that is well beyond his years. You wouldn’t know that he’s only 18 years old because of his demeanor, and he really is a jack of all trades. He’s a very intuitive and decisive player, we think he will play a significant role for us here in the 2019-20 season.”

Already gaining national attention in the preseason, the Railsplitters are a top-10 pick by both Street & Smith’s and Division II Bulletin. LMU returns nearly 75 percent of its scoring from last season, over 72 percent of its rebounding and nearly 76 percent of its assists.

Season-Opening Tip-Off

The Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in St. Joseph, Mo. will open up the Railsplitters’ 2019-20 campaign Nov. 1-2. LMU will face the Buffs of West Texas A&M Friday, Nov. 1 at 4:15 p.m. ET, before taking on Davenport University Saturday, Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. ET.