IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team takes the court in six days at Hendrix College. Jarred Samples ('01) begins his ninth season at the helm for the Crusaders, who are looking to improve on a 10-15 record last season. This included a 4-10 mark in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) play.
A 25-man roster is projected for Dallas this year, with 13 newcomers vying for time to make an impact. However, five of the 12 returners were the top scorers on the squad in 2015-16 and four of them averaged double-digit points per contest.
Headlining that quartet is Michael Sarrat (Colleyville, Texas), who accumulated a career-high 321 points and averaged 12.8 points-per-game (ppg). Both numbers led the team and the three-year letterwinner shot a team-best 41.7 percent from downtown.
Sarrat was on the SCAC Media Day call with his head coach and was asked on what he was looking to improve on.
"Just trying to have an overall approach to the game," Sarrat answered. "Last year I kind of focused a lot more on scoring then a lot of other things…this year I am trying to be that overall leader both on and off the court. Do every little thing I possibly can to make this team better during practice and during games."
The other player that boasts three letters is Lorenzo Gonzalez (San Antonio, Texas). The point guard set personal bests in shooting (12.0) and passing (4.5 assists per game) and scored exactly 300 points. Gonzalez's assists average ranked second in the SCAC and he tied fifth in steals per game with a 1.5-clip.
Tom Kaiser (Nashville, Tenn.) ranked third in the league with 8.3 rebounds per game. Along with leading the team with that average, Kaiser totaled a team-high in rebounds (192) – which also slated him fifth in SCAC. The current senior forward blocked 33 shots and averaged 1.4 to slot fourth in conference. Kaiser rounded out the top trio of scorers with 11.0 ppg and totaled 245. All of these numbers were personal bests.
The top trio mentioned above each garnered SCAC all-conference accolades and surpassed 500 career points. Sarrat was tabbed with United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) All-American and Kaiser qualified to his second consecutive USCAA All-Academic Team.
Other returners that contributed their freshmen seasons include: Prince Giadolor (Rockwall, Texas) and Darrius Colvin (Waco, Texas). Giadolor completes the quartet of players that averaged double figures in scoring with 10.7 ppg. He started his career with five-of-six games eclipsing 10 points with the lone miss being eight. Colvin amassed 165 points, including 93 against conference foes. The current sophomore earned 11 starts in his 25 appearances and was only other player above 10 blocks with 13.
Rory MacCallum (Golden, Colo.) grabbed 101 boards for second on UD. In 18 games, the current junior also contributed seven blocks, 94 points, and recorded two double-doubles in two of the final three games that year. Victor Garate (Austin, Texas) tossed in 14 three-pointers last season, but was good from downtown in 2014-15. That season, the guard popped 22-of-47 for a 46.8-clip, and all but one field goal came from long range. Emmanuel Calton (Keller, Texas) logged 13 starts in 24 appearances. He was third on the team with 19 steals and tied with MacCallum in blocks. Calton also dished 36 dimes.
"It is nice to have returners back that have played a lot of minutes, because they are guys you can point to to the younger guys to show what we need to do both on the court and off the court," Head Coach Jarred Samples praised. "They have been great leaders to the young guys and should make the transition a little bit easier for the younger guys just from watching them."
Coach Samples will have plenty of newcomers to mix in as well this season. Listed in this group are: Scott Bolen (Houston, Texas), Xavier Cannon (Humble, Texas), Nicholas Cervanka (Duncanville, Texas), Jacob DelAngel (Bridgeport, Texas), Logan Fruhwirth (Waynesville, Ohio), Isaiah Hayes (Arlington, Texas), Tristan Hixon (San Marcos, Calif.), Parker Lister (Plano, Texas), Jason Morales (Weslaco, Texas), Jarred Osnes (Fayetteville, Ark.), Johnathan Page (DeSoto, Texas), Tyrone Richardson (Waco, Texas), and Matthew Richelsen (Medina, Minn.).
"The thing about the freshmen is those guys bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm which is nice in that some of those guys bring different skills to the table that should help us this year," Coach Samples mentioned.
The veteran coach looks for his team to just improve each day, and take it one at a time in order to be successful.
"Focus on the day-to-day things to get better every single day and taking care of the details, Coach Samples concluded. "And hopefully by improving those little things day-to-day it helps you reach those long term goals."
"The big thing this season is just trying to improve everyday so that by the time we reach the end of the season we are playing our best basketball, Sarrat added. "Especially during conference, you want to be playing the best you can possibly play…I think if we can really come through on the details, we can have a really successful season as a team."