NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - When fall camp started, the jerseys of the SFA basketball team did not have names of players on them. Instead Head Coach Kyle Keller replaced the names with the word, “Disruption” and “Chaos”. They were words he wanted to define his team.
Tuesday night he will get his answer on whether or not the players lived up to his request.
Game notes bellow are provided by the SFA Athletic Media staff.
Season 94 of SFA men’s basketball begins inside William R. Johnson Coliseum Tuesday night when the 'Jacks play host to NAIA and in-state adversary Texas Wesleyan at 6:30 p.m. The 35th all-time meeting between the two programs will be broadcast nationwide on ESPN3 and the ESPN app with longtime voce of the 'Jacks Rob Meyers narrating the action from his courtside seat. • Tickets for the ‘Jacks’ season opener are still available and can be purchased by heading to SFATickets.com. • More often than not the 'Jacks have emerged as the victors when they lift the lid on a season. SFA owns an all-time record of 56-37 (.602) in season openers and will be opening a season at home for the first time since 2014-15. That year, the 'Jacks blasted visiting Mississippi College 75-49 on Nov. 14. • This is the first time in the tenure of head coach Kyle Keller that SFA will start a season inside William R. Johnson Coliseum. It’s also the first time in the Keller era that the 'Jacks play in their home state. Keller’s first two season openers as SFA’s bench boss came at #2/4-ranked Kentucky (2016-17) and at Longwood (2017-18). • In all, the 'Jacks have opened 54 of their seasons at home, compiling a 44-10 (.815) record in games of that configuration. • The 'Jacks are also in search of back-to-back season opening wins for the first time since 2013-14 and 2014-15. • For the first time since the 1992-93 season, the 'Jacks are taking on Texas Wesleyan in a season opener. That year, under the direction of head coach Ned Fowler, SFA whipped the Rams 92-72 inside William R. Johnson Coliseum on Dec. 1. • The two most high-profile teams SFA has welcomed to Nacogdoches for a season opener are Texas A&M (1998-99) in a game the ‘Jacks’ dropped by a 67-55 tally. Though not a well-known name at the time, Loyola-Chicago entered William R. Johnson Coliseum on Nov. 19, 2000 to serve as the ‘Jacks’ season-opening foe. SFA - guided by first-year head coach Danny Kaspar - defeated the Ramblers 64-60. Last year, the Ramblers went on a Cinderella run to the Final Four. SFA/TEXAS WESLEYAN CONNECTIONS • Aside from the fact that they are both in the same state, there is another connection between SFA and NAIA institution Texas Wesleyan that traces back to the beginning of the decade. • SFA head coach Kyle Keller was on staff at Kansas from 2008-11 and for a majority of that time a player for the Jayhawks by the name of Brady Morningstar was helping Bill Self’s squad maintain its status as one of the best teams in the nation. • Currently, Morningstar is an assistant coach at Texas Wesleyan under head coach Brennan Shingleton. He arrived at Texas Wesleyan following stints in the NBA D-League (now the G-League) and overseas hoops stops in Finland, Germany and Argentina. SCOUTING TEXAS WESLEYAN | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS SFA vs. Texas Wesleyan | 24-10 (.706) In Nacogdoches, Texas | 19-4 (.826) At William R. Johnson Coliseum | 8-1 (.889) In Fort Worth, Texas | 5-4 (.556) At Sid Richardson Center | 2-2 (.500) At neutral sites | 0-2 (.000) Last meeting | Dec. 6, 2008 (at SFA 92, TWU 42) Last SFA win | Dec. 6, 2008 (92-42) Last SFA home win | Dec. 6, 2008 (92-42) Last SFA road win | Dec. 4, 1981 (64-47) Last TWU win | Dec. 17, 1983 (69-63) Last TWU home win | Dec. 17, 1983 (69-63) Last TWU road win | Dec. 18, 1982 (59-58) Largest margin of victory (SFA) | 59 (1935 | SFA 69, TWU 10) Largest margin of defeat (SFA) | 15 (1/6/51, at SFA 39, TWU 54) Current Streak | SFA won eight Last five games | 5-0 (1.000) Last 10 games | 8-2 (.800) SFA points | average 2,386 | 70.2 TWU points | average 1,949 | 57.3 Average scoring margin | SFA +12.9 • One of the nation’s finest NAIA programs, the Rams have made three-straight trips to the NAIA Tournament and won the NAIA National Championship in 2016-17. • Leading the Rams during that time period has been head coach Brennen Shingleton. In Shingleton’s tenure, Texas Wesleyan has won a trio of Sooner Athletic Conference regular season crowns and after leading his club to the 2016-17 NAIA national title he was named the NAIA National Coach of the Year. • Currently ranked eleventh in the NAIA poll, Texas Wesleyan opened a season with a 67-65 victory over seventh-ranked LSU-Shreveport at home. In that tile, Juwun Jones pumped in a game-high 20 points for the Rams while Rob Thomas and Julian Torres added 15 markers apiece. • Diing Lwal Diing neared double-double territory for the Rams, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds. • The following night against second-ranked LSU-Alexandria, Texas Wesleyan ran into a hot-shooting Generals squad that connected on 11 of its 27 three-pointers and clobbered the Rams 102-77. • It’s Jones who leads the Rams in scoring at a clip of 18.0 points per game. His 17 free throws made and 22 free throws attempted are both team highs, too. Torres is Texas Wesleyan’s second-leading scorer at 15.5 points per game and its most accurate shooter at 56.5-percent (13-of-23).
WAIT - THE SEASON'S HERE ALREADY? • If it feels as though the 'Jacks - and all other NCAA Division I men's basketball teams for that matter - are tipping off their campaign a little earlier than usual that's because it's true. • The Nov. 6 matchup against Texas Wesleyan is the earliest start to a season in the 'Jacks' program history. Looking for a reason for the early start? The NCAA, in a move designed to alleviate the stresses of a regular season schedule packed into such a short amount of time, passed legislation to begin the basketball season a week earlier than in recent years. • As a result of this, SFA's season will last 123 days with a game occurring roughly once every 4.1 days. The 'Jacks' season finale against longtime Piney Woods rival Sam Houston State is set to take place inside William R. Johnson Coliseum on Saturday, March 9. That ties the latest regular-season finale for SFA in program history. The last time SFA finished its regular season on March 9 came in the 2012-13 campaign. • In 2018-19, SFA will breaks of nine dates, seven days and six days (twice) between non-conference games. That's before looking at a Southland Conference schedule that affords the 'Jacks two separate breaks of seven days between games.
SINGLE DIGIT SUCCESS • Starting their season in the early stages of November has always bode well for the 'Jacks. Tuesday's season-opener against Texas Wesleyan is the fourth time in program history that SFA will begin a season on a single-digit date in the month of November. • In each of the previous three seasons SFA has done that, the 'Jacks have won no fewer than 26 games and won the Southland Conference title in each one. Each of those season is detailed below. 2013-14 | started on Nov. 8 | Final record 32-3 | Southland record 18-0 | NCAA Tournament Third Round 2012-13 | started on Nov. 9 | Final record 27-5 | Southland record 16-2 | NIT First Round 2007-08 | started on Nov. 9 | Final record 26-6 | Southland record 13-3 | NIT First Round THREE OF A KIND - A RARE HAND • The month of October is traditionally when all NCAA Division I men's basketball conferences release their preseason polls and preseason teams and 2018 was no exception to that. What was unique, however, was that SFA placed three players on the Preseason All-Southland Conference First Team. • Senior Shannon Bogues and TJ Holyfield along with junior Kevon Harris were each placed on the Preseason All-Southland Conference First Team, making SFA one of only five teams in the nation who placed three or more players on a Preseason First Team this season. • The other teams on that list are Buffalo out of the MAC (C.J. Massinburg, Jeremy Harris and Nick Perkins), Nevada from the Mountain West (Jordan Carolina, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin), the Southern Conference's East Tennessee State (Tray Boyd, III, Bo Hodges, Jeromy Rodriguez) and Gonzaga from the West Coast Conference (Rui Hachimura, Zach Norvell, Jr., Josh Perkins, Killian Tillie). Gonzaga is the only team with four or more players on a Preseason All-Conference First Team heading into 2018-19. • Two of those teams - Buffalo and SFA - have a chance at clashing this season, too. If the 'Jacks and Bulls each win a game in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, they would meet in what would arguably the best mid-major game of the 2018-19 campaign. POLL POSITION • SFA was picked as the favorite to win the Southland Conference title when the league unveiled its 2018-19 preseason poll on Wednesday, Oct. 10. • The 'Jacks amassed 23 of the 26 available first-place votes in the poll while Southeastern Louisiana (picked to finish second) tallied a pair of first-place votes and Abilene Christian (picked to finish fourth) received one first-place tally. • New Orleans - the team that ended SFA's four-year run of Southland Conference regular season titles in the 2016-17 campaign - was picked for a third-place finish in the 13-team league. GIMME A 30-PIECE • The prolific point production of SFA guard Shannon Bogues was well-documented through the course of the 2017-18 season as the Killeen, Texas, product reached or eclipsed the 30-point mark four times through his first season in a Lumberjack uniform. • Those four 30+ point performances represented the second-most by a single player in SFA's NCAA era. Only Thomas Walkup put forth more efforts of 30 or more points in a single season, doing so in 2015-16 when he put up 30 or more five times. • Bogues has a shot to become the all-time leader in 30-point games in the 'Jacks' NCAA era, however. Walkup currently holds that record as he sprung for 30 or more seven times throughout his career, meaning Bogues needs three more 30-point outings to tie Walkup and four more to pass him.
TAKING THE 'L' OUT OF COLISEUM • Since it opened its doors as the Lumberjacks' home venue at the start of the 1974 campaign, William R. Johnson Coliseum has gained a reputation as one of the toughest buildings for visiting opponents to play in throughout all of college basketball. • That reputation has been especially well-deserved over the last six seasons. Since the start of the 2012-13 season, SFA has posted an incredible 87-4 record inside its home facility. • The winning percentage that results from that record is an astounding .956. When stacked up against all other NCAA Division I men's basketball teams during that six-year span, it stands as the highest in the nation. • With two of SFA' s four losses over the last five seasons coming against non-conference opposition, that means Southland Conference foes have had almost no chance of winning inside William R. Johnson Coliseum in that span. Since February 16, 2012, SFA has rolled up a 53-2 (.964) record against league opposition on its home floor with the lone setbacks coming against Northwestern State (3/2/17) and Lamar (2/24/18).
NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS | THE STEAL CITY • Traditionally a moniker for Pittsburgh, Pa., the Steel City nickname, can - by just changing a single letter - be adopted by Nacogdoches, Texas, following the events of the 2017-18 season. • Not only did the 'Jacks establish a new single-season record by amassing 360 steals, by doing so they led all of NCAA Division I men's basketball in that statistical category. Furthermore, SFA's steals per game average of 10.3 per game represented another nation-leading mark as did the squad's 19.77 turnovers forced per game. • Three of the 'Jacks' top four theft threats from 2017-18 return for the 2018-19 campaign. Foremost among that trio is junior Aaron Augustin who racked up 52 steals (1.53 per game) to rank second on the team and ninth in the Southland. Senior Shannon Bogues (46 steals) and junior John Comeaux (43 steals) also generated over one steal per game for SFA last year.
THE DECADE OF DOMINANCE • Since the 2010's started, SFA has established a reputation not only as a power in the Southland Conference but one of the best NCAA Division I men's basketball teams in the country. • In that time period, the 'Jacks have posted 20 or more wins in six of the eight seasons, reached or eclipsed the 25-win mark five times and posted one season of 30 or more triumphs. • Four of the program's five appearances in the NCAA Tournament have come this decade, too, as have both of the team's NCAA Tournament wins. • Over the last 10 seasons, SFA ranks eighth nationally in terms of winning percentage. The 'Jacks' 247-81 record in that span works out to a winning percentage of .753 and SFA's win total over the past decade is the 18th-highest in all of NCAA Division I men's basketball. • Over the last five seasons, SFA ranks eighth nationally in terms of winning percentage. The 'Jacks' 135-36 in that span works out to a winning percentage of .789 and SFA's win total in that same span represents the 11th-highest in all of NCAA Division I men's basketball. • Over the last three seasons, SFA ranks 21st nationally in terms of winning percentage. The 'Jacks' 74-28 record in that span works out to a winning percentage of .725 and SFA's win total in that same span represents the 23rd-highest total in all of NCAA Division I men's basketball.
THE CENTURY CLUB • Currently there are five players in program history - Dallas Cameron, Ty Charles, Jacob Parker, Trey Pinkney and Thomas Walkup - who have each won 100 or more games during their SFA careers. With another strong season, however, two more individuals could join their former teammates in the 'Jacks' century club. • Seniors Jovan Grujic and TJ Holyfield have compiled a total of 74 victories through their first three seasons in Lumberjack uniforms and need at least 26 triumphs in 2018-19 to become the latest entrants in that exclusive group.
3-VON HARRIS • If his career ended today, junior Kevon Harris would already rank among the best three-point shooters in the history of Lumberjack basketball. Fortunately, the Ellenwood, Ga., product has another two years of eligibility remaining and is coming off of a splendid shooting season from beyond the arc. • Harris' career three-point field goal percentage of .397 currently ranks as the ninth-highest in program history but that was aided greatly by his downtown aim in 2017-18. The guard/forward connected on 42.6-percent (58-of-136) of his three-point field goal tries that year, posting SFA’s 10th-highest single-season mark in the process. That percentage was the second-highest among all Southland Conference players while his 58 makes were the 14th-most in the 13-team league. • Last season Harris - an underclassman at the time - led SFA in three-point field goals made as well as free throws made (104) and free throws attempted (153). His scoring average of 14.5 points per game ranked second on the team and was the third-highest among all Southland Conference underclassmen. A DECADE OF DEFENSE • Known around the college basketball scene because of their hard-nosed style of defense, the numbers from the 2010s back up SFA’s reputation as one of the premier defensive squads in the land. • SFA is one of only three teams in the nation that has ranked either first or second in its respective conference in scoring defense in each season this decade. The other two teams on that list are Wisconsin out of the Big Ten and the ACC’s Virginia (who was the victim of the first 16-seed over top-seed upset in NCAA Tournament history as UMBC would be quick to tell you). RISING TO (OR NEAR) THE TOP YEAR AFTER YEAR • Over the last seven years, SFA’s in-conference dominance has been well-documented. Because of that, the 'Jacks have not finished lower than third in the race for the Southland Conference title in that span. • That makes SFA one of only nine NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs who have not finished below third place in their respective conference standings in each of the last seven seasons. Other programs on that list include Belmont, BYU, Gonzaga, Kansas, New Mexico State, Texas Southern, Vermont and Wichita State. • SFA and Texas Southern are the only two institutions from the state of Texas on that list, too. COMING UP NEXT • For the first time since 2014-15, SFA will play back-to-back home games to begin its season. The 'Jacks continue their slate of early-season games against NAIA foes Thursday evening when Southwestern Assemblies of God comes to Nacogdoches, Texas, for a 6:30 p.m. showdown. The game will be broadcast live and nationwide on ESPN3 and the ESPN app.