UDallas Men's Basketball Preview 2018-19 Season outlook


The University of Dallas men's basketball team begins the 2018-19 season on November 15 at Hendrix College. Head Coach and Dallas men's basketball alumni (BA '01) Jarred Samples will have to sort the puzzle of a young squad that nearly splits half returners (11) and newcomers (10) on a roster of 21.

Dallas graduated Emmanuel Calton from last season's team. His leadership anchored a team that reached the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament for the first time in two seasons.

Last season the Crusaders surpassed preseason predictions after being selected towards the bottom of the SCAC standings by rattling off seven wins in the first eight games that eventually resulted in a 15-11 record. Dallas also posted its highest SCAC win total with an 8-6 mark and tied two teams for 2nd in the standings.

The Crusaders averaged 79.6 points with three players averaging double figures for the season total. Of the trio back is Michael Wambsganss, who averaged 12.7 points and led the team in made three-pointers with 69. His 40.8 three-point percentage ranked 5th in the SCAC.

John Russell and Joshua Nunn also found themselves within the top-5 of the SCAC in a category, as Russell shot 50.9 percent from the field for 5th. Nunn boasted the best free throw percentage with an 88.0-clip.

The Crusaders also were strong on the glass: outrebounding opponents 994-906. Dallas also edged the opposition in blocks 114-92.


Samples reached 100 wins in his 10th season last year. That season also marked the longest tenure by a UD coach in the program. He enters the new campaign with 110 wins, and is one away from tying the all-time record that is held by his predecessor and own coach when at UD, Brian Stanfield.

Samples also returns two from his staff a year ago with assistant Matt Grahn (8th season) and the program's first graduate assistant, Chris Conaty (2nd season).



In addition to 10 true freshmen on the team, this Crusaders team only has one senior and four players altogether that are above sophomore status. Ben Norton is the lone senior, while Isaiah Hayes, Scott Bolen, and Logan Fruhwirth are the juniors. Fruhwirth and Hayes each have lettered once and played respectively in 33 and 28 games over two seasons. Norton played a personal-best 17 games in 2017-18.

The 17 others on the team that are either a freshman or sophomore has a solid mix from both groups. Nunn, Wambsganss, and Russell create the bulk of minutes from that class in one season. Dustin Mathis is another returner from a year ago that played in 21 games and averaged 6.1 minutes per contest. Others that were on the team last season include: Philip Ashton III, Maurice Compton, and Chance Lockhart.

Making up the newcomers are all true freshmen. This list features: Jai Love (who comes from same hometown and high school as Nunn), Zach Wagner, Khary Butler, Cameran Hyde, Uniikye Washington, Rashid Coombs, Brooks Boutwell, Ian Burns, LeTrell Toussaint, and Jacob Taylor.


Michael Wambsganss:

Wambsganss provided a spark off the bench his first season with Dallas, as he played in 25 games and appeared in 24 of them off the bench. Wambsganss is the lone SCAC All-Conference winner back on the team this season. Wambsganss notched 317 points (12.7 ppg), with 69 made three pointers. He was lethal from downtown, as he garnered a 40.8 shooting percentage from there. Wambsganss also added 91 rebounds, 42 assists, 20 steals, and seven blocks. He was another strong free throw shooter at 76.9 percent (50-65). Wambsganss eclipsed double-digits in scoring 16 times. This included finishing the year with 9-of-10 contests and an active eight-game streak.

Joshua Nunn:

Nunn appeared in all 26 games and emerged as a starter down the late stretch of the season with nine starts - including the SCAC Quarterfinals. Nunn totaled 191 points (7.3 ppg), 35 assists, and 21 steals. In conference, Nunn averaged 8.6 with 120 coming in those games. The conference free throw percentage leader logged a 50-for-56 mark in league games, and was 73-for-83 overall. The point guard did not attempt a free throw his first six games last year, but would make it to the line in 18-of-20. This included his last 10, where he shot 46-of-51 (90.1%).

John Russell:

Russell brings back the most experience in the post, with 26 starts in all games last season. He shot over 50 percent from the floor and logged 186 points (7.2 ppg), while averaging 20.2 minutes. Russell grabbed 115 rebounds, made 23 assists, swiped nine steals, and blocked eight shots. Russell reached double figures in nine outings. This included a pair of stretches where the 6-7 forward accomplished the feat three straight games.


December 1 vs. Millsaps College: Home opener for the Crusaders after a four contests away from the Maher Center to start the year. Last season, Dallas edged the Majors in its first game on the home court 73-68. UD will also play them back-to-back after squaring off in Jackson on November 25.

December 19 vs. Austin College: Geographically the closest SCAC opponent located in Sherman; the 'Roos will be at Dallas for the first home conference game. A year ago, UD dropped an 85-78 result despite erasing a large first-half gap. Prior to that, The Crusaders had won six straight head-to-head matchups in the friendly confines.

January 4 vs. Trinity University: Dallas starts 2019 with the preseason favorite in the conference this season. The Tigers grabbed four first-place votes with 55 points, and are coming off a season tied for second with UD. The Crusaders have had recent success in the Maher Center against Trinity, winning four straight dating back to the 2014-15 season.

February 5 vs. Centenary College: This matchup will be in the midst of a four-game home stand and 6-of-7 stretch of games in Irving. The Gents were selected 2nd in the preseason polls, so this should be another tough opponent late in the year. These teams split last season, with Dallas grabbing a home victory 83-78 in last year's shootout.

February 9 vs. Schreiner University: The final home game of 2018-19 will be the first matchup of the season with the Mountaineers, as the squads play in Kerrville the following weekend (final one of regular season). Schreiner won the regular season the last two years and was the 2017-18 SCAC Tournament Champion. Dallas did knock off the top team of the league 95-83 on its home court.

(*Of Note: Dallas will play all 3 of its home conference games against top-4 teams picked in the SCAC preseason Coaches' Poll). Texas Lutheran was the other not mentioned above. All three teams received at least one 1st place vote).


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