Team preview: Lamar

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Dealing with the loss of the leading scorer in the Southland Conference? That's a difficult task.

Filling holes left inside by the departure of four players who were 6-9 or taller? Equally challenging.

Replacing one of the most successful coaches in the conference's history? Well, even new Lamar coach Steve Roccaforte knows how seemingly impossible following Billy Tubbs is, no matter what his Cardinal team does this season.

"You're talking about a guy who won 647 games and I've won none," said Roccaforte, a Tubbs assistant the last three seasons whose first ever head-coaching job comes at his alma mater. "So I don't think I can ever attempt to try and replace him. I will use him as an unbelievable resource since he is still here as athletic director. But you don't replace a coach like Billy Tubbs.

"You just try to work as hard as you possibly can to try and get this program to the place he had it headed."

A native of nearby Port Arthur, Roccaforte was already considered one of the league's best recruiters during his days as an assistant. Now, he'll get his X and O abilities tested, and greatly so in his first season as he scrambles to replace first-team all-conference guard Alan Daniels, who led the Southland in scoring last season (23.5 ppg).

The plan, as it often is when college basketball teams a player of Daniels' stature, is to use more than one player to fill the void.

"I don't think we're going to have the leading scorer in the league necessarily coming into our team right away," Roccaforte said. "But we're not afraid to try and replace him. We have recruited a few players we feel can step in and take up some of that scoring burden, so we're not afraid of the challenge. Will any one of them average as much as Alan? Maybe not, but we hope we can be a little more balanced in our scoring."