JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – College basketball returned in force Friday with the first day of practice for Jacksonville University. The Dolphins, now in their fourth season under Head Coach Tony Jasick, began the year a bit atypically.
"A little bit of a unique first day because we've had our guys together so long with that trip to Canada, which allowed us to get a bit of a head start. So somewhat different than normal," said Jasick. "Our guys are a touch more advanced at this point of the year than what they've been in the past."
Three exhibition games in Canada earlier this season unofficially opened the season, and some damage to the Dolphins' home, Swisher Gym, by Hurricane Irma displaced the team in the preseason. JU also made changes to its full-time coaching staff for the first time in three years with the addition of Chad Eshbaugh, and replaced nine players on the roster.
Last season JU went 17-16 overall and finished sixth in conference play. The Dolphins made their first appearance in a national postseason tournament since the 2010-2011 season, and hosted the first ever national postseason tournament in Swisher Gym. Returning ASUN All-Freshman team member Tanner Rubio led the team in three-point shooting percentage (49.6 percent) and made three-pointers (64), and Devin Harris returns from an injury that sidelined him for the final few games of the year after averaging 10.9 ppg on 51 percent shooting. Navy transfer Jace Hogan will play his first season as a Dolphin after scoring over 20 points a game in the Canadian summer trip, including 34 at Windsor on August 11.
The non-conference docket will feature 17 games, including four first time matchups. The Dolphins will also face NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing in his first season as an NCAA Head Coach when they play at Georgetown on Nov. 12. The addition of Georgetown to this year's schedule will push JU's scheduled game at Florida A&M on Nov. 13 to the 2018-19 season.