Rocket fans can get their first glimpse of the 2012-13 Toledo men’s basketball squad when it hosts the University of Northwestern Ohio in an exhibition contest Friday, Oct. 26.
Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk is entering his third season at UT’s helm and orchestrated a dramatic turnaround in the 2011-12 campaign. The Rockets registered the second-largest turnaround in NCAA Division I Basketball last year by compiling a 19-17 win-loss mark and advancing to post-season play for the first time in five years.
The Rockets return their entire starting lineup, including second-team All-Mid-American Conference honoree and junior Rian Pearson (16.4 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game) and 2011-12 MAC Freshman of the Year Julius Brown (11.9 points per game, 4.9 assists per game).
UT’s other returning starters are senior guard Dominique Buckley (9.7 points per game, 41.9 three-point shooting percentage) junior forward Matt Smith (8.6 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game) and junior forward Reese Holliday (7.1 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game).
In total, the Midnight Blue and Gold welcome back 83.3 percent of their points, 82.0 percent of their rebounds and 89.5 percent of their assists from the 2011-12 campaign.
Toledo also is integrating a talented freshmen trio of center Nathan Boothe, guard Josh Lemons and forward Aubrey Williams into its program.
Located in Lima, Northwestern Ohio posted a 7-23 record at the NAIA level last year with junior guard Johnny Elliott the Racers’ top returning scoring at 11.0 points per game.
Toledo tips off its regular season by playing three road games over a six-day span beginning Friday, Nov. 9, at Horizon League member Loyola in Illinois. UT then will visit Big Ten foe Minnesota Monday, Nov. 12, before heading to Missouri Valley Conference member Northern Iowa Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Follow the Rockets all season at utrockets.com.