ESPN game and studio analyst Jay Bilas will serve as the guest speaker for Toledo’s annual Rocket Roundball Social Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. on the main floor in Savage Arena.
UT President Sharon L. Gaber is hosting the event, and all proceeds will go directly to The University of Toledo Men’s Basketball Progress Fund.The Rocket Roundball Social, which is an event that has grown into a UT basketball tradition, offers individuals the opportunity to meet the UT president, Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk, and his staff and players, while enjoying food from some of Toledo’s finest restaurants.
Bilas, who is known for his extensive knowledge of men’s basketball and insightful analysis about the sports industry, joined ESPN in 1995 and calls the top men’s college basketball games involving the nation’s marquee teams and conferences. He joined ESPN’s Saturday Primetime Game of the Week telecasts in 2015, adding to his role on the popular Saturday morning and evening college basketball program, College GameDay. Bilas has been an analyst on the show that originates from the site of the Saturday Primetime telecast since its debut in 2005.
Kowalczyk is entering his seventh season at UT and has orchestrated a dramatic turnaround since his arrival in 2010. He has guided the Midnight Blue and Gold to a 98-65 (.601) win-loss mark over the last five years, including back-to-back 20-win campaigns in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Toledo also has registered 64 victories over the last three seasons, a total that ranks second among Mid-American Conference members. The Rockets also were the lone MAC school to be honored recently with the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Team Academic Excellence Award. The honor was given to programs that possessed a 3.0 grade point average or better in the 2015-16 campaign.
The Rockets are returning three starters in 2016-17 with senior guard Jonathan Williams leading the way after ranking third in the MAC with 17.6 points per game. Williams will be joined by classmates Zach Garber (6.0 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game), Jordan Lauf (4.6 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game) and Steve Taylor Jr. (sat out 2015-16 after transferring from Marquette). UT also will have a pair of sophomores, Nate Navigato (8.4 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game) and Jaelan Sanford (8.2 points per game, 2.0 rebounds per game) who were key contributors last season.
A silent and live auction will be held during the evening, and some of the items available for purchase will include a road trip with the Rockets, all-access program pass for a game, Toledo basketball apparel, and assorted memorabilia.
Advance ticket options include an individual ticket for $100 and a reserved table of 10 for $1,000.
Payments can be made via cash, credit card or check. Checks should be made payable to the UT Foundation.
Reserve tickets by Friday, Oct. 7, by contacting Toledo basketball via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Assistant Coach Jason Kalsow at 419.530.7739.