Cumberland Men’s Basketball Season Preview

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Men's Basketball Season Preview
Photo from Cumberland

October 24, 2023 – LEBANON, Tenn.–Cumberland men’s basketball tips off their new season with fresh faces and a new coaching staff this Thursday on the road at Bryan College.

First year head coach Eric Evans takes over the program after the departure of Jeremy Lewis. Evans quickly worked up the coaching ranks joining the staff in 2019 as a volunteer, working the last two seasons as the assistant coach, and now taking over as the head coach starting this season.

Last season, the Phoenix went 14-18 with a 9-13 Mid-South Conference record. The team did well at home going 10-5, but had a tough time on the road finishing 4-13.

Evans returns a few players from last season’s team and has brought in some transfers and a load of freshmen to build the culture he wants.

Key returners include fifth year senior Jaylen Negron and redshirt junior Demarius Boyd. Negron made 13 starts last season averaging 9.4 shooting 41.4% from the field and 31.5% from three.

Boyd looks to be at 100% this season after playing last season coming off an injury. Boyd made six starts and played in 13 games for Cumberland a year ago, but was a Junior College All-American the season before averaging 28 points per game at Walters State.

Demond Franklin is a transfer guard from Delta State. Over the past two seasons for the Statesmen, Franklin has made two starts and played in 31 games shooting 48.8% from the field.

Kemarie Coffey will play a key role for Cumberland this season as a transfer wing from Austin Peay. He is a versatile piece that can guard multiple positions. He brings leadership to this team that has learned being at the Division I level.

Doyle Cockrill III is a freshman from Pearl Cohn High School. He helped lead the Firebirds to the state tournament four years in a row. Cockrill was also an All-State guard his senior year. He averaged 21.3 points per game, 6.8 boards, and 3.6 assists.

Matthew Stokes is a 6-8 forward that will help the Phoenix stretch the floor. Stokes comes to Cumberland after a solid high school career. Stokes won a state title in 2021 with Houston and has made three state tournament appearances.

Raz Armstrong is another freshman that has a chance to make an impact from the start of his career. He is a 6-5 wing that was a state champion at East Nashville High School.

Cumberland had to fill a lot more games on the schedule this season with the conference games being cut to just 12. The Phoenix are making several appearances in classics this season.

They open up with Bryan on Thursday  before heading down to former conference foe Tennessee Southern for a classic. Cumberland will also travel to face tough competition at the Mid-South/Crossroads Challenge to take on Marian and St. Francis as they did last season.

The Phoenix will take part at the NAIA “The Show” tournament hosted in Kingsport, Tennessee. Cumberland will take on powerhouse Arizona Christian for the first time in program history as well as Columbia International.

CU will open up at home on November 28th against Oakwood before getting into their December schedule. They will travel to Southeastern for a classic in mid-December and host Bethel from Indiana at Kids Day on Monday December 18th at 11:00 a.m.

The Mid-South Conference schedule gets going on January 11th at Freed-Hardeman.

Cumberland Basketball will be on the air waves at WANT FM 98.9 and WCOR AM 1490 once conference games start in January.

Source: Cumberland Sports
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