Team preview: Stephen F. Austin

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

Stephen F. Austin men's basketball coach Danny Kaspar could easily look back at his team's 2005-06 campaign and think "what if?"

What if he hadn't lost the now-departed Marcus Clark, SFA's all-time assist leader, for two Southland Conference games and for all but 10 minutes of two other league games contests? What if 6-4 guard Josh Alexander -- the league's freshman of the year -- hadn't missed a game against UT-Arlington, one the Lumberjacks lost by six, with a hip injury?

More importantly, what if the Lumberjacks had just found a way to close out the close games better? Considering SFA lost 10 games by six points or fewer and five by four points or fewer, their 17-win season, it appears, easily could have been a 20-plus-win campaign.

"With four newcomers, we finished tied for fourth, and I think we really could have finished third," Kaspar said. "But this time last year we also weren't sure what we had and we were wondering what was going to happen. I thought we actually had a pretty good year considering we had such big losses from the year before."

So instead of "what if," Kaspar can actually look at a team that has more returning experience than last year's and wonder just what surprises the Lumberjacks might be able to pull off this season.