Anticipation is slowly building in Homewood, as Samford basketball, both men’s and women’s, begins in less than a week. Both Bulldog squads are primed for fantastic seasons, and each team has been justifiably lauded in SoCon preseason awards and rankings.
On the men’s side, four players were named Preseason All-SoCon: Ques Glover, Bubba Parham, Jermaine Marshall and Logan Dye. Glover enters the season looking to continue his dominance for the Bulldogs. The star point guard was named All-SoCon First Team last season and was a finalist for the Lou Henson Award, which honors the top mid-major player in college basketball. A transfer from Georgia Tech, this will be Parham’s first season with Samford. However, the combo guard is no stranger to the SoCon, as he starred at VMI and led the SoCon in scoring for the 2018-19 season. Marshall and Dye are looking to continue their success with Samford as well, as they have proven to be double-double machines and look to solidify a Samford core to contend for a SoCon championship.
In a coaches poll, Samford was picked to finish second in the conference behind Furman, the team that ended Samford’s season last year. However, head coach Bucky McMillan believes preseason rankings do not equate to success during the season.
“Rankings at this time of the year are irrelevant,” said McMillan. “Last year, we were picked towards the very bottom of the league, and we were fighting at the very top for a championship when it was all said and done.”
For the Lady Bulldogs, the same standard of success has been set for a team that was picked to finish third in the SoCon. Individually, star players Andrea Cournoyer and Sussy Ngulefac were named Preseason All-SoCon. Last season, Cournoyer led the Bulldogs in scoring, while Ngulefac was named SoCon Freshman of the Year for her 2021-22 campaign.
While preseason awards show Samford’s prowess on the men’s and women’s side, both McMillan and Carley Kuhns, the women’s head coach, know that all that matters is how Samford plays leading up to March. Furthermore, while each player awarded Preseason All-SoCon will likely have a significant impact on Samford’s success, it will take unheralded players like Jaden Campbell, Cooper Kaifes, Sanaa Redmond and Cydney Rivera to help push the Bulldogs to the postseason. For the men, the Bulldogs are looking for their first March Madness appearance since 2000, while the women are looking for their first postseason appearance since 2012. The Lady Bulldogs did clinch a March Madness bid in the 2020 season, but the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both teams will open play on Nov. 7 at the Pete Hanna Center. The women will face Troy, while the men will play Anderson University.