Is the preseason a good predictor of the season?

Probably not. Southern has 10 players who have yet to play for it and its pre-conference schedule features road games against Ole Miss, Middle Tennessee State, Minnesota, Iowa State, Wyoming, Baylor and Hawaii. So there will be a lot of meshing and maturing taking place before Southwestern Athletic Conference play begins. The won-lost record won’t be nearly as important as the players getting comfrotable with their roles, one another and Banks’ expectations.

With so much uncertainty, why was SU picked No. 2?

Good question. Coach Roman Banks says his program’s track record of success and exceeding expectations has a lot to do with it and he’s probably right. “There’s a lot of respect for what our program has been able to accomplish,” he said. “I think they probably voted (that way) because they think well be competitive every night.” Still, Banks called the prognostication “a real generous pick.”

Is there going to be an adequate inside presence?

It’s too early to tell. Frank Snow is the only big man who played last season and he was expected to be a role player, but others such as Keith Davis, Thomas Pierre-Louis, Jared Sam, Joell Hopkins and Elex Carter will have opportunities to show they can upgrade the inside game. “We need some guys to step up to go beyond expectations,” Banks said.

If no big men emerge, can this be a successful season?

Perhaps. This team will be built around the perimeter players – Trelun Banks, SWAC Freshman of the Year last season, Christopher Hyder, who missed most of last season because of a blood clot, Tre Lynch, Cameron Monroe and Mike Harrell. The Jaguars will have more of a wide-open attack than coach Banks would prefer because that’s what the talent dictates. That’s OK with the younger Banks. “This team should really be fun to watch,” he said.

Who is most likely to be a prominent scorer?

Trelun Banks will be a central figure on offense, but he already was that even as a freshman. Lynch’s role as a scorer might increase the most as the Jaguars try to replace Malcolm Miller’s perimeter skills. “He likes to go inside a little more,” coach Banks said of Lynch, “but I like him to shoot the ball so that’s what we’re working on, maybe transforming into that Malcolm Miller role for us.”

-- Les East