Overall Record: 6-26
Summit League Record (Finish): 1-15 (9th)
Postseason: Lost in Summit quarterfinal
2013-14 QUICK GLANCE
Head Coach (Season): Todd Howard (3rd)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 5/8
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Men's Basketball Page | Schedule | Roster
Web Page: iupuijags.com
"I think it starts from a league standpoint, just seeing two of the top nine mid-major teams in the country are in our league. This will be my 16th year in this league and that's never happened. It's a great testament to the league and what's going forward with that. I think it kind of mirrors our program going forward. We're just excited beyond belief to be able to have a full practice of 15 guys and positioning those guys to look forward with momentum. We had a great trip to Italy [this summer]. We were able to get 10 health guys on the floor that weren't really part of what we were doing last year. That's unique and something I haven't really experienced, adding three healthy guys and a couple transfers. The five guys that you add as transfers or signees, gives you 10 guys that really weren't in our day-to-day operations last year, but have a chance to help them be some good players, so we are excited about that. When you talk to most coaches the benefit [of a foreign trip] being the practice time and that certainly was the case for us. In the big picture of planning of things, it was supposed to take place a year from now but just on the heels of what we experienced last year it was well timed and certainly helped us. It really propelled the process that goes with that to unify your team, get cohesion, learn one another on and off the floor and travel and see the world, all because of the great game of basketball. You can't even put a value to it. Just on the floor, us being able to see guys get back into their game and grow their game." – Head coach Todd Howard
F/C Mitch Patton (13.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.0 apg); G Ian Chiles (10.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.3 apg); F Donovan Gibbs (10.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.4 apg); G P.J. Hubert (5.6 ppg, 10 rpg, 0.8 apg)
SUMMIT LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL
All-League Selection: Mitch Patton (2nd)
BLUE RIBBON COLLEGE BASKETBALL YEARBOOK
Analysis Excerpts: Todd Howard wants to forget about last year, and the [offseason] trip to Italy did that for him. The Jaguars are a more complete team this year, and if they can avoid injuries, they should be able to be competitive in the Summit.
It will be a surprise if the Jags don't make a big move this season. They have depth in the frontcourt and guard line and more talent than they have had in a while. It may be unrealistic to expect title contention, but if IUPUI stays healthy, it won't be an easy opponent for anybody in the league.
Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, the "bible" of preseason preview publications, is now in its 33rd printing. To see the complete version of this story, as well as 344 other profiles of Division I schools, order the 400-page 2013-14 edition at www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com or by calling 877-807-4857.
OTHER PRESEASON PROJECTIONS
Athlon Sports: 8th
Lindy's Sports: 8th
NBC Sports Talk: 8th
Sporting News: 8th
USA Today: 5th
The IUPUI basketball team is fully prepared to put last year in the rearview and has its sights set clearly on the task ahead. In short, getting back to the top half of The Summit League, making The Jungle one of the best home courts in the league and topping the 20-win plateau are among this year's goals.
An NCAA Tournament berth and 20 wins are not unrealistic.
It might seemed far-fetched after last year's record, but optimism runs high in Indianapolis. With this year's Jaguars, the optimism is warranted.
All total, Head Coach Todd Howard and the Jaguars have a stable of new faces and some rejuvenated returners, ready to turn their goals into accomplishments.
The Jaguars' success will stem largely from two of the team's largest players – seniors Mitch Patton (6-foot-9) and Donovan Gibbs (6-foot-7). Patton earned All-League accolades from numerous publications a year ago after averaging 13.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in 27 outings. The left-handed post player missed nearly a month of practice due to lingering injuries, limiting his time and effectiveness during the season's second month.
However, he scored 27 points twice in a game, earning double-doubles on both occasions.
He and Gibbs became a formidable high-low duo, with Gibbs capping his junior year at 10.2 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 55.4 percent overall. In his first year as a starter, Gibbs also hit 46 percent from three-point range and averaged better than 33 minutes a night.
"That's about as good of a four/five duo as you're going to find at our level," Howard said of his senior frontliners. "If you combine their numbers in terms of points, rebounds, shooting percentages and defensively, that's a really good combination. They just really know how to play and they know how to play together.
"They do a good job of looking for one another and playing off of each other. That's a luxury to have two guys like that up front."
A third returner, senior sharpshooter P.J. Hubert, averaged 5.6 points per game and hit 38 percent from three and will be counted on again to stretch defenses in 2013-14. The 6-foot-5 Hubert started 13 games, including 10 of the season's final 11 as a junior.
Beyond that, the Jaguars' roster is mostly retooled with both young and old.
Guards Ian Chiles and Marcellus Barksdale return after missing most of last season due to injuries. Chiles, a Summit League All-Newcomer Team selection two years ago, missed all but four games last year after suffering an injury in the Jaguars' lone exhibition. He returned briefly and averaged 10.3 points and 2.3 rebounds a game, before ultimately having his season end around Christmas.
Fully healthy two years ago, Chiles played second fiddle to former IUPUI star Alex Young and ranked third on the squad in scoring (10.5 ppg), assists (54) and threes made (34). Chiles made 41.5 percent from three that year and was the Jaguars' top scorer on the team's four-game trip to Italy this summer, pumping in 62 points overall.
Barksdale is attempting to make the move to the point guard spot, after missing nearly all of last year to a multitude of injuries. Known as a consummate glue guy, the 6-foot-5 Barksdale played in all 32 games as a freshman in 2011-12, averaging 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds per game as a reserve. Last year, he was relegated to just seven appearances and suffered a season-ending injury on Dec. 23.
Another veteran guard expected to provide experience in the backcourt is Milwaukee-transfer Ja'Rob McCallum. McCallum played in 70 games at Milwaukee, averaging 8.0 points and hitting 100 threes during his Panther career. He was the Horizon League's Freshman of the Year according to The Sporting News in 2010 and started 33 times over three seasons.
Beyond that, the Jaguars will be looking to a number of new faces, both up front and in the backcourt this season.
JC-transfer Khufu Najee is an electrifying 6-foot-4, left-handed wing who will provide immediate scoring punch and a defensive mentality to the Jaguars' attack. Najee pumped in 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game at Allan Hancock (Calif.) Junior College last season after netting 21 points per game at Diablo Valley (Calif.) JC as a freshman. The Berkeley, Calif.-native has an unmatched basketball IQ and could crack the starting five from day one.
"Khufu is a really smart basketball player," Howard said. "He just makes winning plays, and that's a difference maker for a program. He's got a smooth scoring ability and is a fantastic finisher at the rim. With the new rules in college basketball, he's going to excel at getting to the free throw line and creating opportunities."
Howard will also have six freshmen – four redshirt and two true – on this year's roster.
Of the four redshirts, Cortell Busby was likely the Jaguars' starting point guard a year ago before suffering an injury the day before practice officially started. The South Carolina-native eventually missed the entire season. Bruising forward Elijah Ray brings a strong, scoring presence and Linwood Ross is a freakish athlete with huge upside to his game. All three are likely to factor in the Jaguars' plans this season. The fourth, Jalen McCallum, is Ja'Rob's younger brother and transferred to IUPUI from Jackson (Mich.) College prior to Spring 2013 semester. He joined the team this past summer and like his brother, is a terrific three-point shooter.
The two true freshmen – Josh James and Justus Stanback – are likely understudies to Gibbs and Patton, and should provide valuable minutes on the interior. James, a skilled 6-foot-9 forward/center, will be able to spell Patton in stretches and is a capable scorer, rebounder and defender. He added muscle while attending Quakerdale Prep in Iowa a year ago after a standout career at Andrean High School.
Meanwhile, Stanback emerged as one of the state's top players last season while starring at West Lafayette High School. The 6-foot-8 Stanback boasts range on his jump shot, but a frame that allows him to bang bodies around the basket. He averaged 14.4 points and 8.2 boards per game as a senior at West Lafayette, earning 2013 Lafayette Journal & Courier Big School Player of the Year honors.
"We're excited about both Josh and Justus. Just giving us the depth and work in practice everyday is going to make us a better team," Howard said. "We think both of those guys are going to be really good players in our program. They're both skilled and work hard at improving. Once they get a feel and get accustomed to the speed and the physical nature of the college game, they're both going to thrive and succeed.
"More than anything, just the ability to run full practices is a step in the right direction from last year. Last year, we had coaches running drills because we didn't have enough healthy bodies. This year, we have choices, and as a coach, you like to have those options. It's up to us to piece together combinations and find out which groups work well together, but those are good problems to face."