The Todd Howard era finally gets underway and this time the games and the stats will count. After winning both exhibition games the IUPUI Jaguars will tip of their regular season against the Anderson University Ravens. With all due respect to the Ravens, tonight’s game will have the look and feel of a regular season game, but this should be a cupcake for the Jags. The two teams are meeting for the 3rd straight year, but this game is a IUPUI regular season game for the first time since 1997. IUPUI has won the last two years by an average margin of 25 points. The game counts for the Jags, but it’s an exhibition for the visitors. Tonight I expect a win and don’t expect too many questions to be answered. The real test will be on Tuesday night when the Jaguars hit the road to play Arkansas Little Rock.
A NEW ERA
Coach Howard is not changing much, but he is making sure that the program reflects his style and beliefs. The tradition and rock solid foundation that was laid down by Ron Hunter is still there with a little tweaking by the new head coach. First there was the first ever open Red-White Scrimmage and a few days later he invited every former player to take in a Saturday morning practice. That was a huge hit with the team and the players. (A more indepth look at that practice will be coming your way early next week.) So Todd has added some new events, but the one thing everyone will notice this season is the new uniforms.
The uniforms have been changed for the first time in several seasons and the team will sport white, black, and gold uniforms. The new uniforms are by NIKE and the players absolutely love them. Alex Young likes the change. “The uni’s are smooth and comfy and what I like is this has a coach Howard look to it. The new look says it’s a new time and the coach Howard era is here”
Howard is trying to become the first IUPUI head coach to win his debut since Mel Garland won his debut in 1979. Now, to be fair only two other coaches have been on sidelines since Garland was the head coach. Bob Lovell lost his debut in 1982 and Hunter fell in his debut back in 1994.
The team will be busy once the season tips tonight. They will play Tuesday at Little-Rock then a week from tonight against Horizon League foe Milwaukee. Less than 48 hours after tipping off in Milwaukee the fellas will be home for a Sunday afternoon game vs. Eastern Michigan. Wednesday November 23rd is the first of two match-ups against Ball State and three days later it’s back home for Texas Southern. November concludes with a trip to DC against the Georgetown Hoyas. Add it all up and including tonight the Jaguars will play 7 times over the next 18 days.
MAKING HIS CASE:
All eyes this season will be on Summit League preseason player of the year Alex Young. AY5 joins George Hill as the only player to take home the preseason honors. Here is where he ranks among the university’s all-time greats:
Carlos Knox ’94-’98 2,556
Aldray Gibson ’83-’87 2,454
Jesse Bingham ’85-’89 1,928
Alex Young ’08-present 1,633
–couple of things on this list…Knox is the untouchable number and he is did it in only THREE SEASONS. Plus, how good was the Gibson/Bingham duo in the mid-eighties?
Alex pulled down 211 rebounds a year ago. He enters this season with 479 career rebounds. Another season of 200 boards and he will end up his career in the top 5.
Don Carlisle ’97-’01 769
Brandon Cole ’02-’06 703
Jesse Bingham ’85-’89 703
Charles Price ’97-’02 688
Tony Long ’87-’91 639
Alex Young (13th) ’08-present 479
Minutes Played (D1 only):
Brandon Cole ’02-’06 3,717
Leroy Nobles ’07-’11 3,479
Matt Crenshaw ’00-’04 3,477
Alex Young (7th) ’08-present 3,053
–AY totaled over 1200 minutes during the 2010-2011 season, so it’s a pretty good bet that he will be the all-time leader in minutes played. He could eclipse the mark on January 12 at home vs. Southern Utah.
You can see where Young ranks in some pretty heavy categories. Another number for you…Young and Christian Siakam (5th year Senior) have been a part of 60 wins in their
career. Not sure where that ranks in the all-time D1 list, but wouldn’t it be nice to see them end up with 85 for their career?
Senior Stephen Thomas is not expected to play tonight, but he may suit up for Tuesday’s game at Little-Rock. “I have been living in the training room from sun up to sun down. I’m feeling better each day and my goal is play on Tuesday.” The point guard severly sprained his right ankle at the end of the first exhibition game. The timeline has always been 2-3 weeks and if he plays on Tuesday that puts him in the 2 week category. Thomas is working hard, but it still may not be enough. Coach Howard is cautiously optimistic. “He is feeling better, but when you are coming back you can feel great and then plateau. We need to make sure that he isn’t at the plateau and to him 50% feels like 100% when it clearly is not. Once he can prove to the Jess (Jessica Shaefer, IUPUI Athletic Trainer) that he is healthy and improving we will give him a look.”
WHERE CAN I FIND THE GAME?
Tonight’s game can be watched online at IUPUIJAGS.com and you can hear the play-by-play for free at WNDE.com. Due to a prior scheduling conflict this game will not be on the radio dial. It was expected and you can expect to find the Jags on their new home 1260 am on Tuesday night from Little-Rock.