September 24, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The Sporting News magazine has ranked the John A. Logan College men’s basketball team No. 14 in the nation this preseason among junior colleges.

The St. Louis-based publication also named Vols’ 6-foot-6 sophomore forward, Ranell Crossland, Preseason Second Team All-American.

The No. 1 team ranking was awarded to defending national champion, Northwest Florida State, which finished 33-2 last season. The only other regional school to get ranked was Vincennes, Ind. (33-2) at No. 5.

Logan (27-7 under now fourth-year head coach Kyle Smithpetes) defeated then top-ranked Vincennes in the district championship game at Rend Lake College to advance to the national tournament for the first time in 20 years and only the second time in school history. Last year also marked the second straight Great Rivers Athletic Conference championship for the Vols.

Smithpeters said the preseason ranking by the Sporting News is undoubtedly a plus for the program.

“It’s one of those things where we’re shocked, but happy,” Smithpeters said. “I think it’s something that we can build off of as a team. To be thought of that highly by a national publication this early in the year is a good thing. We may have a target on our back, but the kids should be amply motivated as there are 13 teams ranked ahead of us. We want to keep the program moving forward and not let this ranking go to our heads.”

Smithpeters said Crossland has worked hard in the off season to elevate his game.

“Ray has done a really good job of improving as a player. He took a backseat to some talented guys last year – guys like Russell Woods, Jordan Martin and Martavian Payne, but this year is his year to shine.  He has already proven to me that he can be a good team leader.”