Player to watch

The Eagles’ only returning starter, Troy Brewer will need to embrace his new role as the primary scorer and adapt to defensive schemes targeting him on the perimeter. The 6-foot-5 senior guard started every game last season after transferring from Georgia. He was third in scoring (11.5) and rebounding (four), and second in three-pointers made (59).

Three story lines

Major shakeup: Stephen Lumpkins, AU’s top rebounder and second-leading scorer with a year of eligibility left, threw Coach Jeff Jones a curveball in June when he quit the team to pursue a baseball career in the Kansas City Royals system. The decision left the Eagles without an established front-court player.

Help from Hinkle: Charles Hinkle, a Vanderbilt transfer who made 23 reserve appearances for the Eagles last season, offers an inside-outside game at small forward and should relieve the pressure on Brewer.

Instant impact: Jones doesn’t usually start freshmen, but John Schoof, a 6-5 guard who averaged 18 points, five rebounds and five assists at W.T. Woodson High School last season, appears to have cracked the lineup.

Outlook

After winning 20 games three of the past four seasons, the Eagles will aim to sneak into the top half of the Patriot League and advance to the tournament semifinals for the 11th consecutive season. They’ll need point guard Daniel Munoz to take initiative and the front court to compensate for Lumpkins’s departure.

— Steven Goff

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