SAN ANTONIO — The UTSA men's basketball team will hold its first official practice on Friday evening at the Convocation Center. The Roadrunners welcome back six letterwinners from last year's squad that posted an 18-14 record and finished third in the Southland Conference with a 10-6 mark.
UTSA opens the 2012-13 campaign with an exhibition game against Southeastern Oklahoma State on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Convocation Center before traveling to Norfolk, Va., to compete in the Liberty Tax Classic against Morgan State (Nov. 9), Holy Cross (Nov. 10) and host Old Dominion (Nov. 11) for the first weekend of the regular season.
2012-13 Season Outlook
Now entering his seventh season as UTSA head coach, Brooks Thompson has guided the Roadrunners to their most successful four-year stretch (76 wins) in two decades. The timing could not be better, as the program prepares for its first and only season in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) before joining Conference USA in 2013.
UTSA returns six letterwinners, including a pair of starters, from last year’s squad that posted an 18-14 record and finished third in the Southland Conference West Division with a 10-6 mark to advance to the postseason tournament for the fifth straight year.
Headlining the list of returnees is the trio of senior guards Michael Hale III and Kannon Burrage and junior forward Jeromie Hill.
Hale III started 24 games at the point and appeared in 31, averaging 9.9 points and a team-best 3.2 assists per contest. The Federal Way, Wash., native also registered a 1.71 assist-to-turnover ratio and 40 steals in his first season with the Roadrunners.
Burrage came off the bench in 28 of the 32 contests and led the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game. The East Moline, Ill., product drained 43 3-pointers, shot 78.9 percent (120-for-152) at the free-throw line and posted four 20-point outings en route to earning honorable mention All-Southland honors.
Hill followed an impressive freshman campaign by garnering second-team NABC All-District 23 and All-Southland accolades to go along with being chosen as Southland Student-Athlete of the Year. The Cairns, Australia, native recorded 12.5 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game and shot 48.6 percent from the floor, including 40.7 percent from behind the 3-point line.
UTSA also will receive a boost by the return of senior forward/center Larry Wilkins, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon tear last July. The San Antonio Madison High product started half of the 34 games in 2010-11 and averaged 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per outing, including 6.6 points and 7.0 boards during the final eight contests.
The junior duo of guard/forward Jordan Sims and forward Tyler Wood will provide depth and experience. Sims appeared in 30 games a year ago and led the team in scoring twice with 26 behind a 7-for-7 night from downtown against Jarvis Christian and 14 in the Cameron victory. Wood saw action in 26 contests and tallied 23 points, 23 boards, six assists, six steals and five blocks.
Thompson will look to a versatile class of nine newcomers to help the Roadrunners make the transition to the WAC.
Redshirt freshman guard A.J. Price has the edge in familiarity by spending all of last season with the program and the former three-time all-district performer at Class 5A powerhouse The Colony can play either the point or shooting guard.
Junior transfer Hyjii Thomas, who was the Region XIV Tournament MVP in helping Navarro College win that title and advance to the NJCAA Tournament, will see action at shooting guard. The Houston native averaged 8.7 points and 3.2 rebounds as a sophomore for the Bulldogs.
A pair of walk-on guards in senior Devon Augusi and sophomore Jeremy Hines will provide depth in the backcourt.
At 6-10 and 295 pounds, fellow Navarro College transfer Tank Mayberry will help beef up the front line. The Corpus Christi native averaged 16 points and eight rebounds for John Paul II High and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Also adding size up front will be junior Edrico McGregor and freshmen Phillip Jones and Lucas O’Brien.
McGregor, a 6-8 native of Nassau, Bahamas, posted 7.3 points and 4.8 boards per game and shot 59.6 percent as a sophomore at North Idaho College.
Jones, a 6-6 forward originally from Freeport, Bahamas, averaged 27 points and 12 boards as an all-state performer at Piney Woods (Miss.) High School.
O’Brien, a top-75 recruit, registered 14.3 points and seven rebounds per contest as a 6-10 center for Perry High in Chandler, Ariz.
Sophomore George Matthews must sit out the 2012-13 season per NCAA transfer rules after moving to UTSA from Utah. The top-50 national recruit was an all-state guard for Arizona prep power St. Mary’s High.