Still recovering from a knee injury, UTSA star Jhivvan Jackson (2) is running and practicing with the team this summer but won’t play in the team’s three-game series in Costa Rica.
The UTSA men’s basketball team is set to open on Monday a three-game series of exhibitions in Costa Rica.
Third-year Roadrunners coach Steve Henson put the team through 10 workouts in San Antonio leading into the trip.
The coach will have 10 players available, including forward Adrian Rodriguez, who sat out last season after injurying his knee in the regular-season opener.
In addition, newcomers Tamir Bynum, Adokiye Iyaye, Atem Bior and Knox Hellums will see action for the first time.
“The basketball portion is an opportunity for the new guys to get meshed into the system with the returners,” Henson said in an interview on campus last week. “The) things we’re doing now are things that will take quite a bit of time to do when the official season starts.
“So, we’re getting some that stuff out of the way now. Help them create that comfort level.”
Key players from last year, including Giovanni De Nicolao, Keaton Wallace and Nick Allen, are set to play.
Guard Jhivvan Jackson (knee) and forward Byron Frohnen (hand/wrist) won’t play.
Jackson, the leading scorer for a 20-15 team last year, is hopeful of returning to play some time around the start of the season after undergoing surgery last spring.
He has been running and shooting but hasn’t been cleared yet for contact.
“I feel great,” Jackson said last week. “You know, I’m getting better every day. I’m starting to do all the drills except the physical (contact).
“When we get back from Costa Rica, I’m going to get the knee brace. Then, most likely, two weeks after the knee brace, close to a month, I’m going to be able to do the physical (contact in practice).”
Costa Rica exhibitions
Monday — UTSA vs. University of Calgary
Tuesday — UTSA vs. University of Calgary
Wednesday –UTSA vs. U21 Costa Rica national team
Jhivvan Jackson, sophomore, guard, Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Byron Frohnen, junior, forward, Las Vegas
Tamir Bynum, freshman, guard, Houston
Giovanni De Nicolao, junior, guard, Padua, Italy
Mitar Stanojevic, junior, forward, Serbia
Adokiye Ayaye, freshman, guard, Oklahoma City
Adrian Rodriguez, redshirt freshman, forward, Tulsa
Knox Hellums, junior, guard, Tomball/Pepperdine
Keaton Wallace, sophomore, guard, Dallas
Atem Bior, junior, forward, Brisbane, Australia
Nick Allen, senior, forward, Surprise, Arizoona
Toby Van Ry, senior, forward, Fort Collins, Colorado
UTSA finished 20-15 last season, including 11-7 and fifth place in Conference USA. The Roadrunners reached the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. It was UTSA’s first 20-win season since the 2010-11 squad finished 20-14. Forward Deon Lyle and George Willborn III, who had eligibility remaining, are no longer with the team.
“To be honest, we as a team, got really high expectations for ourselves. The main goal is to win the conference and go to the (NCAA) tournament … We got new guys coming in to help us get there and give us energy.” — UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson