Austin Claunch unveils his first UTSA men’s basketball roster

New UTSA men's basketball coach Austin Claunch was at the Roadrunners softball game on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at Roadrunner Field to throw out the first pitch. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Austin Claunch announced on Tuesday a 13-man roster for his first season at the helm of the UTSA men’s basketball program. ‘We’re really excited about the group as a whole,” the coach said. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

First-year UTSA men’s basketball coach Austin Claunch has released his roster for the 2024-25 season. Twelve players are newcomers and one, guard Nazar Mahmoud, returns from last season. Here they are:

Zach Gonsoulin, 6-1 G Hometown: Houston, formerly of TCU
David Hermes, 6-10 F-C Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden, Indian Hills CC
Raekwon Horton, 6-6 F/G Hometown: Santee, S.C., formerly James Madison
Tai’Reon Joseph, 6-3 SG Hometown: Baton Rouge, La., formerly of Southern University
Paul Lewis, 6-2 CG Hometown: Woodbridge, Va., formerly of Vanderbilt
Marcus Millender, 5-11 PG Hometown: Houston, formerly of South Alabama
Jesus Carralero Martin, 6-7 F/C Hometown: Malaga, Spain, formerly of Missouri
Damari Monsanto, 6-6 SG Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Fla., formerly of Wake Forest
Jaquan Scott, 6-8 F/C Hometown: Dallas, formerly of Mississippi State
Jonnivius Smith, 6-9 F/C Hometown: Selma, Ala., formerly of Buffalo
Primo Spears, 6-3 CG Hometown: Hartford, Conn., formerly of Florida State
Skylar Wicks, 6-6 G/F Hometown: Jersey City, N.J., formerly of Incarnate Word
Nazar Mahmoud, 6-4 G Hometown: Leander, UTSA returning player

Notable

Claunch signed a versatile group. Seven of his new players — including Primo Spears, Jaquan Scott, Damari Monsanto, Jesus Carralero Martin, Paul Lewis, Zach Gonsoulin and Jonnivius Smith — have played for teams in power conferences. At least two of the players — including Scott and Raekwon Horton from James Madison — played on teams that reached the NCAA tournament last year.

Sophomore guard Nazar Mahmoud is the only player returning from last year’s squad. Steve Henson stepped down as UTSA’s head coach after eight seasons on March 14. Three days later, the Roadrunners announced that Claunch had accepted the job.

Claunch grew up in Houston. He made a name for himself as a head coach at Nicholls State University, where he won two Southland Conference regular-season titles, and then spent last season as an assistant on the staff at the University of Alabama. The coach credited new UTSA assistants Nick Bowman, Joey Brooks, Trevor DeLoach and Joseph Jones for their work in assembling the staff’s first class at UTSA.

Quotable

“Obviously, it’s been a long couple of months,” Claunch said Tuesday afternoon. “We had a lot of work to do. I really want to thank my staff. These guys did an incredible job identifying guys that we thought fit into what we’re trying to do here from a talent standpoint, from a character standpoint. You know, and, we went out and got our guys.

“I love this class. We’ve got size. We’ve got shooting. We’ve got athleticism. I think we have collective rim protection with our mobility. Again, we have good length at the rim. We also have toughness on the perimeter that’s tough to break down on the bounce. So, just, overall, really excited to get everyone here for once and start practicing as a unit.

“We’ve got a good amount of guys here right now. It’ll be good to get the whole team here and start working. So, it’s been a long, productive couple of months, and we’re really excited about the group as a whole.”

Where are they?

Members of the 2023-24 Roadrunners have scattered in all directions since the end of an 11-21 season and the coaching change. Former UTSA head coach Steve Henson is at Baylor, working as an assistant on Scott Drew‘s staff. Point guard Christian Tucker is at Cal, preparing to play for the Golden Bears in their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Shooting guard Jordan Ivy-Curry has landed on the roster at Central Florida, playing for the Orlando-based Golden Knights in their second season in the Big 12. Power forward Trey Edmonds is at Minnesota, ramping up in preparation to play with the Golden Gophers of the Big Ten. Center Carlton Linguard Jr., a 7-foot center who played in high school at Stevens, has signed with the University of San Francisco. Guard PJ Carter, who came on strong at the end of last season, has signed with the Rice Owls to play for first-year coach Rob Lanier. He’ll play against the Roadrunners this season in the American Athletic Conference. Forward Justin Thomas reportedly committed to Florida State of the ACC in May but has not been mentioned in any of the school’s news releases yet. Guard Adante’ Holiman has signed with Georgia Southern of the Sun Belt. Forward Chandler Cuthrell is on the roster at Purdue-Fort Wayne.

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