IUPUI tips off college basketball season Monday
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The IUPUI Jaguars will kick off college basketball Monday with the first game of the 2023-24 season. The Jaguars will host Spalding University bright and early at 11 a.m. for the annual NCAA Readers Become Leaders Day at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
This will also be the final season for the Jaguars under the IUPUI name. Starting Fall 2024, all athletics for the historical program will be listed as IU Indianapolis.
The Jaguars look to get off to a strong start after a disappointing 5-27 record in the 2022-23 season. Head coach Matt Crenshaw has the pieces for a strong season, including Preseason All-Horizon League player Jlynn Counter and guards Vincent Brady II and DJ Jackson. Both Brady and Jackson were dubbed conference All-Freshman Team last season.
Counter led the Jaguars with 14.5 points per game with 3.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game during his sophomore year. Brady wasn’t far behind, averaging 10.9 points per game after making a team-best 58 three-pointers. Jackson scored 9.6 points a game, even after missing 10 games with an injury.
Senior Bryce Monroe will return fulltime for the Jaguars after playing only four games last season. Before his season came to an abrupt end, he averaged 12 points and 3.8 assists, including a season-high 29 point performance against New Orleans in November.
Along with the familiar names come transfer portal additions like Kidtrell Blocker from Buffalo, Yves Nkomba from Kennesaw State, Abdou Samb from Rhode Island and Qwanzi Samuels from George Washington. The latter three bring extra height to the Jaguars’ frontcourt — Nkomba at 6-foot-11, Samuels at 6-foot-9 and Samb at 6-foot-8. Blocker (6-foot-5) is a known shot-maker.
“Qwanzi (Samuels) is a guy who brings it every day,” assistant coach Keith Oddo said. “At 6’8, he has great versatility on both ends of the court. Off the court, he brings leadership and experience, having been around two other D1 programs. Most importantly, Q is a great student, and has been an awesome addition to our locker room. We look forward to seeing his growth as a leader, and are optimistic that he will impact winning at a high level.”
“(Kidtrell Blocker) adds length, athleticism, and versatility to our backcourt,” assistant coach Tommy Strine said. “His ability to make plays for himself and others will help us play a fun and unselfish brand of offense. Where he can make an elite impact is on the defensive end where that length and athleticism will allow him to guard multiple positions and help us end possessions with rebounds.”
“Abdou (Samb) has been a great addition to our program,” assistant coach and director of operations Drew Greene said. “Abdou has brought a competitive spirit and plays with tenacity that will help us when it comes to rebounding and having a presence in the paint. He has been a great student, and is a high character young man that we are lucky to have in our program.”
“Yves (Nkomba) has been a great addition to the Jaguar family,” assistant coach Antwain Banks said. “Yves is long and extremely athletic with tremendous upside. He’s a strong rim protector, and can really run in transition. Yves brings a great deal of humbleness and appreciation for the opportunity in front of him. He’s such a joy to be around.”
After taking on the Golden Eagles, the Jaguars hit the road to Valparaiso Friday followed by Indiana State Tuesday, Nov. 14.