CEDAR CITY, Utah — The Thunderbird men’s basketball team will kick off their 2018-19 season on Tuesday, October 30, as they play host to the Life Pacific Warriors in an exhibition contest inside the America First Event Center. Attendance is free of change.
The Thunderbirds are coming off one of their most impressive seasons in recent memory, as they picked up 13 victories. That is the third-most for SUU since the turn of the century.
SUU found plenty of success in the non-conference, knocking off the likes of San Jose State, Pepperdine, Long Beach State and Central Michigan.
The T-Birds wrapped up the year with their first-ever trip to the Semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Championship Tournament, knocking off both Idaho State and Idaho en route to a contest with Eastern Washington that ended the run.
The Thunderbirds welcome back a number of the top players from last year’s roster this season. Brandon Better ended last year as the team’s leading scorer, averaging 12.8 points per game. Dwayne Morgan also averaged over 12 points for the T-Birds, and led the team in rebounds per game in just 21 contests with the team.
Dre Marin averaged 7.4 ppg and pulled in 107 total rebounds for the T-Birds as a true freshman. Jacob Calloway and Ivan Madunic are also both back for SUU after appearing in 30 contests for the team.
On The Dotted Line
In September, SUU head coach Todd Simon signed an extension with the program through the 2021-22 season, locking up the third-year head coach. Since joining the university in 2015-16, the team has done nothing but improve and that trend has been recognized.
John Wardenburg received a promotion on the staff as well, advancing to Associate Head Coach in August.
This season’s Thunderbird roster will have a number of new players for fans to get used to, and that starts with Arizona State transfer Andre Adams, and Boise State transfer Cameron Oluyitan. Both players were with the program last season, but had to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules. However, both spent the year on SUU’s practice squad and are ready to roll this year. The T-Birds also added Jason Richardson from Fullerton College, and formerly of Cal State Northridge.
The Thunderbirds also added six freshmen to this year’s team. Both Josh Cornish and Harrison Butler signed with the team last fall on National Signing Day, and Maizen Fausett has joined the squad after serving a two-year religious mission.
When the Big Sky Conference revealed the results of its 2018-19 Men’s Basketball Coaches and Media Poll, the Thunderbirds were tabbed sixth by the league’s coaches and ninth by the media in and around the conference.
In the Coaches Poll the T-Birds received 53 votes and were tied with Montana State for the sixth spot in the standings. In the Media Poll the T-Birds received 128 votes, being slated in ninth above Sacramento State and Northern Arizona.
Montana, Weber State, Northern Colorado and Eastern Washington were the top four teams in both polls in the same order.
Montana’s Ahmaad Rorie was named Preseason MVP, while Jerrick Harding (Weber State), Tyler Hall (Montana State), Jordan Davis (Northern Colorado), Michael Oguine (Montana) and Holland Woods (Portland State) made of the 2018-19 Preseason All-Conference Team.
Opponent Preview: Life Pacific
The Warriors of Life Pacific had a successful 2017-18 campaign, finishing the season with an 18-13 overall record, including a 6-3 record on the road. Their season culminated with a PCAC Championship and a trip to the NCCAA Men’s Basketball National Tournament.
The Warrior roster is comprised solely of student-athletes from the state of California.
Life Pacific is coached by Tim Cook, who is in his second season with the program after 25 years of playing and coaching experience.
Where to Watch / Listen / Follow Along
A link to livestats will be available at www.suutbirds.com prior to tipoff.
KSUB 590 AM is your home for Thunderbird men’s basketball home games all season long, with legendary broadcaster Art Challis on the call.
There will be no live stream on Tuesday’s contest with Life Pacific.
Story and Photo Courtesy of: SUU Athletics Strategic Communication