DU Finalizes Men’s Hoops Roster, Headed to Summer Practice

Squeaky shoes and bouncing balls begin this week with the start of summer practice for DU men’s hoops.

DU men’s basketball will roll out their first ever 7’0″ player in the post 1998 D-I era, they will christen an all-state Illinois prep guard, and they close the career of senior standout Tommy Bruner at the point. Added to this mix is upgraded perimeter firepower. Still, a host of questions remain around the starting five and first-in players but one question remains: Will head coach Jeff Wulbrun continue to elevate DU’s fortunes on the hardwood?

Denver finalized its roster last week with the announced additions of redshirt freshman 6’0″ guard Devin Carney from Duquesne and forward 6’7″ Isaiah Addo-Ankrah from the University of Texas – San Antonio. These two student-athlete additions complete the Denver roster for 2023-24.

It is clear with the new additions that head coach Wulbrun is stocking the team with solid shooters, especially from the three-point line. Perimeter play and versatility will be signature trademarks of the team, anchored inside by big man 7’0″ Isiah Carr and 6’9″ stat-stuffer Touko Tainamo.

Carney, from Butler, Pa., could emerge from a crowded backcourt to play alongside point guard Tommy Bruner. Carney was a big-time scoring threat in high school with 2,000 points and Wulbrun has labeled him an “elite three-point shooter” – something the Pioneers sorely lacked last season. Wulbrun is determined to remedy outside scoring with his new cast of student-athletes. Two starting quality guards must emerge from the 2023-24 backcourt group to partner with Bruner.

Newcomers Jaxon Brenchley from Utah, Tyson Graff from Salt Lake Community College and Josh Lee from Itawamba CC have all shown the ability to score from distance. Solid defensive skills and working within the scheme, ultimately, will be the tiebreaker on who earns playing time during the regular season. High-scoring freshman guard DeAndre Craig rounds out the new faces following an outstanding prep career in Chicago.

Returning 6’8” sophomore German guard Dan Mukuna can play the perimeter or play low to create mismatches along with guard Ben Bowen who earned valuable minutes in relief last season.

Forwards Isaiah Addo-Ankrah and Pedro Lopez-Sanvicente will back up Carr and Tainamo. Denver’s depth up front will be a tested with little margin for injuries but, overall, the Pioneers should make up for that at the perimeter. Expect Denver to play a bit more zone this season to avoid mismatches, minimize foul trouble for their front line, and use Carr’s size to neutralize Summit League opponents.

The coaching staff has until late fall to sort out the starting lineups and substitution patterns. Until then, the backcourt competition should be an interesting battle to follow.

Photo of Devin Carney courtesy of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

6 thoughts on “DU Finalizes Men’s Hoops Roster, Headed to Summer Practice”

  1. It will be interesting to see how DU improves defensively. Last year, the Pios were ranked in the bottom quartile nationally at #304 out of the 352 teams in DI team defense at 75.1 PPG given up. I think the level of struggle to grasp the defensive concepts they were teaching probably surprised the coaches last year, and I am sure they are probably changing some aspects of their teaching, given all the new faces this year.

    If DU can cut the opponents’ offensive output by 5 PPG (down to about 70 PPG – which is about the halfway point in the national rankings), I think the Pios will be a much more dangerous team, assuming these new three-point shooters are an upgrade over last year, where DU ranked #260 in three point percentage at 32%.

    If the Pios’ can upgrade to a 35% average on three point percentage, I think that will put them into the top third nationally, and when coupled with an improved 70 PPG defense, that kind of scoring margin change might just be the sparks to put them into 20-win territory.

    We’ll see.

    We just don’t know how good these new players are…

  2. Anxious to see DU’s 2023- 24 basketball schedule and if Magness Arena will return as a home court for men’s basketball for a couple games!

  3. DU averaged 1,000-1200 fans per game last season and Hamilton Holds 2,500. Unless they have a team like Gonzaga (unlikely) they will be in Hamilton again – instead of 6,500 seat Magness. There are supposed to be some upgrades to Hamilton but, long term, DU needs another gym for basketball, gymnastics and VB with 3,500 capacity. Magness is too big and Hamilton was built, largely, as a practice facility.

  4. Looks to be one of their better rosters in a while, congrats to the coaching staff. Especially one that has two new additions to it.
    Looks like in addition to the Summit-Big Sky Series where DU plays Northern Colorado (away) and Idaho State (home), they are playing in the South Alabama Tournament, where Nicholls State and one other TBA school will be playing.
    Should be a fun year for both men’s and women’s DU basketball!

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