KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC men’s basketball team (0-1) continues its opening road trip when it heads to Iowa City, Iowa, to take on Iowa (0-0) at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, Nov. 8 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the opening game of the 2K Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
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.
Iowa returns 90.5 percent of minutes played a year ago, a percentage that is fourth most in the country: Washington (95.2 percent), Wisconsin (93.9 percent), and Syracuse (90.8 percent). Returning Iowa players scored 94.9 percent (2,496 of 2,630) of its offense a year ago and a combined 4,246 career points entering the 2018-19 season. Iowa is one of four schools nationally to have all five starters return with all five being its top five scorers in 2017-18 (Syracuse, Brown, Harvard).
Last Time Out
The UMKC men’s basketball team (0-1) dropped its season opener at 2018 Final Four participant Loyola Chicago (1-0), 76-45, on Tuesday night at Gentile Arena in Chicago, Ill. Brandon McKissic led the UMKC offense as the sophomore finished with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, including 3-of-3 from three-point range, while adding three rebounds and two steals. Making his debut in the Blue & Gold, junior Rob Whitfield finished with 11 points, the only other Roo in double-figures, knocking down a trio of threes, grabbing three rebounds and notching two steals.
The Roos trail 1-0 in the all-time series, falling 95-75 on Dec. 5, 2015 in Iowa City.
Aleer Leek returns to Kansas City for his fourth season in the Blue & Gold and will be the Roos lone senior on the squad. Last season, Leek averaged 4.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, while in his career, he is averaging 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds.
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 Storrs, Conn., for the second game of the 2K Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project when they face UConn at 4 p.m. CT on Sun., Nov. 11.
– UMKC –