Breaking down the 2022-23 roster for No. 2 UMHB men’s basketball

BELTON- With the season opener at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps less than a week away, the UMHB men’s basketball team has released its roster, composed of a number of key returners, intriguing transfers and talented freshmen. The nation’s No. 2 team and the pick to win the ASC title, plenty of attention is on the Crusaders as the season begins. 

Here is a breakdown of who will make up one of D-III men’s basketball’s national powers in 2022-2023.

Editor’s Note: This roster breakdown is sorted into three categories by position: guards, wings, forwards/centers. Within those categories are the subcategories of returners, newcomers, and departures, giving you an in-depth look at the roster.

The Guards

The Returners

UMHB brings back the majority of its core, with All-American Josiah Johnson, and All-ASC guard Kyle Wright each entering their third year in Belton. Gibson Hearne also returns for his junior year, and these three form a strong backcourt that has been formed over the previous two years since all arrived in head coach Clif Carroll’s first season at the helm of the program. 

Johnson’s list of accolades is long, amongst those honors being the 2021-22 Region 10 Player of the Year and ASC Player of the Year. The guard ranked seventh in the nation in points per game last season, at 24.4 per game. He also shot 88.2 percent from the free-throw line in 30 games. 

Wright is a quality defender who had 51 steals last season in 26 starts. He averaged 7.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. 

Hearne played in 28 contests last season as a sophomore, starting 12 of them, and despite averaging just 16.1 minutes per game, in part due to injury, the Cisco, Texas native contributed with averages of 3.6 points and 3.5 rebounds. 

Payton Brooks, one of only two Crusaders and the only guard to have played in all 31 games last season, returns for his sophomore year. The 6’2 guard is an exceptional three-point shooter, who was 34.5 percent from beyond the arc a year ago. DJ Kane could also have an impact, after averaging 4.5 points and dishing out 48 total assists last season. 

Braedyn Dawes, who initially began the year on the JV squad, played a big role in UMHB’s exhibition performances at UT-Arlington and Stephen F. Austin last year, and returns for his sophomore year. The Cedar Park, Texas native played in 28 games last season, with 70 total points. 

Adding to the list of returners in the backcourt are seniors Trace Richey and Bryson Laird, juniors Kobe Richardson, Jacob Paske and Kellar Owens, and sophomore Tyler Jarolik and Trent Feely

The Newcomers

UMHB brings in four newcomers at the guard position, three of which are true freshmen.

Hudson Johnson scored over 1,000 career points at Stony Point High School in Round Rock, and is the son of Jared Johnson, a UMHB football Hall of Honor inductee. He was also a First-Team All-District selection as a senior. 

Tyce Gentry, who committed on March 3, is also a true freshman addition to the backcourt. Gentry was an SB Live Third Team All-State selection as a senior, leading Brock High School to an appearance in the 3A Regional Finals. 

Former Hutto High School standout Kaden Smart is the third true freshman joining the backcourt. The 6’2, 150 lb guard averaged 16.3 points per game as a high school senior.

Tra Snell is the lone transfer in the group, coming from D-II Texas A&M-Kingsville. A Waco, Texas native, he was a three-time TABC All-Region selection at Connally High School. Snell is listed as a senior on the roster.

The Departures

This is a short list, as Carson Hammond is the only player who saw action in 10 or more games that will not be back for this season, after graduating. He is currently an assistant coach at Howard College. Hammond came up with a number of huge shots in the NCAA Tournament run, averaging 13.5 points per game in that four-game span. He started 25 contests for the Cru a year ago, and shot 48.7 percent from three-point range, the highest mark on the team. Hammond averaged 9.0 points and 2.97 assists per game in his senior year. 

Fredrick Shields, who played in just six games, averaging 2.2 points per game, is also not on the roster. 

The Wings

Players who can play either inside or on the perimeter, the group at this position has both size and solid shooting range. Headlined by Ty Prince, the 2022 ASC Tournament MVP, the wings will be important to UMHB’s success this season. 

Editor’s Note: Several of these players are listed as W/F on the roster. In order to break things down easier, we have listed these players as wings.

The Returners

Prince, one of three Crusaders named to the ASC Preseason Watch List, will return for his senior year, and third with the program. Listed at 6’5, 215 lbs, Prince was a All-Region honoree last season, averaging 17.1 points per game. He also led the Cru in assists and blocks, starring at both ends of the floor. 

Between Prince and Luke Feely (6’4, 210 lbs), UMHB will boast one of the nation’s best one-two punches, as Feely is also poised for a big junior season. A break-out performer last year, Feely led the team in rebounds (6.2/game), and averaged 11.5 points per game on his way to a Third-Team All-Conference selection. He was also selected to the ASC’s Preseason Watch List last week. 

Sam Reaves is back for his third season at UMHB, one of the few who has been with the program since Carroll’s first year as head coach. A contributor throughout last season, Reaves played in 21 games, making five starts. His presence on the defensive end makes him especially valuable to UMHB’s roster. 

Chase Glasper, a Longview, Texas native, returns for his junior year. He has played in 12 career games with the Cru.

The Newcomers

The coaching staff brought in three transfers at this position, as well as a talented Central Texas freshman.

Zachary Engels is the fourth true freshman in this recruiting class, hailing from nearby Westwood High School in Austin. Engels committed on April 18, and established himself as a top-tier defender in the high school ranks, earning the honor of District 25-6A Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. 

As for the transfers, it is a trio with proven past success. UMHB is one of the few D-III programs with an incoming power conference transfer, as Louisville’s Andrew Schultz joins the program. A 6’4, 205 lb sophomore, Schultz walked on at Louisville, an ACC program, where he played for two seasons. He suffered a knee injury in a Nov. 24 practice last year that kept him out for the remainder of the season. 

Kaleb Crandall made a transfer within the ASC, coming from ETBU for his sophomore year. A Katy, Texas product, Crandall played two seasons for the Tigers, seeing action in 21 games in 2021-22. He tallied 16 points, 22 rebounds and 12 assists in 173 minutes. 

Marc Donahue comes to Belton after playing at both Oklahoma Christian and Jacksonville College previously. A 6’7, 170 lb Houston native, Donahue averaged 11.9 points, and 5.7 rebounds during the 2019-20 season at Jacksonville, before significant Injuries kept him off the floor for the last two seasons. 

The Forwards/Centers

The Returners

Nathan Stolz headlines the returners in the frontcourt, as the senior stepped up in his first year in Belton last season. He played in 29 games, making four starts, and displayed exceptional shooting range. He had a season-high 19 points in UMHB’s narrow ASC Tournament win over Concordia on Feb. 24, and shot 31 percent from behind the three-point line. 

Austin Jensen, one of only players on the roster whose home state is not Texas, is also back for his second year. The Granada, Colorado native played sparingly in 10 games last season, but totaled nine rebounds, two blocks and four points. 

The other two returners are both centers, in Keegan Pugh, and Gannon Parker. Both developed with the JV squad last season, but each saw varsity action as well by the season’s end. At 6’7, 245 lbs, Parker was a force inside when on the court, and played in 10 games. Pugh (6’8, 225 lbs), played in four contests as a true freshman. 

The Newcomers

Separating the wings from the forwards and centers makes this a small group. UMHB brings in just two newcomers at these positions, freshmen Dylan Jackson and Connor Zamiara

Zamiara, also on the football roster at UMHB, is a freshman in terms of eligibility, though UMHB is his third school. Originally a tight end for the University of Maine (D-I, FCS), Zamiara has size at 6’6 230 lbs. He transferred to St. John Fisher (D3) after redshirting at Maine in 2019. Covid then canceled the 2020-21 season at SJF. Zamiara is the other Crusader from out-of-state, as Zamiara’s hometown is Rochester, New York. 

Jackson, a 6’8, 195 lb forward, played at Sante Fe High School in Houston, where he was an All-District selection. 

The Departures

Jamal Dilworth graduated after two seasons at UMHB. He played in seven games a year ago. Cody Lemley and Reagan Spenrath, both freshmen who did not see game action in 2021-22, are also not on the roster. 

For a look at UMHB’s 2022-2023 schedule, check out the article below.

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