Last season’s roster depletion gives way to a new crop of players this year
IUPUI was one of the most interesting stories in college basketball last season.
Although they finished with a 3-26 record, it was impressive with what they had to go through. Amid team absences and sickness, the Jaguars rolled with six men on most nights. At a point, they even held open tryouts for kids on campus to walk onto the team.
This season, it should be a completely different story for the Jaguars. With 18 players on its roster and a bevy of newcomers, there’s a new optimism around the program.
Can they continue showing strides of improvement?
PG – Bryce Monroe – IUPUI got one of the steals of the transfer portal when it landed 2020-21 Southland Freshman of the Year, Bryce Monroe. Monroe averaged 10.1 points and 2.8 assists per game for the Kats before transferring to the University of San Diego last season and starting 13 games for the Toreros. His free throw shooting should make an immediate impact for one of the worst teams in the nation last season, averaging 83.4% from the charity stripe in two D1 seasons.
SG – DJ Jackson – Jackson has one of the highest ceilings for a freshman in the Horizon League this season. Coming over from powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida, he helped the school win another Prep National Championship while scoring 29 points in the championship game. In 2019, he helped Canada earn a silver medal in the U16 FIBA Americas Cup, scoring 10.3 points and reeling in 3.2 rebounds per game. Jackson chose IUPUI over Mississippi State, Seton Hall, UMass, and USF.
SF – John Egbuta – Egbuta comes over from Albany Tech in Georgia where he was not only a weapon on the court but an academic weapon in the classroom. The Region XVII All-Academic team honoree tallied a bounce-back season with 15.5 points per game (5th best in league) and a 61.1% shooting clip from the field. Egbuta was also named a GCAA All-Region pick.
PF – Jonah Carrasco – Starting 16 games last season for the Jaguars, Carrasco was a force to be reckoned with down low. He ranked second on the team in blocked shots (21) and in a game against East-West he tied a single-game school record with seven blocks, coupling that with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Carrasco also was a strong scorer, finishing 48.4% from the field on the season.
C – Chris Osten – Formerly at Arizona State & Northern Illinois, Osten has plenty of D1 experience. While at Arizona State, he made six starts, shot 61.8% from the field in Pac 12 play, and ranked second on the team with 17 blocked shots.
Jlynn Counter – Coming over from the competitive Oklahoma JUCO ranks, Counter was one of the best guards in the state in 21-22. Earning Second Team All-Region 2 honors and averaging 16.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game, he did it all.
Kaleb Edwards – After redshirting last season, Edwards should make an impact off the bench at the guard position. From nearby Guerin High School, he averaged 15.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while leading his school to regional and sectional titles.
Boston Stanton III – One of the few holdovers from last season’s team, Stanton started the first 18 games of the season before an injury forced him to come off the bench for the last month. He seemed to shine in the biggest games, shooting 3-3 from three in the conference tournament game against Oakland and scoring 10 points in the Jaguars’ only D1 win over Robert Morris.
Bobby Wonnell – The “Most Complete Player” in Indiana high school hoops in 2022 should be an immediate scoring threat for the Jaguars. Averaging 22.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 51% from the field, 46.9% from three, and 90.3% from the free throw line is a talent you don’t usually find in a walk-on freshman.
Daylan Hamilton – Hamilton comes over to IUPUI after a stint at Triton College where he led the Trojans to an NJCCA Final Four appearance. While there, he picked up seven assists on three separate occasions and scored double-digits 16 different times. It was exactly the growth he wanted to see after transferring from Western Michigan and it should only continue this season.
Cooper Dewitt – Although Dewitt is a defensive specialist, he can do it on the offensive end as well. The 6’6″ wing averaged 13.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season while shooting 45.2% from the field, 40.2% from three, and 85.2% from the free throw line at North Idaho College.
Vincent Brady II – Brady is going to be an immediate threat from three-point range, shooting 42.3% from behind the arch as a senior in high school. He can do all the other stuff a good guard does too, averaging 5.9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game in 19-20. Last season, he played at Air Force Prep in Colorado.
Ahmad Jerrard – A three-year starter at nearby Mt.Vernon high school, Jerrard was selected to the prestigious Indiana all-star team while shooting 63.1% from the field. Tough to match that discipline when shooting.
Zach Gunn – Gunn was supposed to be a key piece to the 2021-22 Jaguars before an injury sidelined him over the summer. Coming over from Ball State, he was continuously a strong piece off their bench. In 2020-21, he shot 43.5% from the floor and 40% from three.
James Flippen – Although currently not on the IUPUI roster, 6’11” center James Flippen committed to play with the program in June. Not often do you get a player in the Horizon League who can shoot three-pointers from Jimmer Range and be a stalwart down low. He should be a threat for years to come.
With a less strenuous non-conference schedule and depth on the roster, we should see clear improvement with this young IUPUI team.
Last season, the defense was there. With only six men on most nights, that fight is impressive. Now add in a ton of offensive weapons and the Jaguars should be able to match teams on both ends.
They’ll be able to test that early as after games against Drake and Iowa State, the non-conference schedule is kind, playing three of the worst teams in the nation, two new D1 programs, and two non-D1s. Don’t be shocked if they poke off a few teams in Horizon League play too.
This program is not finishing in last place, again.
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