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November 13, 2008Preseason league predictions usually come down to matching up contending teams' projected starting fives.
Often times though it is a team's strength beyond its starting five that can determine success throughout the course of a season.
Having a reliable sixth man off the bench capable of providing a spark or valuable depth is a key component of almost every championship caliber team.
Today, we break down who we feel are the top sixth men in the Sun Belt.
It is difficult to project each team's starting lineup with full confidence, but all of these players either started less than half of their team's games last season or are newcomers to the league and we think they'll be utilized mostly as a reserve this season.
Sun Belt sixth men to watch
1) Ronald Douglas - South Alabama
Douglas provides great depth on a very talented Jaguar front line. Playing behind first team all league player Brandon Davis and DeAndre Coleman, Douglas is a great option for coach Ronnie Arrow to turn to in a reserve role. Douglas 6.5 points and 4.4 rebounds last year and blocked 35 shots while averaging barely 20 minutes per game.
2) Dynile Forbes - ULM
The 6-foot-2 junior college transfer will be one of the most athletic players in the conference. Forbes has a vertical leap of more than 40 inches and was named a junior college all-American at Cochise College last year, where he averaged more than 20 points per game and shot 41 percent from 3-point range. His role is still being determined by Warhawks coach Orlando Earley, but the first spot off the bench seems to make the most sense. He can bring instant offense and energy to the floor in that role.
3) Calvin O'Neil - Middle Tennessee
O'Neil was primed for a big season last year, when he was expected to be a full time starter for the Blue Raiders. He played in the opening game of the year against San Jose State like he was going to have that type of season before he tore his ACL while driving to the basket on a fast break. This year, he will likely be mostly a reserve, giving coach Kermit Davis a valuable experienced option off the bench. O'Neil may never again play at the level he likely would have last year, but he's still capable of playing a few different positions and knows how to make winning plays.
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