JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With 39 days being all that stands between now and the team’s season opener at Florida State on Nov. 8, the Jacksonville University men’s basketball team got its 2013-14 preseason underway with its first practice on Monday night at Swisher Gymnasium. A new NCAA rule instituted this offseason allows for 30 sessions over a span of six weeks prior to the beginning of the regular season, rather than an official nationwide start date as has been the case in the past.
Head Coach Cliff Warren begins his ninth season at the helm of the JU program with a mixture of youth and experience. The Dolphins return eight letterwinners from last year’s team – including three starters – but Warren will also be looking to mix in seven newcomers, two joining JU as grad school transfers and another five coming in as freshmen. Four of last season’s top six scorers return for Jacksonville in 2013-14, led by senior guard Keith McDougald.
The other senior on JU’s roster forward Javon Dawson. After transferring from the University of Utah, Dawson twice picked up A-Sun Newcomer of the Week honors in 2012-13. The lone junior on the team is guard Jeremy Bogus, who averaged eight minutes a game last season and had a seven-point night in a road game at No. 5 Indiana.
Two members of the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team from last season will be back for JU as well; guard Jarvis Haywood and forward Kordario Fleming. They’re joined by Marcellous Bell and Tyler Alderman, who each played important minutes off the bench last season for the Dolphins. Chris Spurling also played in 10 games last season for Jacksonville.
New to the program this season are grad students RJ Slawson, who transfers in from South Carolina, and Vince Martin from Young Harris. Each will have one year of eligibility remaining with the Dolphins. Freshmen Omar El Manasterly, JR Holder, Sam Hunt, Josh Murray and Marcel White round out the squad.
Following the Nov. 8 game at Florida State, Jacksonville comes back to campus for its home opener on Nov. 12. The Dolphins will host Florida College at 7 p.m. in the first of four games on the season that will be played at Swisher Gymnasium. A Nov. 23 matchup with Florida A&M stands as the first game of the season at the Jacksonville Memorial Arena and will be followed two days later by a home game against Florida on Nov. 25. Season tickets for men’s basketball are already on sale, while single-game tickets go on sale tomorrow, Oct. 1, at 10 a.m. Single-game seats can purchased through Ticketmaster, JaxEvents.com and at the Veterans Memorial Arena Box Office.