Last year, Liberty's basketball team had problems because of the football team, which played three playoff games and delayed the tipoff of basketball season. That contributed to a slow start and an 8-13 finish.

The basketball team was "waiting on seven players, so we got off a month late," said Coach Paul Frye (eighth season, 58-117).

This year, the football team did not qualify for the playoffs, so players such as junior center Jeff Washington and junior shooting guard A.J. Brown have been in basketball shorts for three weeks.

"We should have plenty of experience coming back," Frye said. "We've played with each other before, we're not coming in and starting from scratch.

"Last year, we were playing good ball toward the end of the season, so hopefully we can pick up right there where we left off."

Liberty could receive an added boost from junior Davon Deans, who transferred from National Christian.

The 6-foot-4 point guard provides with scoring, defense and excitement with his 33-inch vertical leap.

"He's pretty legit," Frye said. "I still haven't seen him in a game situation, but what it looks like right now, he's going to be giving me a lot."

-- Colin Fitzgibbons