KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC men’s basketball team will open up its 2018-19 season on Nov. 6 when it heads to Chicago, Ill., to take on 2018 Final Four participant Loyola at 8 p.m. CT in Gentile Arena.
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About the Roos
The Roos return four starters from last year’s squad in senior Aleer Leek, juniors Xavier Bishop and Jordan Giles and sophomore Brandon McKissic, while Broderick Robinson is the lone departing starter. UMKC will also welcome back Marco Smith, Marvin Nesbitt Jr., Steve Dulley and Tony Jackson from last season’s team. Redshirts Danny Dixon, Kaleb Roy and Brandon Suggs will each see their first action in the Blue & Gold, as will incoming juniors Rob Whitfield and Jamel Allen and freshmen Kenny Strawbridge and Will Mangum.
Loyola is coming off a magical 32-6 season in which it finished the year ranked No. 7 in the final USA Today Coaches Poll, set a school record for wins (32), earned its first NCAA tournament berth since 1985 and reached the Final Four for the first time in 55 years. Loyola brings a seven-game winning streak at Gentile Arena into the season opener Tuesday evening. Additionally, the Ramblers have won their last 15 nonconference home games.
The Roos trail 4-1 in the all-time series, picking up their lone win 2007 with a 77-66 victory, while last season the Ramblers won in Municipal Auditorium, 66-56.
Xavier Bishop returns to his home state as the Springfield, Ill., native will take the court in Illinois for the third time as a collegiate after two meetings with Chicago State. Last season Bishop led the Roos at 11.6 points after scoring 5.9 points as a freshman. Bishop also led UMKC in assists a season ago at 3.3 per game.
In 2017-18, the Roos finished 10-22 overall and 5-9 in WAC play. On the season, UMKC picked up nonconference DI wins over UT Martin, Manhattan and USC Upstate, while the WAC wins came at home to CSU Bakersfield, Seattle U, Utah Valley and Chicago State and a road victory over UTRGV.
The Roos were picked to finish seventh in the WAC Preseason poll by both the coaches and the media, while New Mexico State and Grand Canyon were chosen first and second in both polls.
Xavier Bishop was named to the Preseason All-WAC Second Team by both the conference’s head coaches and the media. Last season, Bishop started 28 games for the Roos, leading the team at 11.6 points and 3.3 assists, while adding 2.9 rebounds and nearly a steal a game. Three times he topped the 20-point mark, including a career-high 25 points at Incarnate Word on Dec. 16.
Head Coach Kareem Richardson
Kareem Richardson enters his sixth season at the helm of the UMKC program in 2018-19 and has led the Roos to unprecedented success during his tenure. He was named the head coach at UMKC on March 19, 2013, becoming the sixth in the Division I era at UMKC. Richardson guided the 2016-17 UMKC squad to the second-most victories in a season (18) in school history. The Roos were selected for a postseason tournament for the first time in the program's 30-year Division I history, which included a victory over Green Bay in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational. In 2016-17, UMKC set program records for points (2,691), field goals (911), rebounds (1,213), defensive rebounds (860), 3-pointers (315) and free throws (554). The Roos finished second in team history in assists (451) and third in steals (236). UMKC posted the longest winning streak for the program in 12 years from Jan. 31 – Feb. 18, 2017. The Roos got off to the program's best start in 15 years and advanced to the semifinals of the WAC Tournament for the third straight year.
The Blue & Gold will head to Iowa City, Iowa, on Nov. 8 to take on Big Ten foe Iowa at 7 p.m. Ct in Carver Hawkeye Arena.
– UMKC –