Making history: UTSA’s Jenkins wins Conference USA Player of the Year honors

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Junior Jordyn Jenkins has emerged as the first player from the UTSA women’s basketball program to earn Player of the Year honors in Conference USA.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat Florida Atlantic 77-61 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Jordyn Jenkins averaged a C-USA best 21.1 points per game. – File photo by Joe Alexander

In announcing postseason honors Tuesday afternoon, the C-USA also listed Jenkins as Newcomer of the Year and all-conference first team. In addition, her teammates Elyssa Coleman made the C-USA’s all defensive team and Sidney Love was named to its all freshman team.

The Roadrunners picked up three awards in men’s basketball, with Jacob Germany and Japhet Medor being named all conference honorable mention, while D.J. Richards made the all freshman team.

Jenkins led the C-USA in scoring (21.1) en route to lifting the team to a sixth seed in the tournament and a 7-3 record in the second half of a 20-game conference schedule.

She also led the conference in field goal percentage (49.4) while ranking second in rebounding (7.5) and fifth in blocked shots (1.2).

It is the third time in conference history that one player has earned both Player and Newcomer of the Year. SMU’s Keena May was the last player to do it in 2013. It’s the first time is the first time a Roadrunner has earned the C-USA Player of the Year since starting play in the conference in 2013-14.

Jenkins joined Loryn Goodwin as UTSA players who have earned Newcomer of the Year. Goodwin, a guard, achieved her honor in 2017.

In an interview with The JB Replay on Monday afternoon, Jenkins said she was happy with the way she played this season in her first at UTSA after transferring from Southern Cal.

Asked if she’d be disappointed if she didn’t win Player of the Year, she answered, “My whole life, I’ve never really been into awards. Probably because most of the time, I haven’t really got any.

“I’ve always been on the back of that,” Jenkins said. “You know, I’m grateful for whatever. It’s just about how you perform.”

During the same interview session, UTSA coach Karen Aston said, “I’ll be real surprised if she doesn’t get it. When you look at her numbers, they’re pretty staggering. Her performances have been worthy of the award.”

UTSA wins for Germany, Czumbel on Senior Night, downing Charlotte, 78-73

Jacob Germany. UTSA beat Charlotte 78-73 in Conference USA men's basketball on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final game of the regular season at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jacob Germany scored 17 points, snared 10 rebounds and blocked two shots in a ‘Senior Night’ victory over the Charlotte 49ers. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

For the last four years, Jacob Germany’s parents from Oklahoma have attended each of their son’s home games at UTSA.

Germany, the Roadrunners’ 6-foot-11 center, has come to expect them at the arena about an hour before tipoff. Crazy enough, it didn’t work out that way for what was likely his last home game.

John Buggs III. UTSA beat Charlotte 78-73 in Conference USA men's basketball on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final game of the regular season at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

John Buggs III scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half as UTSA pulled away from Charlotte, leading by as many as 13. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Because of a flat tire on their vehicle, Justin and Stacy Germany were not in the building at the standard 60-minute mark. Not to worry.

They arrived just in time to participate in a “Senior Night” ceremony honoring their son and his good friend, Erik Czumbel. Later, they were awarded with a bonus when Jacob helped lead the Roadrunners to a 78-73 Conference USA victory over the Charlotte 49ers.

With the performance, UTSA won its second in a row. In addition, the Roadrunners improved their late-season record to 3-2 in the last five games going into next week’s Conference USA tournament.

“I’m going through a lot of emotions, to be honest,” Germany told reporters in his post-game interview. “I’m excited for the team to win. But I also…it didn’t really hit me until I was doing radio and looked over and saw my mom.”

On his parents’ late arrival, Germany just shrugged in sort of a “that’s life” type shrug.

“They almost didn’t even make it,” he said. “The only day out of the last four years.”

The game was close and competitive in the first half as Charlotte knocked down seven three-point shots, only to see UTSA hammer the ball inside, forging an 18-8 lead in paint points.

With UTSA leading by one coming out of intermission, the teams traded baskets for about five minutes before the Roadrunners hit the 49ers with a decisive 19-5 run. Germany capped the surge by knocking down a 12-foot jumper from the side with seven minutes left, boosting his team into a 66-53 advantage.

Japhet Medor. UTSA beat Charlotte 78-73 in Conference USA men's basketball on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final game of the regular season at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Japhet Medor led the Roadrunner with 22 points and five asists. He drew 11 fouls and hit 9 of 14 at the free-throw line. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Charlotte rallied behind guard Brice Williams and center Aly Khalifa to within one point with 2:40 remaining, but UTSA made just enough plays at the end to hold on to the victory, seizing a measure of momentum leading into the postseason.

As much momentum as a team with 21 losses can have, anyway.

“We’re starting to click a little bit,” Germany said. “We stayed practicing the right way. We stayed together. We didn’t veer off. We had a few days where I wouldn’t say we all got better. But we brought each other back…stayed together through thick and thin. You keep doing the right things, and eventually it’s going to pay off.”

Even with the loss, Charlotte (18-12, 9-10) clinched the fifth seed in the tournament and a first-round bye.

Meanwhile, UTSA (10-21, 4-16) finished last in the C-USA standings and thus will take the No. 11 seed into next week. The postseason event — UTSA’s last in the C-USA given its impending move next year to the American Athletic Conference — will be contested from March 8-11 in Frisco, with the winner claiming an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

NCAA Selection Sunday is March 12, when the 68-team will be unveiled.

The Roadrunners did what they needed to do against the 49ers, who play a slow and deliberate Princeton-style offense. They kept the 49ers off the offensive boards and hit a solid 49 percent of their shots from the field. In the second half, their defense was good, with UTSA limiting Charlotte to 43 percent from the field and, more importantly, to four of 13 from behind the arc.

Only a rash of missed free throws in the last five minutes by the Roadrunners kept it from being a double-digit victory.

Christian Tucker. UTSA beat Charlotte 78-73 in Conference USA men's basketball on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final game of the regular season at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Reserve guard Christian Tucker had five points, three assists and two steals in 20 minutes. Coach Steve Henson says Tucker “has been very good” over the last month of the season. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“It’s that time of year (when) teams want to get hot,” Germany said. “It’s toward the end of the year when everything starts to matter. It’s March. Literally all this month, it’s all about basketball. It’s a perfect time to get hot.”

Japhet Medor, John Buggs III and Germany were the three players at the start of the year who were expected to lead the team, and all delivered against the 49ers. Driving relentlessly to the rim, Medor finished with 22 points and five assists. Buggs hit four 3-pointers and had 18. Germany notched a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Combined, the three of them sank 19 of 32 from the field.

In addition, the bench played well, with point guard Christian Tucker producing five points, three assists and two steals in 19 minutes. Forward Lamin Sabally also contributed, throwing down a first-half dunk en route to three points and three rebounds.

A few weeks ago, at the tail end of an 11-game losing streak, players off the bench struggled. Now, the confidence as seen in the likes of Tucker and Sabally and Massal Diouf, a freshman, seems to be growing by the day.

“Losing has so many effects on a team,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “It chips away with your chemistry. It can chip away at your confidence. It can be very dificult for a team. But, yeah, I think there are quite a few guys playing with more confidence. Christian Tucker has been very good in the last month, at least. He gives us another guy that gives us some penetration. He sees the floor pretty well. He makes certain passes even better than Japhet does …. He’s giving us a little different element. It’s been great to have Lamin down the stretch step up and do some of the things we anticipated him doing, as well.

“Confidence certainly is a big part of it.”

Khalifa, a 6-11 forward for Charlotte, presented all sorts of problems for UTSA. He scored 27 points and made a game-high, five three-point buckets. Williams also had a big night with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Igor Milicic, Jr., a 6-10 transfer from Virginia, supplied 11 points and five rebounds off the bench.


UTSA 10-21, 4-16
Charlotte 18-12, 9-10

Coming up

UTSA at Conference USA tournament, March 8-11, at Frisco


Guard Erik Czumbel entered into Senior Night with some trepidation because he knew that his father and mother and twin brother, who live in Italy, couldn’t make it to the game.

Erik Czumbel watches a video greeting from his parents in Italy on the big screen. UTSA men's basketball honored its seniors Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final home game of the regular season. The Roadrunners beat Charlotte 78-73 at the Convocation Center.

Erik Czumbel watches a video greeting from his parents in Italy on the big screen. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA surprised him with a taped message from the three of them that was played on the video board before the game. A wide smile crossed Czumbel’s face when he heard his father and mother offer congratulations on his four-year career with the Roadrunners.

Czumbel was scoreless on 0-for-2 shooting in 10 minutes, but he finished a plus six in the plus-minus metric that measures a player’s impact on point differential. In the last minute, Henson put him in the game and then took him out moments later so that he could hear the crowd cheer for him one last time.

It’s long been the expectation that Germany would not be back at UTSA next season, but he said in his post-game interview with reporters that some of his teammates have talked to him about the possibility of returning to the team for a fifth year.

“I’ve had some conversations about it but it’s kind of like what I said earlier in the year, I’m kind of just focused on ending the season the right way,” he said. “But if you ask me in a month or so, then I might have a different answer for you.”

Born in Romania and raised in Italy, UTSA’s Czumbel thanks his parents for their sacrifices

Erik Czumbel. UTSA beat Lamar 88-66 on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Senior guard Erik Czumbel has scored 438 points in 114 games over the past four years for the UTSA Roadrunners. UTSA will honor Czumbel and another fourth-year player, Jacob Germany, before tipoff tonight at the Convocation Center. The Charlotte 49ers will serve as the opponent in the Roadrunners’ final regular-season game and likely the last at home for Czumbel and Germany. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Erik Czumbel’s parents reside in Europe, and so they won’t be in the UTSA Convocation Center tonight.

Nevertheless, the sacrifices they made in their lives likely will come to mind in a major way for their son, as he prepares to play his last basketball game on the Roadrunners’ homecourt.

“I definitely want to pay ’em back one day,” UTSA’s fourth-year senior guard said in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

Originally from Romania, Gyorgy and Hajnalka Czumbel welcomed twin sons — Erik and Mark — into the world in January 2000. The boys were born in Satu Mare, in northwestern Romania, a country that had been torn for decades by political strife and economic hardship.

With conditions unfavorable to a life that the parents wanted for their sons, the couple anxiously weighed their options. Should they stay close to family and friends and try to make it work in Romania? Or should they try to get out, as so many other countrymen were doing.

“My dad definitely wanted to leave the country,” Czumbel said. “He wanted to go to Germany (at) first. But (the language) was harder to learn. Italian and Romanian are similar languages.”

Initially, Czumbel’s dad tried to flee Romania but couldn’t make it out of the country.

“They caught him (and) he was released, (but) nothing bad happened,” Erik said.

Later, when the twins were infants, Gyorgy tried again and succeeded, settling in Italy to acclimate to his new surroundings and to find a job.

“A lot of people in Romania were skeptical of his decision (to leave),” Erik Czumbel said. “They were like, ‘You’re not going to be lucky. It’s going to be the same there.’ Because it’s hard. You go to another country. You don’t know the language. You have to learn. Find a job. You have to be disciplined.”

Eventually, Gyorgy’s wife and infant sons packed up and left themselves, in a time frame that Erik estimates was late in the year in 2001, or in 2002. Together again, the family made a home in Verona, Italy.

The young boys were basketball players. Erik became one of the nation’s best prospects, competing in club sports and rising up in the national team system. His brother, Mark, played for a time with Virtus Avechi Salerno.

He’s now playing on an amateur level while taking graduate courses in civil engineering. The boys’ parents, meanwhile, are working. Erik’s mother is an assistant director in a manufacturing corporation.

His father? He’s a truck driver, and has been hauling freight in 18-wheelers for 20-something years.

“He’s gone for, like, a week and he comes back home on the weekends,” Czumbel said. “It’s definitely a hard job.”

Czumbel said his dad has always loved basketball and, years ago, played in an “old guy’s league” while following Tim Duncan and the Spurs.

“In the summer, we go and play some ball,” Czumbel said. “He has some skills, you know. He’s a big Tim Duncan fan. The bank shot — he loves that.”

Czumbel said his mother is also into fitness and likes to take long walks on weekends with her husband. But she, too, loves her work.

“She’s a work-aholic,” Czumbel said. “I think she works a little too hard, because she does some extra work where they don’t pay her. But she loves it, and they love her at her firm. (It’s) kind of like me, she has her whole family at her firm. You know, it’s good.”

Czumbel has been part of the UTSA family since 2019. He arrived at the same time as an incoming freshman center named Jacob Germany. Together, UTSA will honor Czumbel and Germany tonight on ‘Senior Day’ ceremonies. Tipoff for the Charlotte at UTSA game is at 7 p.m.

Next week, the Roadrunners will journey to Frisco for the Conference USA tournament.

Czumbel is expected to participate in commencement ceremonies in May and plans to knock out his last two classes for a finance-economics degree this summer. Beyond that, he’s not sure whether he wants to continue playing, perhaps in Europe, or to pursue a job in the United States

“It’s been a beautiful journey here at UTSA,” Czumbel said. “You know, I love San Antonio. It’s … I mean, it’s hard to talk about. I’m definitely going to miss it.

“It’s been an amazing journey, through ups and downs. But I enjoyed every moment. I’m super appreciative of the fans, of the people who supported us, the coaches and my teammates. It’s been a beautiful part of my life.”

As for his parents, he calls them “amazing,” for obvious reasons.

“Just, super grateful for them,” Czumbel said.

UTSA’s Germany set to return against the No. 24 FAU Owls

Jacob Germany. UTSA lost its Conference USA men's basketball opener to North Texas 78-54 on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA center Jacob Germany is expected to play Thursday night at home against the 24th-ranked FAU Owls. Germany is averaging 11.4 points and a team-leading 7.5 rebounds. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

With the struggling UTSA men’s basketball program set to take on a historic challenge, center Jacob Germany is expected to return Thursday night when the Roadrunners host the 24th-ranked Florida Atlantic University Owls in Conference USA play.

The Roadrunners, on a four-game losing streak, will play the explosive, once-beaten Owls on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center. Dusty May-coached FAU, from Boca Raton, Fla., moved into the AP Top 25 on Monday.

On Monday night, the Owls won at Western Kentucky for their 16th straight victory. All of which set the stage for a first — FAU will be the first ranked team that UTSA men’s basketball has hosted on campus.

Steve Henson. Rice beat UTSA 88-81 in overtime in Conference USA men's basketball at the Convocation Center on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson says he’s excited to have center Jacob Germany available to play against the FAU Owls. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson made the announcement about Germany’s return from a concussion after his team’s Wednesday afternoon practice. The 6-foot-11 senior from Oklahoma has been out since he took a few blows to the head against UTEP on Jan. 11 in El Paso.

He has missed the team’s last two games.

“He looked good (today),” Henson said. “You could tell he was feeling good, just walking around the last few days. He’s looking good, feeling good. Process has gone a little faster than I would have thought.”

Another hopeful sign for UTSA centered on Isaiah Addo-Ankrah and 7-foot center Carlton Linguard, Jr., two other injured players, who also practiced on a limited basis. Neither, however, will be ready against FAU.

Henson didn’t say directly whether Germany would start, but things seem to be trending in that direction.

“He hasn’t been out that long, so the conditioning won’t be a big factor for him,” Henson said. “So, whether we start him or bring him off the bench, it doesn’t really matter. He’ll settle into that rotation and probably get some quality minutes.

“We’re excited to have him back.”

UTSA (7-12, 1-7 C-USA) hasn’t had much luck in conference play and has lost 11 of its last 14. The team is coming off a heart-wrenching 88-81 overtime loss to Rice on Monday night. Regardless, the opportunity to do something special looms against C-USA leading FAU (17-1, 7-0).

Through their 42-year history, the Roadrunners are 1-17 against ranked opponents, with the lone victory coming in December 1994 at 13th-ranked Arizona State, 87-85, in overtime. In their last meeting against a Top 25 foe, the Roadrunners lost 82-50 in November 2019 at 17th-ranked Utah State.

In the only previous occasion when the UTSA men hosted a ranked opponent in San Antonio, the Roadrunners were in their first season and in their first game, taking on Eddie Sutton’s 18th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks on Nov. 30, 1981 at the old HemisFair Arena.

The Razorbacks, with future NBA guards Darrell Walker and Alvin Robertson, won 71-42 in the game played in downtown San Antonio at the former home of the Spurs. Once situated south of what is now the Grand Hyatt Hotel and north of the Tower of the Americas, the arena was razed in 1995 to make way for convention center expansion.

In regard to playing FAU, Germamy is a realist. He knows his team is struggling. But he said at courtside after practice that he’s excited about the possibilities.

“I used to say it more as a freshman, but I look forward to a challenge like that,” Germany said.

For UTSA, the last few months have been hard to handle. Since a 4-1 start, the team has lost 11 of its last 14 and four in a row.

Germany sat out a 72-54 road loss to Charlotte on Saturday. On Monday, he also watched from the bench as his friends played well for most of the night against Rice, only to be outscored 21-5 in the last seven minutes of regulation and 16-9 in overtime — on their home court.

For the first time since he’s been at UTSA, he didn’t play and was forced to deal with all of those emotions.

“It was tough,” Germany said. “It was weird. Honestly, I can’t really even explain it, it was so weird. I haven’t missed a game since eighth grade. I felt, like, out of place almost … I felt like I wanted to help them.

“Man, such a terrible feeling. I hated that. I’m thankful I’ve been able to come back so fast. It’s the first games I’ve missed in my career here. It kind of opened my eyes to be thankful for my good health.”

Germany said he remembers getting hit with two elbows against UTEP in El Paso.

“One, on a rebound, hit me on the top of the nose,” he said. “The second one, there was actually a knot about the size of a golf ball on my head. I was fine after it happened. But once I got to the locker room I was so out of it, I don’t really remember it that much.

“The next day, flying (back to San Antonio), it didn’t really help. I was tired. Kind of just out of it a little bit.”

Germany said he’s worked his way back into physical activity the past few days, leading into the Wednesday practice, in which he went through half-court drills and ran some sprints.

“Today I had limited contact, and (on Thursday), I’ll be OK,” he said.

Coming up

FAU at UTSA, Thursday, 7 p.m.
FIU at UTSA, Saturday, 3 p.m.


FAU (17-1, 7-0)
UTSA (7-12, 1-7)


Coach Steve Henson said he thinks Isaiah Addo-Ankrah is close to playing again after rehabilitating a wrist fracture. Addo-Ankrah worked out on a limited basis Wednesday, doing some shooting on the side.

He won’t play against FAU on Thursday, but he’s expected to ramp up activity Friday. Henson said he doesn’t have “high expectations” that he could play Saturday against FIU, but said he could be back for a Jan. 26 road game at North Texas.

Addo-Ankrah, one of the team’s best three-point shooters, has been out eight-straight games — all in conference.

Center Carlton Linguard, Jr., who has not played this season, still has two hurdles to overcome before he can play. First, he needs to get healthy. In addition, he needs clearance from the NCAA on an academic issue.

Physically, he’s getting better. Out for much of the fall with a knee injury and then with a concussion, he did some work in half-court situations Wednesday. He also ran sprints and shot the ball on the side. Henson said he could transition into some contact work by Friday.

As for the possibility that he could be cleared to play from an eligibility standpoint, it is apparently in the hands of the NCAA. Henson said he hoped to hear something this week but said he didn’t have anything to report.

UTSA’s Jacob Germany ‘a game-time decision’ for Rice

The status of injured UTSA center Jacob Germany is uncertain leading into tonight’s Conference USA home game against the Rice Owls.

Jacob Germany celebrates as time runs out. UTSA beat Texas State 61-56 in men's basketball on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jacob Germany and the UTSA Roadrunners host the Rice Owls tonight in the first of three home games this week. – Photo by Joe Alexander

A spokesman said Germany is “probably a game-time decision.”

Germany was hurt last Wednesday near the end of the Roadrunners’ game in El Paso. He sat out for the first time this season at Charlotte on Saturday afternoon.

UTSA plays at home three times this week instead of the usual two games, and the homestand starts tonight against the Rice Owls.

After facing high-scoring Rice, UTSA will also play the C-USA leading FAU Owls on Thursday night and the FIU Panthers on Saturday afternoon.

Germany averages 11.4 points and 7.5 rebounds, so his health is significant given the extra game on the schedule and also the team’s struggles — the Roadrunners have lost three in a row and six of their last seven.


Rice 12-5, 3-3
UTSA 7-11, 1-6

Coming up

Rice at UTSA, tonight at 7, at the Convocation Center


The Roadrunners are 7-4 at home this season. Their last victory was at home on Jan. 5 when they downed the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, 75-72. On Jan. 7, the Roadrunners stumbled in front of the home fans, falling 74-64 to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

DJ Richards. UTSA lost to Dartmouth 78-77 in men's basketball on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

DJ Richards has averaged 10.3 points as a UTSA freshman. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Last week on the road, they lost at UTEP, 69-57, on Wednesday. On Saturday, with Germany sidelined, they fell 72-54 at Charlotte, dropping them into 11th and last place in the C-USA standings.

UTSA freshman D.J. Richards continued his solid first season with the program, scoring a combined 10 and 14 points, respectively, on the trip. With his performance at Charlotte, he ran his string of double-figures scoring games to six in a row.

In games at UTEP and Charlotte, the 6-foot-5 guard from Houston hit nine of 20 shots from the field and four for 11 from three combined. For the season, he’s averaging 10.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. His 38.4 percent accuracy from long range is second on the team to John Buggs III.

Rice downed UTEP 83-82 in Houston on Saturday. Guard Travis Evee hit a left-handed floater at the buzzer for the win. The Owls are 20th in the nation in scoring at 81.7 points per game. With talented long-range shooters, they spread out the defense by averaging 25 three pointers and nine made threes.

Wrist injury is expected to sideline UTSA’s Isaiah Addo-Ankrah for four weeks

Quietly, UTSA forward Isaiah Addo-Ankrah served as an inspiration to his teammates for all the extra time he spent working on his game in the offseason.

Isaiah Addo-Ankrah. A beat Bethune-Cookman 90-69 in men's basketball on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Isaiah Addo-Ankrah played in all 11 games this season and averaged 7.3 points before an X-ray revealed a wrist fracture that would keep him out four weeks. — File photo by Joe Alexander

In early September, for instance, the UTSA women’s basketball team usually worked out in the morning hours, followed by the women’s volleyball squad in the early afternoon, followed later in the day by Addo-Ankrah and his friends in men’s basketball.

Sometimes, a visitor would show up in the morning thinking that Coach Karen Aston’s women’s basketball squad would be on the floor, only to discover that it was a scheduled day off.

Instead, the visitor would walk in to a nearly empty gym to the sound of squeaking shoes, with a couple of Coach Steve Henson’s men’s team players taking advantage of the open court to get up extra shots.

One day, it was Addo-Ankrah, who explained later that he’d committed to complete a couple of challenges from coaches — to make 10,000 3-pointers, outside of scheduled practices — in two different segments of the offseason.

As a consequence, the Houston native was in the gym up to three times a day from June through September. It was disheartening, in that regard, for the Roadrunners to learn recently that a fractured wrist 11 games into the season will sideline Addo-Ankrah for four weeks.

“It’s really disturbing to hear that,” UTSA guard John Buggs III said on the eve of the team’s Conference USA opener against North Texas. “Isaiah’s probably one of the more hard-working players on our team.

“He doesn’t have as many (natural) gifts as other people athletically, but, man, his work ethic … It’s just so heartbreaking for him. We hate that for him. Hopefully he’ll get well as soon as possible.”

The renewal of the hotly-contested, in-state rivalry between the Roadrunners and the Mean Green will take place on Thursday night at UTSA. Fortunately for UTSA, center Jacob Germany is expected to play.

Germany suffered a nasty-looking ankle sprain on Sunday afternoon in the Roadrunners’ 90-69 victory over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. UTSA (6-5) had a day off on Monday and then practiced Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the defending C-USA regular-season champions.

Led by guards Tylor Perry and Kai Huntsberry, North Texas (9-2) has won four in a row on the season. In addition, the Grant McCasland-coached Mean Green have won six out of eight against the Roadrunners in the series over the past five seasons.

Henson discussed his team’s preparations and his personnel issues after a two-hour drill Wednesday afternoon.

“We didn’t do much, up and down, either day,” Henson said. “As much as we’d love for there to be some pace in the game tomorrow, we don’t anticipate there will be a lot of pace, so we did a lot of stuff on the halfcourt, offensively and defensively. Jacob was able to do most of it both days.

“He looked progressively better today than he did yesterday, so I don’t think he’ll be 100 percent, but he’ll play.”

Addo-Ankrah apparently had been playing with some discomfort in his left (non-shooting) wrist for some time. Because of lingering pain, a new X-ray was ordered. It revealed a fracture.

“He’s going to miss about four weeks,” the coach said.

The circumstances on how Addo-Ankrah suffered the injury weren’t immediately clear.

“He injured it a long time ago,” Henson said. “Initially, it didn’t show a fracture. He started feeling a little better. But he wasn’t quite getting over the hump there, so they re-X-rayed and they found a small fracture.”

For the season, Addo-Ankrah had played in all 11 games with eight starts. A three-point shooting specialist, he was fifth on the team, averaging 7.3 points.

Though Addo-Ankrah made a season-high four triples on Sunday afternoon against Bethune-Cookman, his shooting percentages were down from last season, as he was hitting .366 from the field and .313 from three.

Henson didn’t specify how he planned to fill the 23.5-minutes per game void. But, likely, players such as Aleu Aleu, Lamin Sabally and Lachlan Bofinger will need to step up.

“I think (Isaiah’s) presence will be missed as far as spacing the floor and creating driving lanes, that type of thing,” Buggs said. “But we have other guys that can get in the lane or attack the paint, affect the game with offensive rebounding, that type of stuff.

“I think we have guys that are ready to step up and take on a bigger role.”

Buggs said it’s a good sign for the team to see the efforts that Germany made to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.

“It just sends a message that we’re all about being tough and trying to grind it out, and do whatever we need to do to win,” Buggs said. “I feel like, with Jacob playing, that puts us in the best position to win.”

Coming up

North Texas at UTSA, Thursday, 7 p.m.


UTSA 6-5
North Texas 9-2


North Texas’ top players are guards Perry and Huntsberry, with 6-10 power forward Abou Ousmane playing inside. Buggs said he was Ousmane’s teammate years ago in Connecticut at the Putnam Science Academy.

“He was one of my best friends in prep school,” Buggs said.

Buggs said he talked to Ousmane recently, likely in the days before the Bethune-Cookman game. “He was calling, talking noise,” Buggs said. “He was throwing (verbal) shots. I said, ‘Hey, we ready.’ It’s going to be a good test for us tomorrow. Definitely.”

The Mean Green have won at least 20 games in four of the past five seasons under McCasland. They reached the NCAA tournament in 2021 and advanced to the round of 32.

Last year, they finished 25-7 and 16-2 in the C-USA. North Texas played in the NIT, defeated Texas State and then lost to Virginia in the second round.

An ‘old head’ and his new backcourt mate are set to lead the UTSA Roadrunners

UTSA's John Buggs III, a sophomore guard from Homer, Louisiana, at men's basketball practice at the Convocation Center on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s John Buggs III, a redshirt sophomore from Homer, La., is expected to start at shooting guard Wednesday night in an exhibition game against the Schreiner Mountaineers. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard John Buggs III would like to say that he brings the same athleticism and burst to the basketball court that he did when he was a high school senior in Homer, La. But that would not actually be the case.

After five surgeries, including major reconstructions on each knee, Buggs relies more on guile and finesse than all-out assaults on the rim.

“The high school me, you’d see me dunking on people, that kind of stuff,” he said. “I kind of became an old head (since then). A lot of jump shots (now). A lot of floaters. Not trying to get to the rim. Using a lot of pace. Not trying to blow by people. Kind of more of a mind game now.”

Whatever the case, the “old head,” now listed as a UTSA redshirt sophomore, has proven himself as more than capable of playing for the Roadrunners.

From the start of the summer, through the early fall semester workouts and into the grind of more intense preseason practices, Buggs and backcourt mate Japhet Medor have supplied a steadying presence to a program looking to bounce back from a tough year.

Accordingly, both are expected to start Wednesday night in an exhibition home game against the Schreiner University Mountaineers.

Counting a closed scrimmage in Belton against UT Arlington a few weeks ago, it is UTSA’s second contest of the preseason against another team and its first in front of the fans. The Roadrunners will host Trinity University in the season opener on Monday night.

Medor, a senior, will play the point against Schreiner. The 6-foot-2 Buggs will be stationed at the two guard, with Erik Czumbel, on the wing, at the three. Isaiah Addo-Ankrah will open at the four, while Germany patrols the paint at center.

Earlier this week, the Roadrunners gathered to meet, to discuss individual roles and various topics. Head Coach Steve Henson made one observation that stuck with Germany, the team’s leading scorer from a year ago.

Henson told the players that the newcomers “really helped the (returning players) mature, if that makes sense,” said Germany, who added that he agrees with the sentiment.

“You look at Buggs and Japhet and the way they approach the game, and even Isaiah, they helped Lamin (Sabally) and Josh (Farmer) — even me — mature to the point where we’re just locked in. All in. Completely bought in to this team,” the 6-foot-11 Oklahoman said.

After experiencing the negative vibes of last year’s 10-22 disappointment, Germany said Buggs and Medor brought in an intangible — a positive spirit. He said the feeling spread to the rest of the players on the roster, and even to the coaching staff. “It just clicked really well,” he said.

“Their attitude and personality just made things so much better,” Germany said. “You look forward to seeing them every day.”

Henson said he agrees that the two guards, both of them four years removed from high school, have made a difference in the team’s preparation.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” the coach said. “Just two terrific teammates. Just their nature. I don’t think they did anything consciously to make that happen. It’s just who they are. Both of them are a little older. They’ve been around awhile.”

Medor, who grew up in South Florida, attended prep school for a year and then spent three seasons at the junior college level.

He’s a point guard with speed who loves to distribute. Medor, at 6 feet, can spot up and shoot from the outside, and he does dunk with surprising authority. But his primary function in Henson’s system will be to create for others.

Buggs, from Homer, in northwest Louisiana, also experienced a year of prep school. He then spent one season at the University of Massachusetts in 2019-20, followed by two more at Hill College in central Texas, about 35 miles north of Waco.

At UMass, Buggs played in four games before he blew out his right knee. He never played again for the NCAA Division I Minutemen. One year later, at Hill, in Hillsboro, Buggs injured his left knee in the season opener.

It cost him all of the 2020-21 season.

Once a dynamic 6-foot-2 guard who could electrify with his athleticism, he was relegated to another year of rehabilitation. Last season, Buggs bounced back by averaging 15.2 points per game. Notably, he hit 89 of 188 from 3-point range, good for 47.3 percent.

Buggs said Tuesday afternoon that it feels good to be back in Division I.

“It’s really just a long time coming,” he said. “I mean, it’s all the same. I feel like I been doing the same thing since before Division I. When I was in prep school (in Connecticut, in 2018-19), I pretty much played along with a Division I team. So it’s pretty much the same thing. It all translates.

“I’m just excited to be back on this level. It’s more about proving to myself that I could do it. I feel like I was (written) off with the back-to-back injuries. (With) Covid. All of that. So, it’s just kind of surreal. It’s a moment I’ve been waiting for, for a very long time.

“I won’t waste the opportunity. I appreciate it so much. Because, I know a million people would gladly be in my shoes.”

From another angle, this preseason marks the first in years for Buggs in which he feels as if he has been healthy enough to prepare himself properly.

“I had five surgeries in all, on my knees,” he said. “I had one before my first major one. Then after that I just had a lot of them, back-to-back. So it was kind of like two years of straight rehabbing. Watching basketball. Not being able to be on the court.

“So I’m really excited because, this year was like my first offseason to actually train and get up shots and put in work. Because the last two summers, going into the season, like at Hill, I got cleared in October. And the season started in November.

“I really didn’t have (any) summers to get any workouts in. So I’m really excited to see how far I’ve come along.”

Buggs has enjoyed some good moments in the last 30-something days of practices. When he finds a rhythm, his teammates sense that everything he shoots is going to find the bottom of the net. For instance, as Buggs unleashes a jumper from long distance, players often call it good as the ball leaves his hand.

In many instances, they have been correct.

Also, the chemistry between Buggs and Medor has been noticeable. Medor is perhaps the first pass-first point guard that UTSA has had since Giovanni De Nicolao. With his quickness, he can get into the paint, and with his awareness, he can get the ball to shooters — with touch.

Opposing teams will need to pay attention first to Medor, to stop his penetration, but also to Buggs, who apparently has been given something akin to a green light. Likely, he and Addo-Ankrah are the most dangerous three-point threats on the team.

Buggs said it’s been an easy transition for him to make, coming in from his two years at Hillsboro.

“Maybe my (UTSA) coaches want me to shoot a little more,” he said. “But, it’s been easy because the team, they’re all on board with what the coaches are saying. If the coaches say, ‘Buggs, you should have shot that shot,’ then, you have 9 or 10 guys saying, ‘Shoot the ball.’

“There’s no second-guessing. There’s no questioning, so I really appreciate my teammates for that. Especially playing with Japhet Medor. He makes it so easy. You get so many easy shots. It’s been really easy. Really simple.”

Tonight’s exhibition

NCAA Division III Schreiner College at Division I UTSA, 7 p.m. The outcome doesn’t count on either team’s record.

Season opener

UTSA hosts Division III Trinity University on Monday at 7 p.m. The Roadrunners will play next on Nov. 11 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The postseason for the Islanders last year included a Southland Conference title and a trip to the NCAA tournament.

Cleared to practice, Germany has returned for the Roadrunners

UTSA center Jacob Germany is practicing again and rounding back into form after a week-long pause to determine the cause of what was described as “discomfort” in his chest.

The 6-foot-11 Germany sat out all three of the team’s workouts last week. He missed another one on Monday as the Roadrunners ramped up intensity and officially started their fall preseason camp.

By Tuesday, Germany had been cleared, allowing him to participate both Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. He joined his friends on the court both days for workouts that lasted close to three hours each.

“Everything was fine, so he jumped right back into it,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “On Tuesday you could tell he had missed it just from a conditioning standpoint. It didn’t look like he missed anything other than that. He was fine today.”

Henson said there had been no concerns expressed by physicians after examining test results other than “maybe something lingering in the lungs” from a previous infection.

“Which is why maybe he just felt something and didn’t feel right,” Henson said. “But all the tests came back looking good.”

Henson said the episode was stressful for Germany, the Roadrunners’ top returning player.

“I was pretty confident we’d get some good news, and we did, and the other positive thing is, he didn’t miss much time,” the coach said. “You know, last year, he had some tests done and it just dragged on and (we) struggled to get that clearance.”

This time, Germany has returned in fairly short order, and Henson said he appreciates the medical staff “taking care of him” and getting him back on the court.

In the meantime, the team has been making progress. As one of UTSA’s assistants said earlier this week, “we’re just playing better basketball.” Henson said players were “really fired up on Monday,” with “terrific” effort.

“Same thing on Tuesday,” he said. “I was pleased both days we were able to sustain our level (of intensity). The fatigue didn’t become real obvious to us, which it can. I was very pleased with our conditioning level. I knew they’d be excited.”

While Germany watched from the side, 6-9 sophomore Josh Farmer and 6-9 freshman Massal Diouf stepped into the breach and took advantage of the additional time on the floor.

Henson said Farmer looked particularly good on Monday. As for Diouf, a true freshman from The Netherlands, “every chance we have to get quality reps for him is good.”

On Tuesday, the coach said players on defense generally played better than the offense, but on Thursday the players flipped the script with a few new offensive wrinkles added.

“The team defending (the scheme) didn’t know exactly what was coming … and it looked a little better,” he said. “We got some clean looks.”

Roadrunners display ‘great energy’ in opening workout

Josh Farmer at the first official UTSA men's basketball practice of the season on Sept. 26, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore Josh Farmer continued to practice well as the UTSA Roadrunners opened full-session, preseason drills Monday afternoon. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Hoping to rebound from last year’s season of discontent, the UTSA men’s basketball team engaged in an intense 2 and 1/2-hour practice Monday afternoon on the first day of full-session, preseason drills.

“I was not surprised that they came with great energy and excitement,” Coach Steve Henson said. “I was hoping (they) would. We’ve been together a lot. All but one (of the scholarship) players were here this summer.

Jacob Germany at the first official UTSA men's basketball practice of the season on Sept. 26, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Center Jacob Germany, the team’s leading scorer last year, sat out the practice as he awaits medical clearance. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“(We) had a great summer,” Henson said. “Had four great weeks this fall. You always want your first official practice to have a different excitement level to it, and I think it did. They came in and played with great energy.”

Sitting out the practice were 6-11 senior Jacob Germany and 7-foot transfer Carlton Linguard, Jr. Linguard’s absence was expected. He’s been working back slowly from a left knee injury since he arrived on campus. With Germany, a medical issue surfaced last week.

After experiencing what was described as “discomfort” in his chest, the UTSA center sat out at least two practices last week. UTSA still hasn’t heard from a doctor on the results of tests conducted last Friday.

“He got the tests done late last week,” Henson said. “We’re still waiting. As soon as the doc gets a look at the results, we’ll have an answer. We were hoping to have that this morning. Just didn’t have it.

“Now we’re hoping for tomorrow. If we can get that, we’re hoping he can practice tomorrow, if everything goes well.”

Henson said he is optimistic about a positive outcome. Germany, who averaged 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds last year, said he’s taking it “day by day” and hoping for a return in the next few days.

Steve Henson at the first official UTSA men's basketball practice of the season on Sept. 26, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson said he liked the energy on the team’s first ‘official’ practice of the preseason. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“I’m feeling good and healthy so I’m hoping sometime this week,” Germany said. “But you never know. It’s in God’s hands.”

Asked his level of concern, Germany was philosophical.

“Oh, it’s all part of the plan,” he said. “So I’m not concerned at all, whatever happens to me. We’ve got a great training staff here. The coaches are always in contact with them. We’re close to UT Health. All these factors are really good, so I’m not too concerned.”

In keeping with a trend from the last few weeks, a trio of players including Josh Farmer, Lamin Sabally and Aleu Aleu enjoyed strong practices.

Combined with continued steady play from backcourt newcomers Japhet Medor and John Buggs III, the Roadrunners looked as if they might have some potential — even though it’s extremely early — to bounce back from last year’s 10-22 record.

A lot, naturally, will depend on Germany’s status.

Also, Linguard is a key. When the Kansas State transfer from Stevens High School in San Antonio gets healthy, he can begin practice. To play, he’ll need clearance on an academics-related matter from the NCAA.

If all that happens, the Roadrunners could have the makings of a front line that could cause problems for a lot of the teams on their schedule.

A front line contingent that potentially could go 7-feet (Linguard), 6-11 (Germany), 6-9 (Farmer), 6-9 (Massal Diouf), 6-8 (Aleu) and 6-7 (Sabally) is intriguing.

“We could have a huge front line out there that could really help us,” Germany said.

Since June, the returning players and newcomers have worked out on most days for an hour or so. It was all tied to an NCAA rule restricting players’ time spent with coaches and staff to eight hours a week.

But from now until the start of the season in November, the Roadrunners will be allowed to work out for 20 hours a week, which will in turn translate to some long afternoons in the gym.

The increased workload in the first “official” practice of the new season didn’t seem to faze the players.

Players were hustling non-stop in drills that stretched from 3:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Henson said Farmer, a sophomore from Houston, enjoyed a big day on Monday. He was active on the boards, switched to guard players driving to the rim and generated some offense, as well.

Near the end of the session, he deflected a pass, gathered it in, and raced for a layup. Soon thereafter, Farmer hit a three pointer.

“Today, Josh really stood out,” Henson said. “He got a ton of reps because we were short-handed. So, Josh was terrific. I was most proud of him early in the practice. He missed a couple of threes, but then he went down and redeemed himself on the defensive end.

“He was flying around, blocking shots.”

Monday’s video highlights

Josh Farmer

Aleu Aleu

Lamin Sabally

UTSA’s Germany remains questionable for next week pending test results

UTSA center Jacob Germany remains questionable for next week’s first full-session, preseason practices pending results of medical tests, Roadrunners coach Steve Henson said Friday.

“Jacob’s just having some precautionary tests,” Henson said. “He got checked out this morning. Hoping to get the doctor to look at the results as soon as possible. Obviously we’d like to have that happen today. But I can’t guarantee it will.

“If not, hopefully (by) Monday morning. We’re as anxious to find out his status as anybody else because we start practice Monday (afternoon). So, that’s really all I have.”

Germany, a 6-foot-11 senior, sat out UTSA practices on Tuesday and Thursday. Henson characterized the setback as an illness, but he didn’t elaborate, saying only that it’s not believed to be Covid-related.

“He’s doing OK,” the coach said. “We just got to run some tests.”

Germany’s health question comes just as the Roadrunners prepare to ramp up preparation for the coming season.

Since the start of the fall semester in late August, players were on an eight-hour per week regimen, mixing weights and court time. Next week, preparation time increases to 20 hours per week.

In the past week, UTSA practiced Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. They were given the day off on Friday.

Henson said he likes the vibe around this year’s team.

“To this point, I’ve loved their focus, their energy, their eagerness to play the right way,” he said. “It’s just been very refereshing. This group likes being around each other. They like spending time together. They like spending time together in the gym.

“It’s a fun group to be around every day.”

As for the overall health of his team, a lot depends on the status of Germany, who led the Roadrunners last year with 15.2 points and 48.8 percent shooting. Also, 7.3 rebounds per game.

Seven-foot center Carlton Linguard, Jr., a transfer from Kansas State, won’t participate in workouts for the time being. The former Stevens High School standout is rehabilitating a knee injury.

Forward Aleu Aleu, knocked out with a knee injury last January during his first season at UTSA, has been one of the bright spots for Henson lately.

Aleu didn’t participate in contact work in the summer, but the multi-skilled 6-foot-8 forward now seems to be rounding into form.

“Aleu had good practices Tuesday and Thursday,” Henson said. “Looked like he’s feeling better. He ran today, so it was good to see him get some conditioning on turf.”

UTSA will have six weeks to prepare for the season. The Roadrunners will play an exhibition on Nov. 2 at home against Schreiner College. They’ll open the regular season at home on Nov. 7 against Trinity.