Mastodons have an edge about themselves as they prepare for their second season in Horizon League competition
Editor’s Note: Cameron Benford is a member of the Purdue Fort Wayne men’s basketball team and will be writing a player’s diary for the HoriZone Roundtable throughout the season.
Last year, PFW was eliminated in a thrilling, triple over time game to conference champions Cleveland State. After improving later in the season, some coaches would be content on the almost-win, but Coach Coffman doesn’t take any moral victories. He doesn’t just want to be in the Horizon League, he wants to compete for a Horizon League championship. From last year’s team, they return 4 of their top 5 leading scorers and a bevy of newcomers, and they all have an edge about themselves.
What sticks out about the Mastodons has always been their offense and their ability to score the basketball, especially from the three-point variety. This team has elite guard play. They return pre-season second team Jarred Godfrey, who looks to take on an even bigger role this year for the Mastodons. The PFW team return experienced guards Jalon Pipkins and Deonte Billups, and they add point guard Damian Chong Qui. With the addition of Chong Qui, the Mastodons can at times move Godfrey off the ball which adds more versatility to this team. Look for them to play quick and efficient.
JoJo Peterson – JoJo is an athletic defensive minded point guard from Atlanta GA. What makes him unique is his size at the guard position at 6-5. He is a state champion who averaged 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists his senior year of high school.
Redford Dunton – Coach Coffman decided to go to the hoop state (North Carolina) to secure a commitment from another state championship player, Redford Dunton. In high school, he averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, and scored 1,000 career points.
RJ Ogom – The Chicago native joins PFW after spending a year at College of Charleston, where he redshirted due to injury. Coming out of high school, RJ was one of PFW’s top targets. PFW is thrilled to have received Ogom through the transfer portal. He is a very athletic forward who can really stroke the ball. He averaged 18 points, eight rebounds, and three assists per game as a senior in high school.
Damian Chong Qui – May be the most impactful transfer in the Horizon League and a dark horse candidate for first team all-Horizon League at the end of the year. Chong Qui transferred from Mount Saint Mary’s where he led his team to an NCAA tournament and led his conference in assists. He also averaged 15 points a game and 4.2 rebounds. Look for him to play fast and fit into the Mastodon style of play.
Quinton Morton-Robertson – Morton-Robertson is another state championship winner in high school. You sense a theme in this newcomer class. Coach Coffman went out and got winners. Morton-Robertson transferred from Radford, where he averaged 7.5 points a game and shot 38% from the three-point line. He is another quick, small guard who is a great shooter and capable of getting hot fast from the three-point line.
Jarred Godfrey– If you know PFW, you know Jarred Godfrey. He averaged 16 points and 5.4 rebounds. Last year, Godfrey had a blazing hot start in the Horizon League. He even had a 40-point game against UIC. Godfrey may be the best scorer in the whole league. Look for him to focus in on his defense and playing multiple positions. It wouldn’t surprise me if at the end of the year he is in the conversation of HL player of the year.
Jalon Pipkins– Pipkins averaged 14.3 points a game last year and was fourth in the Horizon League in field goal percentage at 52%. Many people remember Pipkins for his game-tying shot at Green Bay on ESPN Top 10. Look for him to have a breakout year; he is a freak athlete who also guards the other team’s best player on a consistent basis.
Deonte Billups– Billups averaged 8.5 points and 4.2 rebounds last season. He is a sharpshooter who can light it up in bunches. Billups also may be the team’s best rebounder. Look for him to have an improved season and be another asset to this potent offense.
Bobby Planutis– Planutis is another sharpshooter (Are you sensing a theme?). The 6-8 forward has a pure jump shot and every time he shoots it you expect the ball to go in. Last season Planutis averaged 10.3 points a game and shot a compelling 45% from the three-point line, and 88% from the free-throw line. Planutis is one of those guys who is sneaky athletic, look for him to have another productive season for the Mastodons.
Purdue Fort Wayne’s greatest assets this year is going to be depth, experience and elite guard play. In 2021, Fort Wayne finished strong after a shaky regular season. Look for them to have a drastic improvement in their second year of Horizon League and play with a chip on their shoulder.
Miss anything from Preview Week? Check it all out below:
Cleveland State • Wright State • Milwaukee • Detroit Mercy
Northern Kentucky • Oakland • Purdue Fort Wayne • Youngstown State
UIC • Robert Morris • Green Bay • IUPUI
Green Bay (WBB) • Cleveland State (WBB)