Men’s basketball enters season with questions


Julia Maenius

Cedric Alley Jr. throws down a thunderous dunk during a game last season. Alley Jr. will be asked to step up in a big way this season after averaging 6.3 points, 4.4 rebound, and one assist a game a season ago.

Julia Maenius, Assistant Sports Editor

The UTSA men’s basketball season is set to kick off their 2021-22 season tonight in a crosstown matchup against the Trinity Tigers. The 7:30 p.m. tipoff available on C-USA TV is set following the first game in the men’s and women’s double header in the Convocation Center.

The Roadrunners concluded the 2020-21 season 15-11 with a Conference USA record of 9-7. Recording their 14th consecutive conference tournament appearance last season, UTSA closed the season with a second-round performance at the Conference USA Championship in Frisco. 

The ‘Runners return nine letter winners from last season, including four-star recruit center Jacob Germany, Italian power forward Erik Czumbel and C-USA All-Freshman Team nominee Jordan Ivy-Curry. Also returning on the roster card is forward Cedrick Alley Jr., Australian forward Lachlan Bofinger, redshirt senior forward Phoenix Ford, guard Artan Jabbar, glue man forward Adrian Rodriguez and sophomore guard Isaiah Addo-Ankrah.

Germany, the 6’11 junior from Kingston, Okla., has played in 57 contests during his two seasons for UTSA. Establishing himself as the starting center early in his career, Germany averaged 10.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and played 21.2 minutes per game. The southpaw recorded double figure performances in 13 games during the 2020-21 season with five double-double games. 

Czumbel, a junior native to Verona, Italy, will be running much of the point following the graduation of guards Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace. Czumbel has started in 31 games as a Roadrunner. With a focus on his long range, Czumbel made 38.5 percent of his three point attempts last season, recorded 4.1 points and averaged 2.3 assists per game. 

Ivy-Curry brings the “Juice” to the ‘Runners’ roster. Averaging 7.2 points per game with 2.8 rebounds. The backcourt presence averaged 19.9 minutes per game shooting 40.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from the 3-point range. 

The ‘Runners welcome seven newcomers to the Convocation Center with new faces in Darius McNeill, Aleu Aleu, Dhieu Deing, Josh Farmer, Azavier Johnson, Lamin Sabally and Christian Tucker. 

A former four-star recruit from Houston, McNeill highlighted his freshman season at Cal with 67 made 3-point shots. He averaged 11.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game for the Bears. Coming to UTSA from SMU, McNeill led the American Athletic Conference play last season in 3-point shooting at 45 percent. The guard averaged 7.3 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Mustangs. 

The ‘Runners will host 18 games this season in the Convocation Center. With nine conference and non-conference matchups, UTSA will host a slate of national opponents, including non-conference opponents Trinity, Texas A&M-Commerce, Denver, IUPUI, Texas A&M- Corpus Christi, Lamar, St. Mary’s, UTRGV and Our Lady of the Lake. UTSA is 58-18 on their home court under head coach Steve Henson, who enters his sixth season at the helm.

The team will hit the road following the Trinity matchup to face Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. In their southern travels, the team will be Grand Canyon viewing in Phoenix, Ariz. at GCU before taking it to the north to face Illinois State.

The ‘Runners will kick off their conference slate Dec. 30 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. to take on the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders before jetting to Birmingham, Ala. for a face off against the UAB Blazers. The first C-USA of the season will be Jan. 6 when the ‘Runners host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. 

Following their trip to Oklahoma, the ‘Runners will return to the Convocation Center to host the UTSA Multi-Team Event. IUPUI, Texas A&M-Commerce, Denver and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will enter the Bird Cage for a week-long slate of games. UTSA is set to tipoff against the Denver Pioneers on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m.