Dolphins Head North, Up for Season Opener

Dolphins Head North, Up for Season Opener

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 2016-17 season with a two-game road swing in Colorado. The Dolphins face the University of Denver for the first time Saturday at 9 p.m., and then head to Colorado Springs, Colo., on Monday for another first meeting, at Air Force at 9 p.m.

"I'm excited that the season-opener is here," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "I think our team has made quite a bit of progress from day one to where we're at now. I also think that we have a ton of room for growth with this group and I look forward to the process of helping them get better every day as we move through the season."

Recapping Last Season

The 2015-16 campaign featured several notable moments, including:

  • The first official sellout of the Historic Swisher Gym on Feb. 25, 2016;
  • Hosting the first playoff game on campus in program history;
  • The most non-conference wins in 24 years;
  • The first winning season in five years;
  • JU finished over .500 in conference play for the first time since 2010-11 season;
  • The longest home winning streak in 42 years;
  • Head Coach Tony Jasick was named the CollegeInsider ASUN Coach of the Year;
  • Jasick was also named the 2016 NABC UPS Division 1 District 3 Coach of the Year.

If you'd like a more detailed recap of last season, click here.

2016-17 Dolphin Outlook

JU returns seven members of the 2015-16 squad to this year's roster, and will see significant contributions from three Dolphins who couldn't play last year due to injury or NCAA transfer rules. Jacksonville also made several additions to its roster, including the NJCAA's second-best scorer and four freshmen.

Though the Dolphins squad returns a strong core, it did lose two of its biggest contributors to graduation. Kori Babineaux was just the fifth Dolphin ever to score 1,000 points in two seasons or less, and Josh Adeyeye played a huge role in conference competition, leading the Dolphins to their first sweep of Florida Gulf Coast in five years. Both now play professionally overseas.

"We lost two key contributors with Babineaux and Adeyeye," said Jasick. "I'm excited to see how some of our upperclassmen will adjust and handle their new roles on the team. Moving forward, I think we have a number of guys who have the ability to step in help us make up for the production that we lost with graduation."

Scouting the Opposition – Denver

Denver returns four starters from a squad that finished 16-15 and sixth in the Summit League last season. The Pioneers are led by first-year Head Coach Rodney Billups, the younger brother of Chauncey Billups.

"That will pose a unique challenge in that we really don't have any research on how they're going to play," said Jasick when asked about coaching against new coaches. "Obviously we can do a bunch with personnel and some of the tendencies of their returning players. It's a great opportunity for us to really work on us and worry about what we want to do, how we want to approach this game and see if we can't come out and do some of the things that we want to do."

This is the first time JU will be playing Denver. The Dolphins are 143-107 in first-time matchups.

Game 01: Jacksonville University (0-0) vs. University of Denver (0-0)
Denver, Colo. – Magnuss Arena – Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET

Game Notes: Jacksonville  
Video: Altitude 2
Broadcasters: 
Todd Romero (PBP), Greg Lackey (Color)
Audio: mixlr.com/judolphins, 92.5 FM
Broadcasters: Scott Manze (PBP)
Twitter: @JacksonvilleMBB

Series Information

Series Record: 0-0
Last Meeting:
 N/A
Record at Jacksonville:
 N/A
Record at Denver:
 0-0
Record at Neutral Site:
 0-0
Record in OT:
 0-0
Coach Jasick vs. Denver:
 1-1 (at IPFW)

Scouting the Opposition – Air Force

Air Force returns all five starters and 15 letterwinners from a squad that finished 14-18 and 10th out of 11 teams in the Mountain West Conference. The Falcons are guided by Dave Pilipovich, who is 60-73 in five seasons.

"Any time that you start your season on the road, it poses a unique challenge," continued Jasick. "Hopefully we can go out and play well and give ourselves a chance to have some success."

Game 02: Jacksonville University (0-0) vs. Air Force Academy (0-0)
Colorado Springs, Colo. – Clune Arena – Monday, 9:00 p.m. ET

Game Notes: Jacksonville l Air Force
Video: Mountain West Network 
Audio: mixlr.com/judolphins, 92.5 FM
Broadcasters: Scott Manze (PBP)
Twitter: @JacksonvilleMBB

Series Information

Series Record: 0-0
Last Meeting:
 N/A
Record at Jacksonville:
 N/A
Record at Denver:
 0-0
Record at Neutral Site:
 0-0
Record in OT:
 0-0
Coach Jasick vs. Air Force:
 0-0

Concerning The Altitude-We're Not Concerned

"My understanding is the altitude doesn't affect you at all until 72 hours in," said Jasick. "What a lot of people are doing now is flying in before the day of the game and flying out after and it has no impact. I also think it'll be great for our guys to get out and see a different part of the country. It presents a unique experience for them to be out in the Rocky Mountains and we're going to at least take a few minutes and experience that as well as part of this trip."