A welcome to the two new members, American University and North Carolina-Wilmington, and confirmation of the first television package for the now eight-member conference were the highlights of the ECAC South basketball preseason press conference today.
"We're delighted to be in the ECAC South," said AU Coach Ed Tapscott. "It's certainly a step up for us and we're looking for a real good year in our inaugural season."
Home Team Sports will televise 15 games live, including the postseason tournament March 7-9 at William and Mary here.
Tapscott, East Carolina Coach Charlie Harrison and James Madison Coach Lou Campanelli each stressed the youth movement that will mark their seasons.
Last year's conference champion, Richmond, is the choice to repeat in a canvass of both the coaches and the media.
Navy, which won 24 of 32 games last season, is excited by the development of David Robinson, a 6-foot-11 junior who was 6-8 and much lighter when he enrolled at the academy.
"If Robinson were at Maryland, they might be picked to win the (Atlantic Coast) conference," said Navy Coach Paul Evans, whose team graduated four seniors.
George Mason, on the other hand, revealed it already lost prize recruit Kenny Sanders, a first-team all-Metropolitan from McKinley of Washington, D.C.
"He never practiced with the team," said Coach Joe Harrington. "He just wants to get away from the D.C. area."
Still, Mason returns three starters, including last year's preseason all-America, Carlos Yates.
All the coaches expressed satisfaction with the introduction of the 45-second clock for conference games. The clock will not be turned off during any part of the game.