WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team has been picked ninth in the newly-released Division III 2020-21 preseason national rankings from Basketball Times magazine, a monthly print publication that has covered college basketball for more than 40 years and dubs itself as "The Real Voice of College Basketball."
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The Blue Jays are coming off a historic second-ever season, finishing with a 26-3 overall record and spotless 11-0 mark in conference games in 2019-20. They had the second-longest winning streak in the nation, winning 25-straight games, won the 2019-20 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship, and advanced to the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Jays were the first team to become nationally ranked in USJ history and were ranked as high as 14th in the country by D3hoops.com last season.
USJ returns all but two players from last year's roster, including reigning GNAC Defensive Player of the Year and All-GNAC First Team member Jaecee Martin (Hartford, Conn.), All-GNAC First Teamer Delshawn Jackson Jr. (Hartford, Conn.) and All-GNAC Second Teamer Jordan Powell (Middletown, Conn.). Martin and Jackson Jr. are now both juniors who dominated the backcourt last season for a USJ team that led the nation in scoring margin (+18.5) and was ninth in scoring offense (89.9 ppg). The duo averaged 36.4 ppg combined. Powell, a rising senior who transferred from Catawba Valley Community College, was a key addition at the forward position last season, averaging 15.3 ppg and finished fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage at 69.3%.
Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun is heading into his third season guiding the Blue Jays in 2020-21. In just two seasons at the helm after assembling the program from scratch in 2018, Calhoun has compiled a career record of 42-15 (.737) and brought the team to the GNAC Tournament Championship Game both seasons. Overall, Calhoun now sports a career coaching record of 915-395 (.698) in 42 seasons as a NCAA head coach. His 915 wins rank him third all-time amongst head coaches with 10-plus years of service at the NCAA Division I level and he is 10th on the all-time wins list amongst all college men's basketball coaches, which includes coaches from all three NCAA divisions and both NAIA divisions. Most recently, Calhoun and Associate Head Coach Glen Miller were named D3hoops.com Northeast Region Coaches of the Year, following the 2019-20 season.
The 2020-21 men's basketball schedule has not yet been finalized. On November 2, the GNAC announced its decision to cancel conference athletic competition for winter sports amid concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the decision, the GNAC presidents agreed that individual institutions have the discretion to organize practices and schedule alternative competitions, dependent on state and local guidelines. USJ is considering all options for alternative opportunities to compete this winter with the health and well-being of its student-athletes, coaches, staff and community remaining the highest priority.
About Basketball Times Magazine
Rankings compiled by Basketball Times small college columnist Adam Glatczak. Basketball Times is a monthly magazine covering college basketball available by print of PDF subscription, or single print copies can be purchased. For more information contact Basketball Times editor John Akers at email@example.com or by phone at (704) 443-9104, or visit Basketball Times' website at www.basketballtimes.com.
About USJ Athletics
University of Saint Joseph (USJ) Athletics is a NCAA Division III member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC). The Blue Jays field 15 varsity sports with 200-plus student-athletes. For more information, please visit www.usjbluejays.com.