JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Returning to the court after one of the most successful seasons in the past decade, Jacksonville University's men's basketball team will open its 2017-18 season with a two-game road swing. The Dolphins will play Friday at UAB at 8 p.m., then travel north to our nation's capital to face Georgetown on Sunday at noon.
The Georgetown game will be the first time Dolphin legend and radio analyst Artis Gilmore has met the Hoyas since a famous bench-clearing brawl between JU and GU in the 1969-70 season.
Both games can be heard exclusively on 1010 XL, the flagship sports radio station of Northeast Florida. This marks a renewed partnership between Jacksonville University and 1010 XL that reaches back several decades.
Recapping Last Season
The 2016-17 campaign featured several notable moments, including:
- Hosting a national postseason game in Swisher for the first time in the facility's history
- Two players, J.R. Holder and Marcel White, scored their 1,000th career points
- Holder and Tanner Rubio were named honored with All-Conference awards
- A third consecutive season of additional wins upon the previous season (10 in 2014-15, 16 in 2015-16, 17 in 2016-17). Only one other coach nationally has done that twice in a six-year span; University of Michigan's John Beilein.
- The signing of Ohio State University transfer Dave Bell and Bethune-Cookman University transfer Quinton Forrest, both of whom will have to sit out until the 2018-19 season per NCAA transfer rules
- The addition of junior college transfer Aamahne Santos and four freshmen, including JD Notae, Jalyn Hinton, Corey Romich, and Derrick Flowers
- The hiring of accomplished junior college head coach Chad Eshbaugh as an assistant coach
2017-18 Dolphin Outlook
JU returns five members of the 2016-17 squad that had Jacksonville's first winning season in seven years, including ASUN All-Freshman member Tanner Rubio and fellow sophomore Lee Richmond, ASUN Newcomers of the Week Cody Helgeland (11/14) and Devin Harris (11/28 and 12/19) and four-year starter Antwon Clayton.
Also returning are redshirts Jace Hogan and Damien Sears. Hogan, who played two seasons at Navy and had to sit out the 2016-17 season due to NCAA transfer rules, was impressive in three exhibition games in Canada, averaging over 20 points a game, including a 34-point outburst against the University of Windsor. Sears was redshirted as a freshman but is expected to contribute much; he's the first Division 1 basketball player from Haughton High School in Haughton, La.
The 2017-18 schedule features 17 non-conference games, including four first-time matchups. In first-time meetings the Dolphins are 146-108, including a 3-1 mark last year.
Though this is the official opening weekend for Dolphin Basketball, JU has already played four games in the offseason. Jacksonville traveled to the Great White North for three exhibition games against Canadian universities in August, and then hosted eighth-ranked University of Florida last Thursday in an exhibition game that was part of a $3.6 million fundraising effort by the United Way's First Coast Relief Fund.
Game 01: Jacksonville University (0-0) at UAB (0-0)
Birmingham, Ala. – Bartow Arena – Friday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Series Record: UAB leads 25-8
Last Meeting: 12/22/2011, at UAB, UAB wins 70-65
Record at Jacksonville: UAB leads 11-4
Record at UAB: UAB leads 12-3
Record at Neutral Site: UAB leads 2-1
Record in OT: UAB leads 3-0
Coach Jasick vs. UAB: First meeting
Scouting the Opposition – UAB
While this is the official opening game for both teams, UAB has also played an exhibition game in 2017-18. Morehouse College came to Birmingham, Ala., last Thursday, and fell to the Blazers 84-69. NJCAA All-Region 24 Player of the Year Jalen Perry, who played his first two years at John A. Logan College, scored a game-high 19 points off the bench. The Blazers were picked to finish second in the C-USA with four first-place votes after a 17-16 finish in the 2016-17 season, the first under head coach Robert Ehsan.
Players to watch include:
- Junior guard Jalen Perry – averaged 19.5 ppg at Logan College his sophomore season, including 16 games of at least 20 points and two 30-point games
- Sophomore guard Nate Darling – Helped Team Canada win the Gold Medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup. Darling had 12 points, four rebounds, and two assists in the title game
- Senior forward William Lee – Two-time C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, the 6'9" Lee averaged 13.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, leading his team in both categories. He was named Preseason All-Conference USA, a Mid-Major Preseason All-American, and to the Karl Malone Award Watch List
- Senior forward Chris Cokley – Named to the Preseason All-Conference USA list, the Savannah, Ga., native shot 58.2 percent from the field, ranking second in his conference and 31st in the nation. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
Game 02: Jacksonville University (0-0) at Georgetown (0-0)
Washington, D.C. – Captial One Arena – Sunday, 12:00 p.m. ET
Series Record: Georgetown leads 2-1
Last Meeting: 11/17/2008, at Georgetown, #18 Georgetown wins 71-62
Record at Jacksonville: Jacksonville leads 1-0 (#18 JU wins 41-26 – forfeit)
Record at Georgetown: Georgetown leads 2-0
Record at Neutral Site: N/A
Record in OT: N/A
Coach Jasick vs. Georgetown: First meeting
Scouting the Opposition – Georgetown
Georgetown also opens its season officially with the Dolphins. The Hoyas are in their first year with Naismith Hall of Famer and Georgetown alum Patrick Ewing at the helm. Ewing takes over a program that went 14-18 last year, including 5-13 in the Big East. The Hoyas wrapped their season with a 74-73 loss to St. John's in the opening round of the Big East tournament, snapping a six-year losing streak in the postseason for St. John's. The squad did share one opponent with JU last season; USC Upstate. The Hoyas took down the Spartans 105-60 in Washington, D.C., in the season opener, Nov. 12.
Players to watch include:
- Senior forward Trey Mourning – the son of NBA legend Alonzo Mourning, he averaged 0.8 points and 0.5 rebounds per game in 10 appearances last year
- Junior center Jessie Govan – the leading returning scorer, the 6'10" Govan averaged 10.1 points and 5.0 rebounds a game
- Junior forward Marcus Derrickson – Averaged 8.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game