LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – By now, a No. 1 preseason ranking is nothing new for Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport.

When his team earned the top spot in a preseason poll released by Division II Bulletin on Monday, it was the second time in three seasons it has received the honor. And it is an honor.

“It’s great for the university, mainly,” Davenport said. “And it opens the eyes of prospects.”

Bellarmine athletic director Scott Wiegandt asked Davenport whether the ranking might also bring challenges. Davenport had a quick answer.

“People say, ‘Well, you’ve got a target on your back.’ That emotion wears off really quick in athletics,” he said. “I don’t think I took this job to run up and down the hall and say, ‘We’re No. 18.’ But nobody is going to remember who is preseason No. 1. They’re going to remember how you finished.”

Certainly, that’s the case for this year’s Bellarmine team, which continues to draw motivation from its final loss last season, on a bad call in an NCAA Regional loss to Findlay.

How stocked is Bellarmine? Davenport returns six starters. In basketball. Adam Eberhard has been named a first team NCAA Division II All-American. He also has Parker Chitty, an all-conference defender, and CJ Fleming, one of the league’s top freshmen, back this season.

The Knights also add a pair of Division I transfers and a four-man freshman class.

“Any success we have this year will have started in the locker room at Ferris State,” Davenport said. “Semifinals last year when we got beat in a very controversial ending against Findlay. It’s never stopped for one day. They have been an incredibly driven team since that day, and when I say driven, I’m talking about what starts from within. No coaches’ goals or polls, I’m talking about driven from within the confines of that locker room.”

Bellarmine begins its season on Oct. 28 against the University of Louisville in a 2 p.m. exhibition at the KFC Yum! Center.

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