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Stephen F. Austin Basketball

Leon Gilmore III's possible return, other notes from SFA basketball

October 5, 2017
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Just four days ago, The Sawmill reported that Stephen F. Austin senior forward Leon Gilmore III was no longer a part of the basketball program in Nacogdoches. Although head coach Kyle Keller has not publicly addressed the status of his premiere front-court defender, Gilmore's absence may be short lived.

A source with first-hand knowledge of the situation reached out late on Wednesday evening to suggest that the earlier comments from Saturday (indicating that the former Creighton transfer's departure was permanent) may have been premature. Thursday afternoon, sporting a new clean-cut look but not dressed in team gear, Gilmore participated in practice at William R. Johnson Coliseum with teammates for the first time in the 2017-18 preseason.

If he is in fact reinstated, it would be welcomed news for a program who opened the practice season with just eight healthy scholarship players (more on this later).

The details surrounding Gilmore's departure and potential return to the program remain unclear and may never be fully explained, but he was a big part of SFA's runner-up finish in the Southland Conference a year ago and could certainly help the team in its pursuit of a fifth league title in six years.

As the Lumberjacks prepare to begin a new season, here are some other notes from a spirited first week of practice:

TJ Holyfield looks like a man possessed -

The younger brother of former Sam Houston State center and Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year Michael Holyfield is a bonafide contender to be the league's top player in 2017-18. The younger Holyfield, junior forward TJ, was SFA's leading scorer a year ago and an integral part of the Lumberjacks' upset of West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament during his freshman year. The improvement since then continues to be notable.

"What do you think of him today?" asked Keller with his trademark wry smile, beaming like a proud father as TJ flushed an emphatic jam during Thursday's practice.

Holyfield spent part of the summer in China on a mission trip with SFA's chapter of Athletes in Action, but even with the time off, the lean 6-foot-8 forward has arrived ready to play and potentially carry this team to new heights. He was the best player on the floor during practices this week and there's a good chance he'll continue to be that through numerous games in the 2017-18 season.

Injuries continue to hamper progress -


After a few exceptionally healthy seasons for SFA, the injuries became a bit of a concern last year. Unfortunately, the Lumberjacks are not off to a great start in that department this time around either. Notably, sophomore point guard John Comeaux had arthroscopic surgery on his knee late last week that will likely sideline him for the better part of the next month. He joins sophomore Nathan Bain, junior Shannon Bogues and senior Ty Charles who are each experiencing a variety of ailments as the Lumberjacks inch toward their November 11th tip-off with the Longwood Lancers.

The timeline for Bain's return is still promising and there's a good chance he will not miss a game. Charles, who continues to rehab from offseason shoulder surgery, won't be as fortunate. The Lumberjacks' "heart and soul," as Keller calls him affectionately, will be eying the beginning of league play to make his season debut. SFA coaches are hopeful that Bogues will not miss extended time as he deals with muscle cramping. Sophomore Kevon Harris was also absent on Thursday as he attended to a dental situation, but he is expected to join his teammates when they resume practice next week.

It's early, but the "most improved" title might go to Aaron Augustin -


Stephen F. Austin's only notable loss from last season's team is senior guard Dallas Cameron, a solid contributor who played mostly out of position at point guard during his senior year. Between freshman Cameron Mack, an absolute natural at the position, transfer Comeaux (when he returns) and Aaron Augustin, who has taken leaps and bounds in his development this offseason, point guard could go from a major weakness on this team to one of their strengths in less than a year.

Augustin was essentially the leader of the pack during summer drills with so many players absent and he appears to have taken advantage of the extra attention. His natural speed that often failed to show last year amidst youthful indecision looks freshly calibrated and, well, fast.

Whether or not his shot has improved at all really is still to be seen, but as former point guard Trey Pinkney proved during SFA's run of dominance in the Southland Conference between 2012 and 2016, sometimes that really just doesn't matter from a floor general.

Either way, despite what some people thought of Augustin after his freshman year, the young trio of point guards in Nacogdoches should be a lot of fun to watch this season. Mid-Major Madness may disagree, but SFA is widely expected to be among the favorites (again) in the Southland Conference in 2017-18 and, if health can be sustained, they could potentially be in store for more than just that.

Leon Gilmore III's possible return, other notes from SFA basketball

edstile
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Well, I suppose two steps forward and one step back is better than one step forward and two steps back like last year. Fingers crossed that Leon has his act together. If so, another SLC crown is definitely within our grasp. Also hope that Comeaux is a fast healer.
nacluth
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I don't like that Ty is trying out Jalen West's track through school, but I am pumped about everything else that you said. I thought last year TJ had the skills to be the man for SFA, but it just seemed like picking up Walkup's role was too much (rightfully so) for him to handle as a sophomore. I'm looking for solid beast mode from him this year. Depth at point can only be a good thing. Indecision last year ate our lunch. If our roleplayers can be true shooters, then I will just buy my first round tickets.
Ryan
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tangerito
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I think Leon can be an asset to this team. He shut down Lamar's Weisbrod last year and at times can score. I hope it works out for Leon and the team. On a side note, I kind of like being an underdog in the eyes of the National Press. i don't think they have any idea how good this team may be! Axe Em
Gazette1
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Isaac, are you still in Nac? If you come to practice today, I have something from the Sentinel to show you that the Sentinel printed in an editorial. My little disagreement with her obviously provoked her response. If you are leaving town before practice, pick yourself up a copy and look on the opinion page.
INiedrauer
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Gazette1 said:

Isaac, are you still in Nac? If you come to practice today, I have something from the Sentinel to show you that the Sentinel printed in an editorial. My little disagreement with her obviously provoked her response. If you are leaving town before practice, pick yourself up a copy and look on the opinion page.
Actually don't think they're practicing today. I'll definitely pick up a paper though!
-
Isaac Niedrauer
@INiedrauer


TallTexan
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nacluth said:

I don't like that Ty is trying out Jalen West's track through school, but I am pumped about everything else that you said. I thought last year TJ had the skills to be the man for SFA, but it just seemed like picking up Walkup's role was too much (rightfully so) for him to handle as a sophomore. I'm looking for solid beast mode from him this year. Depth at point can only be a good thing. Indecision last year ate our lunch. If our roleplayers can be true shooters, then I will just buy my first round tickets.
10th year of eligibility Ty is going to be the best Ty.
No-look
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So tell us that Leon is back on the team and we will be fine. Lol
Gazette1
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I hear you No-look. I'm anxious to hear more about Leon myself.
INiedrauer
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Gilmore is back but not officially back but he's back. Is that cryptic enough?
-
Isaac Niedrauer
@INiedrauer


Gazette1
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Hardly. Does that mean the university has to approve his return? No pressure or anything.
SFAXE93
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Now, we are on another level, basketball season can't get here fast enough.
INiedrauer
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I'm going to go ahead and remove any non-basketball comments on here. Please keep it civil, folks. We have PMs to settle stuff like this.
-
Isaac Niedrauer
@INiedrauer


Gazette1
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I agree Isaac. I wonder if men's basketball practices today.
INiedrauer
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They're off today. Not sure if back Monday or Tuesday.
-
Isaac Niedrauer
@INiedrauer


tangerito
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Leon Pic is back on the Roster page.
edstile
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tangerito said:

Leon Pic is back on the Roster page.
Excellent!!
No-look
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tangerito said:

Leon Pic is back on the Roster page.
. Awesome!!!
Gazette1
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Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
PurpleOut
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Looks like he has deleted his Twitter account, which I think is a good idea for a lot of kids.

Moving on!
edstile
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PurpleOut said:

Looks like he has deleted his Twitter account, which I think is a good idea for a lot of kids.

Moving on!
I agree 100%. Now, let's move on to talking about real roundball stuff.
Gazette1
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Holyfield is picked by the Southland preseason first team all conference. He's the only Jack picked on first or second team.
The football team doesn't come out for the anthem but the basketball team does. Hmm? We have several foreign players though. No further comment on that issue. I'm neutral.



No-look
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Gazette1 said:

Holyfield is picked by the Southland preseason first team all conference. He's the only Jack picked on first or second team.
The football team doesn't come out for the anthem but the basketball team does. Hmm? We have several foreign players though. No further comment on that issue. I'm neutral.




Holyfield should be a beast. I'm so ready for some bb. By the way, nice edit on the post. Lol.
SFAXE93
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SFAXE93
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Re: 2017-2018 Men's Basketball Thread
Quote:

LOADED!

2017-18 Lumberjacks

C: #32 Jovan Grujic 7-0; 230 (Jr.)
C: #12 Stefon Fisher 6-9; 235 (Fr.) *** #9 Center (FL)
F: #22 T.J. Holyfield 6-8; 220 (Jr.) All-SLC (2nd Team) 1st Team Pre-season
F: #3 Leon Gilmore III 6-7; 215 (Sr.) *** #9 State (TX) #134 Nation
F: #24 Samuli Nieminen 6-7; 215 (So.)
F: #23 Nathan Bain 6-6; 200 (So.) ***
F: #1 Kevon Harris 6-6; 225 (So.)
G: #4 Ty Charles 6-5; 210 (Sr.) *** #33 State (TX)
G: #20 Harrison Perkins 6-4; 200 (Fr.)
G: #11 Ivan Canete 6-4; 190 (Sr.)
G: #2 Cameron Mack 6-3; 165 (Fr.) *** #29 PG; #2 State (TX)
G: #5 Shannon Bogues 6-2; 185 (Jr.) JUCO All-American *** #27 Nation; #10 State
G: #10 John Comeaux 5-11; 185 (So.)
G: #0 Aaron Augustin 5-11; 185 (So.) *** #37 G; #14 State (GA)
No-look
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SFAXE93 said:

Re: 2017-2018 Men's Basketball Thread
Quote:

LOADED!

2017-18 Lumberjacks

C: #32 Jovan Grujic 7-0; 230 (Jr.)
C: #12 Stefon Fisher 6-9; 235 (Fr.) *** #9 Center (FL)
F: #22 T.J. Holyfield 6-8; 220 (Jr.) All-SLC (2nd Team) 1st Team Pre-season
F: #3 Leon Gilmore III 6-7; 215 (Sr.) *** #9 State (TX) #134 Nation
F: #24 Samuli Nieminen 6-7; 215 (So.)
F: #23 Nathan Bain 6-6; 200 (So.) ***
F: #1 Kevon Harris 6-6; 225 (So.)
G: #4 Ty Charles 6-5; 210 (Sr.) *** #33 State (TX)
G: #20 Harrison Perkins 6-4; 200 (Fr.)
G: #11 Ivan Canete 6-4; 190 (Sr.)
G: #2 Cameron Mack 6-3; 165 (Fr.) *** #29 PG; #2 State (TX)
G: #5 Shannon Bogues 6-2; 185 (Jr.) JUCO All-American *** #27 Nation; #10 State
G: #10 John Comeaux 5-11; 185 (So.)
G: #0 Aaron Augustin 5-11; 185 (So.) *** #37 G; #14 State (GA)

Should be a very good year. If the guard play is good we will be hard to beat.
Gazette1
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edstile
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SFAXE93 said:

Re: 2017-2018 Men's Basketball Thread
Quote:

LOADED!

2017-18 Lumberjacks


Yeah, we're loaded, but only if we can ever get all of the ammo healthy and into the dadgum pistol at the same time.
Gazette1
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No-look
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Gazette1 said:

Attended practice today. Bogues has returned to practice. Ty is doing no contact practice and shooting only with his left hand. He says that they will start letting him shoot with his right hand in two weeks. He's really out of shape. Comeaux says he will return at the end of October. I didn't talk to Bain but Holyfield seems to think that Bain will be back late November. Ty should be back about that time. Samuli's foot still bothers him some so they have to be careful with him also. There is a lot of ifs right now.
Thanks for the update. Glad Bogues is back Maybe we can get everyone well. How does Fisher and Mack look?
Txjack
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Gazette1 said:

Attended practice today. Bogues has returned to practice. Ty is doing no contact practice and shooting only with his left hand. He says that they will start letting him shoot with his right hand in two weeks. He's really out of shape. Comeaux says he will return at the end of October. I didn't talk to Bain but Holyfield seems to think that Bain will be back late November. Ty should be back about that time. Samuli's foot still bothers him some so they have to be careful with him also. There is a lot of ifs right now.
Not exactly what I wanted to hear but any BB news is appreciated...just curious, by saying Ty looked out of shape, do you mean he looked overweight or did he just not have any stamina?
tangerito
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What do you think is different about the people or the system that has caused all the injuries. I don't remember this many under Brad at any time? I could be wrong though.
BigJack85
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I don't get the injuries either. This is insane. Are any of you out there concerned about the Jacks? I am. I just am not getting any inkling that Keller really knows what he's doing.
nacluth
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I don't know I remember plenty of injuries when Underwood was here. Charles, Bain, Jared Johnson, Geffard, Tanner Clayton, Connor Brooks, CJ, Jaquan Smith. Those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head. None as major as Bain's and Ty's last year, but all missed games. Even Parker missed a couple I believe.

I'm not saying that we aren't a little snakebit right now, but winning sure does gloss over those memories.
Ryan
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Gazette1
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Tell me again how to get to your PM Isaac,
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