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Season Preview: 2018-19 Men's Basketball

Season Preview: 2018-19 Men's Basketball

DEARBORN, Mich. – Coming off its first Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament title and a trip to the NAIA Division II National Tournament, the University of Michigan-Dearborn men's basketball team will look to continue to stay on top of the WHAC and compete at a high level nationally in 2018-19.

"We are really excited about the experienced group coming back from a championship team, especially Cody Kegley, Mafiaion Joyner, and Xavier Crofford, who are all proven leaders and winners at the national level," fifth-year head coach Taylor Langley said.

What You Need to Know

  • The Wolverines will play 17 home games at the UM-Dearborn Fieldhouse this season.
  • The Wolverines closed out the 2017-18 season receiving votes in the NAIA rankings.
  • UM-Dearborn's roster is made up of five newcomers and 12 returners.
  • The 2018-19 schedule includes nine games against teams ranked in the top-25 of the NAIA Division II Preseason Coaches' Poll, including six against the top seven teams.
  • The Wolverines will play No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan University and No. 2 Indiana University-East early in the nonconference schedule.

Key Returners

  • Xavier Crofford: The returning senior started in 25 games for the Wolverines and was second on the team averaging 30.1 minutes. During the 2017-18 season, Crofford became the 11th Wolverine to reach 1,000 points for his career and will be relied upon as a senior leader in his fifth season with the team. About Crofford, Langley said, "He is the leader on and off the court. He has been incredibly consistent as a high-level guard in his time at UM-Dearborn and I'm looking forward to a great senior season for Xavier."
  • Mafiaion Joyner: Averaging 12.6 points per game last season, Joyner will look to build off a season that earned him All-WHAC Second Team honors. He led the Wolverines at the NAIA National Tournament, scoring a game-high 27 points, including six 3-pointers in an overtime loss in the first round. About Joyner, Langley said, "Mafiaion is one of the most intense competitors on the team and one of the best scorers I have had the opportunity to coach."
  • Cody Kegley: The junior guard had an outstanding sophomore season on his way to being named to the WHAC All-Conference Second Team. Kegley shot 41.6 percent from the field last season and played a vital role in the first ever WHAC Tournament Championship for the Wolverines. In the final, Kegley posted 16 points, going a perfect 8-for-8 from the line. He ranked fourth in the NAIA in total steals with 73. Langley said about Kegley, "He has the most intense work ethic I have had in a student-athlete. He sets the tone at practice and on game day, and is a positive example for his teammates to follow."

Fresh Faces

  • Jalen Paul: A transfer from Trine University, Paul brings experience to the Wolverines and will look to provide an immediate impact at the point guard position.
  • Ontario Burnett: A true freshman, Burnett comes to UM-Dearborn from Kalamazoo Central High School where he was named to the All-Conference team.
  • Zach Lattimer: Joining the Wolverines after a successful high school career. Lattimer shot 50 percent from behind the three-point line during his senior season and will look to give UM-Dearborn depth at the guard position.
  • Zac Chichester: The forward from Midland, Mich., enters his first year with the Wolverines as a true freshman. Chichester was named to the Second-Team All-State while at H. H. Dow High School.

"This group compliments each other really well, bringing unique skill sets to the game," Langley said. "Each will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the team."

Schedule at a Glance

  • The Wolverines open the 2018-19 season with a home game against Holy Cross College at 3 pm Saturday at the UM-Dearborn Fieldhouse.
  • The Wolverines will compete in the IWU Classic and Richmond Classic in November, which will include matchups with No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan and No. 2 IU-East.
  • The first WHAC game of the season is at Siena Heights University on Nov. 14.
  • The Wolverines first WHAC home game is against the University of Northwestern Ohio on Nov. 20.
  • UM-Dearborn hosts Rochester College in a rematch of the WHAC championship final last season on Dec. 8.
  • Senior Day is against Aquinas College on Feb. 16.