Denver Basketball Media Day in Review

Denver held their annual Basketball Media Day (video) yesterday with a bit more than a week to go before opening tip-off. The staffs from both the Men’s and Women’s teams were present and answered the media’s questions. Entering a new era for the men’s program and continuing to build the women’s program, there was no shortage of topics to discuss.

Men’s Hoops

The big question addressed by head coach Rodney Billups was changing the team’s playing style with the same players who were recruited to play in the more deliberate Princeton offense under Billups’ predecessor Joe Scott. He is also changing up the defensive philosophy from zone to pressure man-to-man and press. Essentially everything is new for this year’s team – except the uniforms, unfortunately.

“I’m going to coach these guys as if I recruited them because now they’re my guys,” Billups said. “We’ve got three new faces, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve got 15 new guys and we’re going to play the right way.”

But Billups is surely coming to the realization that this is not a quick fix, even with players that have clearly “bought in” and are “getting better every day.” Because, as he noted from his days as recruiting coordinator at CU, “You are only as good as the players you recruit.”

summit-media-day

Billups seemed much less concerned about Summit League play and more focused on nonconference tilts against three Mountain West foes, Texas A&M, and a host of other schools that will be measuring sticks.

One goal is clear: he expects to win every home game.

Daniel Amigo and Joe Rosga were present to field questions as well. Both are enthusiastic about the new system. Amigo is “in the best shape of [his] life” and prepared to be a featured player on this year’s squad. Rosga confirmed that the playing style will feature quick ball movement and look like CU’s playing style, which should come as no surprise.

DU Men will be scrimmaging New Mexico State this weekend in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The season opening tip-off is scheduled for Saturday, November 12th @ 7:00 PM at Magness Arena vs. Jacksonville. The Denver Alumni Association is holding a pre-game event at the Gold Club prior to the game from 5:30-7:00. Register here.

Women’s Hoops

cremeans
Coach Cremeans talks women’s hoops during Basketball Media Day

Women’s hoops head coach Kerry Cremeans’ big change this year is having a full contingent of 14 healthy players with six newcomers and a returning injured redshirt. Over the last seven years, they have had so many injuries that at times, they had difficulty fielding a team. Her philosophy has always been to play fast but that was impossible due to injuries over the course of the last two years. So in a sense, her squad will be in much the same position as the men’s team.

Two new players to follow are Jahla Osborne, a forward transfer from Army, and Lauren Loven, a shooting guard out of Scottsdale, Arizona.

The women open their season at Magness on Friday, November 11th @ 7:00 PM in a Veterans Day matchup against Air Force.

Both coaches cited the success of other athletic teams on campus, particularly lacrosse, men’s soccer, and hockey, as programs that inspire their teams and are putting some pressure on the basketball programs to do the same.

2 thoughts on “Denver Basketball Media Day in Review”

  1. The media are focused on the right concern for the men’s team. Only one of these 15 players was recruited to play this entirely new style of game, and he’s never played a single game of college basketball.

    The Pios are going to take a lot of lumps this year, and fans need to be ready for that.

    My guess is the women will take a lot of lumps, too. Kerry is a super nice person and an enthusiastic coach, but her record to date is well, dreadful. Certainly, injuries are a big part of that, but I would think she probably needs at least a .500 season to save her job. At the D-I level, you need to win games, and this DU program has gone backwards into irrelevance since Erik Johnson left for Boston College in 2012.

    Like

  2. Just watched the video. I’m fired up to see this year’s team. There will be a lot of growing pains, but I’m looking forward to seeing a fresh approach and new style under Coach Billups.

    Liked by 1 person

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