Scott receives contract extension following Denver men's best season in school's Division I history, 22-9
Denver - The University of Denver men's basketball team began practicing for its 2012-13 campaign October 12, the sport's official start day. The Pioneers will be facing their most challenging schedule ever by taking on eight teams that competed in post-season play last season from powerful basketball conferences such as the PAC 12, Mountain West, Metro Atlantic and Conference USA in addition to the foes the team will face as a new member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
Though the Pioneers leave the Sun Belt Conference (SBC), the team will again enter the season with Joe Scott courtside leading the team. Scott begins his sixth season at the helm of Denver basketball, having compiled a winning record of 80-74 (.519) at DU after taking over a team that won only four games in the year prior to his arrival. With the continued ascension of the Pioneer basketball program, the University of Denver administration rewarded Scott with a contract extension that keeps him on the DU sidelines through the 2017-18 season.
"What we have been able to build is a program that is competitive night-in and night-out," says Scott. "As our program has grown, we have sought to increase our non-conference schedule. However, we know anybody can schedule anybody; that's not the hard part. The key is beating the people on your schedule, and we believe we have a team that has enough talent to consistently put ourselves in a position to win."
The entire assistant coaching staff also returns for the Pioneers. To further capitalize on the strength that has been built during the past five seasons, assistant coach Jon Jordan and John Fitzgerald will switch roles in 2012-13. Jordan will assume the post of director of basketball operations, coordinating all of the team's logistical activities and strategies for continued program growth. Fitzgerald will move to an assistant coach role, which includes on court coaching and recruiting. Mike McKee remains as the team's associate head coach and A.J. Kuhle returns as a key assistant.
On the player side, the Pioneers have four key returners from the 2011-12 season. Junior Chris Udofia (Irving, Texas) is back after leading DU in scoring 10 times and finishing second in the SBC with a team-best 15.6 points in league play last season. Udofia also finished 30th in the nation in blocks per game (2.3) and 39th in field-goal percentage (.534). He earned Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year along with All-SBC First Team and NABC All-District 24 honors.
Sophomore Royce O'Neale (Killeen, Texas) got stronger and stronger as his first year at the collegiate level went by, finishing the season ranked 32nd in the nation and first in the SBC in free-throw percentage (.865). He also led the Pioneers in rebounding (5.8 per game) and recorded three double/doubles during SBC play, including one in the quarterfinals of the SBC Championships.
Sophomore Brett Olson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) is coming off a solid freshman campaign as well. Olson finished the 2011-12 season second on the team in minutes played (32.5 per game) and led the SBC in three-point field-goal percentage (.462), while recording a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio during league play.
Seasoned leadership will be provided by the Pioneers lone senior Chase Hallam (Mesquite, Texas). A three-year starter for Denver, Hallam is coming off an injury that caused him to miss the team's final regular season game and two tournament contests in 2011-12. Hallam's contributions were sorely missed during the Pioneer's Sun Belt Conference tournament run and a return to full health should help the Pioneers fill a key role.
This year Pioneer men's basketball games will be televised more than ever before on the networks of ESPN and on ROOT SPORTSTM. At least 11 contests will be seen on the two networks in addition to the Denver vs. Stanford contest on Dec. 2, which is slated to be broadcast on the PAC 12 Network. It is also likely that the Pioneers will be shown as a part of the ESPN BracketBuster games slated for Feb. 21-23, with opponents, times and broadcast schedules to be announced at a future date.
Denver Men's Basketball Television Schedule (all times MT)
- Fri., Nov. 9, at Iona College, 7 p.m. - ESPN3
- Fri., Nov. 16, California, 6 p.m. - ROOT SPORTSTM
- Wed., Nov. 21, Colorado State, 7 p.m. - ROOT SPORTSTM
- Sat., Dec. 29, at Louisiana Tech 6 p.m. - ESPN Regional Television
- Sat., Jan. 12, at Seattle University, 4:30 p.m. - ROOT SPORTSTM
- Sat., Jan. 19, Utah State, 4:30 p.m. - ROOT SPORTSTM
- Wed., January 23, at New Mexico State, 9 p.m. - ESPNU
- Thu., Feb. 7, Seattle, 7 p.m. - ROOT SPORTSTM
- Sat., Feb. 9, Idaho, 4 p.m. - ROOT SPORTSTM
- Sat., March 2, New Mexico State, 4 p.m. - ESPN Regional Television
- Sat., March 9, Louisiana Tech, 5 p.m. - ROOT SPORTSTM
Pioneer fans can catch every game on the radio home for men's basketball Mile High Sports AM 1510 and FM 93.7. In addition to the game broadcasts, AM 1510 and FM 93.7 will also be home to the weekly "Joe Scott Denver Basketball Coaches Show." DU fans can tune in and listen to Coach Scott and host radio and television veteran Mitch Hyder, Mondays from 7:00-8:00 p.m. from the Pioneer Restaurant.
Men's basketball season tickets for the 2012-13 Denver Pioneers are currently on sale. DU continues its commitment to provide the community with the most affordable and exciting entertainment in the Denver metro area. Ticket packages start at just $56. Individual game tickets are available with prices starting at $9 for adults. DU students get into games free with their Pioneer Card. For ticket information, please visit DenverPioneers.com or call the Pioneer Basketball Ticket Hotline at (303) 871-HOOP.