UMHB men’s basketball 2021-22 roster breakdown

BELTON, Texas- The 2021-22 UMHB men’s basketball roster has been released and it features a standout team, as the Cru enters the year ranked No. 12 in the nation, and the favorite to win the ASC title. 

The Crusaders bring back 11 players from last year’s team, as well as Darius Musa, who is now serving as a student assistant coach. 

Head coach Clif Carroll begins his second year at the helm of the program, after leading the Cru to a perfect 13-0 ASC record last season.

Below is a roster breakdown, highlighting some of the notable returners, newcomers and departures on the 2021-22 UMHB men’s basketball roster. 

THE BACKCOURT

The Returners

UMHB brings back one of the nation’s top guards in junior Josiah Johnson, who ranked third in the country in points per game last season (29.3 PPG), on his way to earning All-America honors and the 2020-2021 ASC Male Athlete of the Year award. His ability to both get to the free throw line and score in transition makes him a dangerous threat to all of UMHB’s opponents. Senior Carson Hammond is another outside scoring threat, as the Belton native shot 41.3 percent from the field last season and tallied 11.6 PPG. He also dished out 4.1 assists per game and was named to the 2021 ASC Preseason Watch List on Thursday. Additionally, sophomore Kobe Richardson returns, having played in all 20 games last year, starting 10 of them. The 6’0 guard averaged 4.2 PPG and shot 40.3 percent from three-point range.  Sophomore Gibson Hearne is another one of last year’s freshmen who saw plenty of action in the second half of the season, as he played in 18 games, starting six, with 6.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. He is listed as a guard/wing and is very versatile. Junior Kyle Wright returns for his second year with the Cru, after seeing action in 18 games last season. He made five starts, with 6.3 PPG and a total of nine steals. Graduate student Byrale Carter is back for a sixth collegiate season after missing much of the last two seasons with injuries. He started all six games he played in last season, averaging 11.2 points per contest. 

The Newcomers

UMHB picked up a number of high quality transfers this offseason, eight of which are guards. 

Payton Brooks comes from D-I Abilene Christian following one year with the Wildcats and Tyler Jarolik joins the Cru after a year at D-II UT Permian-Basin. Jarolik, a 6’0 guard from Troy, Texas averaged 24.6 PPG his senior year of high school on his way to district MVP honors. A third transfer is Junior Brady Boyd, who comes to UMHB by way of UT-Dallas. He saw action in nine games last season for the Comets, averaging 3.2 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game. Prior to that, he earned first-team all-conference honors at the JUCO level, playing two years at North Lake College. But Boyd is not the only player on this season’s roster to have transferred from another ASC program. Logan Blow comes in as a graduate transfer, making his second stint at UMHB. The 6’4 point guard from ETBU is dynamic with the basketball and a phenomenal free-throw shooter. He shot 85 percent from the free-throw line last season, the third-best mark in the ASC (conference play stats). A transfer not previously announced is Fredrick Shields, one of just two players on the roster born out of state (Louisiana). Shields played one year at Dyersburg Community College, where he tallied 8.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Interestingly, he was listed as a forward on Dyerburg’s roster, but is now listed as a guard at UMHB. Junior Trace Richey comes to Belton by way of Wayland Baptist, where he is not on record having played basketball, but did play football. He saw action at defensive back in all three seasons, and was a teammate of current UMHB linebacker Casey Buck.  Richey was all-state in football, basketball and baseball coming out of Borden County High School. 

When it comes to the freshmen, it features a group just as talented, though slightly younger. Braedyn Dawes begins his first collegiate season after a decorated high school career at Vista Ridge (Cedar Park, TX) where he scored over 1,000 points. Trent Feely is another freshman guard who could make an impact early, though playing time will be at a major premium with a roster as deep as this one. He played his high school career at Liberty Christian in Argyle, Texas.

The Departures

There were no notable departures at the guard position. 

The FRONTCOURT

The Returners

Ty Prince headlines the frontcourt entering this season, and was recently named to the ASC’s Preseason Watch List. The senior enters his second year with the Cru, as he played in 12 of UMHB’s games a year ago. In those 12 games, the 6’5 wing/forward posted two triple-doubles, and averaged 17.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore Sam Reaves should add some in the frontcourt, as the 6’5 wing/forward played solid defense in 20 games last season. It took him some time to find his rhythm offensively, but he ended the year with 2.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. 

The Newcomers

While D-III recruiting is not covered nationwide or always made public, it would not be far-fetched to consider UMHB’s incoming class of both transfers and freshmen as one of the best in the nation, especially in the post. The coaching staff brings two 6’7 standouts to Belton in sophomore forward Austin Jensen, a transfer from Otero Junior College and freshman Gannon Parker, a center from Richardson, Texas. Both move around the basket especially well and are strong on the boards. Nathan Stolz adds to the frontcourt depth, as the sophomore transfer from John Brown Univ. stands at 6’6 and can do a little bit of everything based on his film. He is listed as a forward, but could easily play on the wing, with a phenomenal outside shooting ability. Luke Feely is a third transfer, as the 6’4 wing/forward joins his younger brother Trent in Belton after two seasons at D-II Black Hills State. He was a two-star recruit coming out of Argyle High School and redshirted his first year at BHSU before sitting out of the 2019-20 season due to an injury. He did not play in college last season. 

The freshmen group includes 6’8 center Keegan Pugh, who was a standout on both ends of the floor at Navarro High School, and 6’6 forward Reagan Spenrath from El Campo, Texas. Each is incredibly agile with a great rebounding ability, especially offensively.

The Departures

Aedan Welch graduated after last season, in which he saw action in 20 games, starting 19 of them. The Liberty Hill, Texas native posted 8.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest, playing 29.2 minutes per game. Kobe Ollison and Ryan Hartman are the only other departures who played in more than 10 games. Ollison averaged 4.3 PPG and tallied seven blocks, while Hartman did not record a point and averaged just 1.0 rebound per game. 

UMHB opens the 2021-22 season on Nov. 9 in Belton, hosting Southwestern at 7 p.m. CT.

Riley Zayas serves as the managing editor of True To The Cru.. He has worked in sports journalism since 2016, and can be contacted at rileyzayas@truetothecru.com.

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