2022-23 UNO Men’s Basketball Season Preview: Privateers open season against Butler

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Simeon Kirkland and Tyson Jackson
(Photo: Erik Williams/Southland Conference)

NEW ORLEANS – The regular season opener against Butler on Monday, Nov. 7 begins a 29-game slate for the University of New Orleans men’s basketball team, and they will look very different this go-round. Not only because of the 10 new players on the roster, but due to their abilities making the Privateers much more versatile.

This team features depth, high tempo and grit.

At the core stands eight returners in D’ante Bell, K’mani Doughty, Dorian Hill, Tyson Jackson, Simeon Kirkland, Daniel Sackey, Jamond Vincent, and Darrius Washington. Jackson, Kirkland, and Sackey started at least 25 games in the 2021-22 season with Jackson starting all 32.

Jackson and Kirkland were both selected to the second team all-conference preseason team and make up half of the returning big-man quartet with Bell and Washington.

Jackson led the team in field goal percentage (.589) last season, and Kirkland led the team in blocks (0.7) and was second in rebounds (5.3) behind former standout Troy Green.

With the addition of six transfers (Cajelli, Cooper, Delatte, Johnson, Simes, Wilson-Rouse) and four freshmen (Giorgetti, Henry, Murphy Jr., Sinclair) to the 2022-23 roster, this team’s high-paced tempo should resemble last year’s. Their depth at nearly every level will give Slessinger and his staff (assistants Jody Bailey, Kris Arkenberg, and Jay Smith) the chance to alter lineups and spread the wealth when it comes to scoring.

Incoming transfer Jordan Johnson finished his lone season at Denver with 19 games in double-figures, and nine games with four or more assists – including two games with eight assists.

Wilson-Rouse comes to the Privateers from The Pacific but is also one of the most decorated players in the history of New Mexico Military Institute (2020-2021), Wilson-Rouse earned an NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention after averaging 21.8 points per game, two 30+ point outings and hitting 91.6% of his shots from the charity stripe (3rd best in the NJCAA).

Cooper will make his Div. I. debut tomorrow night after making the step up from Div. II.

Slessinger describes the team as coachable and hard playing with multiple guys that can shoot threes. The group also has an undeniable chemistry both on and off the court that can be attributed to their weeklong excursion in Costa Rica in August funded by privately raised dollars.

The Privateers were selected to finish third in the Southland this year after a 18-14 2021-22 season where they fell to the McNeese Cowboys in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament.

The Privateers will have five of their 11 non-conference games on the road. Their home tilts before Southland play begins are against St. Francis (Ill.) (Nov.12), The Citadel (Nov. 23), IUPUI (Nov. 24), Denver (Nov.25), Louisiana (Dec. 3), and Dillard (Dec. 19).

The regular season opens at Butler on Monday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. CST and will be broadcast live on FS1 via the Fox Sports app or website with valid login credentials. UNO basketball will also air all season again on 106.1 FM with Jude Young as the Voice of the Privateers.

Butler leads 2-0
Streak: Butler, W2
At Hinkle: Butler leads 2-0
First Meeting: Butler, 57-44; 1/5/13 
Last Meeting: Butler, 79-53; 11/9/19

TV: FS1 & FOX Sports App – Bob Brainerd & Kim Adams
Radio: 106.1 FM – Jude Young (@JudeYoung on Twitter)
NASHFM1061.com and TuneIn app

Fans are encouraged to follow @PrivateersHoops on Twitter, @PrivateersHoops on Instagram, like /PrivateersMBB on Facebook and subscribe to the PrivateerAthletics YouTube channel.

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