Senior Jake Pemberton leads resurgent Denver Men’s Hoops squad

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In case you missed it, DU men’s basketball (10-12 overall, 4-4 Summit) thrashed league-leading South Dakota at Magness Arena by 16 points Saturday afternoon, 84-68.

Joe Rosga scored Denver’s first 13 points and Daniel Amigo did his usual damage on both the offensive and defensive end. But, it came as little surprise to those who watched the game that senior Jake Pemberton was the player of the game – and a key player going forward as Denver has won three of their past four league games.

Pemberton shut down South Dakota’s all-conference guard Matt Mooney with 14 points on 4 of 14 shooting from the field and lit the Coyotes up with 22 points.

Major praise came from coach Rodney Billups: “Halfway through league play, and we have seen all the teams, [Pemberton] is the best defender on our team and I think in this league. And his energy and his effort and toughness makes our team go. He gives us energy to be in the gap, to take charges, to go up vertical, and make guys take tough shots.”

The chart below shows how Pemberton has become more and more of a factor in Denver’s recent resurgence:

Jake Pemberton – Points, Rebounds & Assists

A former head coach Joe Scott recruit, Pemberton was named first-team All-State as a senior at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch. A skinny guard at 6’3″, he was lightly recruited. However, his defensive prowess was obvious from the start and he was named the Pioneers’ Defensive Player of the Year last season. However, his entire floor game, especially on offense, is benefiting from Rodney Billups system this season. He is scoring 11.5 points per game, is tied for second on the team in assists (55), leads the team in steals (29), and is shooting .500 from beyond the arc with the best 3-point shooting percentage on the team.

The Pioneers fell below expectations early in the season but seem to be gaining confidence and settling on starting line-ups and substitutions patterns. Denver plays four of their next six conference games at home. So, the Pioneers have a realistic chance to secure third place if they can slip past North Dakota State which holds a half-game advantage. That would give Denver their highest conference tournament seed since joining the Summit League.

3 thoughts on “Senior Jake Pemberton leads resurgent Denver Men’s Hoops squad”

  1. Good article. Pemberton has been great of late, and he’s turning into the senior leader that the Pios will need down the stretch. Would like to see Daniel Amigo also add more senior leadership to his game, as he’s playing for his final kick at college basketball, and for his professional future (likely abroad). Additionally, senior Christian Mackey has been effective in a reduced role, and he’s another leader the Pios need to rely on as the league race for the likely lone Summit NCAA bid heats up.

    The one most comforting thing about this latest DU upturn is that we’re seeing that Billups and his assistants can clearly coach well at this level. DU doesn’t yet have all the athletes to run the system that Rodney wants to run, but the Pios are winning anyway. That’s in part because Joe Scott was a better recruiters than people give him credit for, and also because Billups and his team of coaches are developing these players, which didn’t seem as apparent earlier in the season. These guys are getting better and the results prove it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Team on a upswing for sure. Beating a good team when Amigo has an off games is impressive. Murkey’s athleticism seems to have turbo charged the team. Game at Ft. Wayne will be interesting. They have one of the leading scorers in the country. Do we try and stop him or do we let him get his points and shut down everyone else?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Guard Bryson Scott is the leading scorer for Fort Wayne and the Summit League with 22.8 ppg. – ahead of Mike Daum! This looks like another assignment for Pemberton to see if he can hold Scott down. Should be interesting to watch.


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