Fan Jam, Summit League Teleconference, & Preseason Picks

Photo: Denver dance team at Fan Jam

Tuesday Night Fan Jam 

Denver Basketball held their annual Fan Jam Wednesday night with the men’s and women’s teams. It was an entertaining event with fan interaction and player contests. Billups team looks to be in high spirits and ready to go with the season less than one month away. 

Athletic freshman forward Ade Murkey looks like the real deal and put on a show during the dunk contest. Of course, customary for any basketball fan event, there was the fan shot attempt from mid-court for $500 (it wasn’t made) The team looks loose and confident after all the off-season changes. Joe Rosga is poised to be DU’s best player on the floor after polishing his game with Athletes in Action in Italy. Jake Pemberton, the team’s best perimeter defender, is in a boot for another week or two but should be ready for the start of the season. Daniel Amigo appears more relaxed than ever and C.J. Bobbitt has put on 20 pounds of muscle during the summer.

It’s an exciting time for Denver basketball, despite returning only one (Joe Rosga) of their top three scorers from last year as the team rolls out a new coaching staff, a new system, and players are working from a clean slate.

Summit League Coaches Teleconference Highlights

Coach Rodney Billups talked about his Denver squad during the Summit League coaches’ conference call earlier in the day. Which of the following did he NOT say?

  • Denver’s preseason breakout player is 6’11” junior Daniel Amigo. He is in great condition, playing fast, and can post-up with a great shot
  • Denver’s three freshmen, Ade Murkey, Luke Neff, and Jake Krafka have impressed Billups – especially with their ability to play up-tempo.
  • Sophomore C. J. Bobbitt has a great chance to make first or second team Summit All-League teams by the end of this season.
  • If this team plays DU basketball, they should go undefeated at home in their non-conference schedule.

*He did not say C. J. Bobbitt will make the first or second all-conference team. But what head coach is going to show all his cards during a call with fellow coaches? Bobbitt has added muscle and has another year of experience. Expect big things from C.J. this season along with the usual production from Joe Rosga. And yes, Daniel Amigo seems to have a new basketball life under Billups. There may be other upperclassmen, such as Duke Douglas, who see even more playing time in 2016-2017.

Denver picked to finish 8th in the Summit League poll

Denver basketball was picked to finish a tepid 8th in the Summit League poll of coaches, athletic directors, and media. Fort Wayne took the top spot followed by defending champion South Dakota State University and North Dakota State. Who can blame them? DU is a bit of a mystery team. That is one of the things that is going to make this season so interesting.

basketball-joe-rosga-2
Photo: DU super sophomore Joe Rosga (#2) selected to the Summit League second team.

Here’s the best guess for Summit League poll voters:

SUMMIT LEAGUE MEN’S BASKETBALL

2016-17 PRESEASON POLL

Place

Team

Points (1st place votes)

1.

Fort Wayne

491 (18)

2.

South Dakota State

424 (9)

3.

North Dakota State

422 (4)

4.

Omaha

352

5.

IUPUI

331 (1)

6.

Oral Roberts

199

7.

South Dakota

176

8.

Denver

150

9.

Western Illinois

107

Big man Mike Daum from South Dakota State University was selected as the Preseason Summit League Player of the Year. He averaged 17.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per league game during his freshman year. Denver sophomore Joe Rosga was named to the Preseason Summit League Second team.

While most don’t place any value in preseason polls, the Summit preseason favorite has won at least a share of the regular season title in 12 of the last 17 years so the league prediction may be representative of what to expect – except for DU, of course.

SB Nation Preseason Power Rankings was more ‘optimistic’ and picked the Pios to finish 6th. Losing two of their three big scorers (Nate Engesser and Marcus Byrd graduated) are viewed as ‘key losses’ and the development of Joe Rosga, the addition of freshman Ade Murkey, and new head coach Rodney Billups are seen as keys to a brighter future.

Last season, the underrated Summit League had the third-best RPI of any mid-major and posted a .716 nonconference record against its mid-major peers.

We will release a preseason analysis of Denver hoops and generate a quarterly report card again this year. While this will be a development year for the Pioneers under new coach Rodney Billups, this Denver team is sure to have higher expectations than finishing 8th for the new staff’s inaugural campaign.


Tip-off for DU’s 2016-17 season is slated for November 12th against Jacksonville at Magness Arena. Stay tuned for our preseason article outlining expectations for the DU Men’s Basketball team.

One thought on “Fan Jam, Summit League Teleconference, & Preseason Picks”

  1. Eighth place is probably a fair assessment. All of these players, with the exception of Ade Murkey, were NOT recruited to play a running style offense at the D-I level. They all played running offenses in school and AAU ball, but to expect success running at the D-I college level is a different expectation. Added to the system change, where the coaches didn’t choose most of these guys is that the fact there are NO playing seniors on the team. Add it all up, and it looks like a 8-10 win season would be a significant achievement this year. It’s going to take Rodney at least 3-4 years to get his own recruits and systems in place, so we DU fans need to be patient.

    All that said, all I care about this year is watching them play hard – for each other, for the school and for the fans. If they play the game with joy, integrity and effort, the inevitable bad results won’t matter to me this year, or even next year. Of course, Billups can get more out of them than an eighth place finish, the year will be a huge success in my mind.

    Like

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