Tony Jasick raised some eyebrows a year ago jumping from a successful run at IPFW for a pretty similar job at Jacksonville. Once the season started Jasick didn't raise many more eyebrows in Atlantic Sun play going 4-10, just one win better than Stetson who finished last in the conference.
The Dolphins are looking for their first winning season since 2010-11 and Jasick now has one of the strangest rosters you'll ever see for a second year head coach. Jacksonville comes into this season with no freshmen and one sophomore, Antwon Clayton. The squad is also made up of eight former junior college players. Jasick instantly has an experienced squad but is it one that can create a little bit of chemistry where it lacked in last year's 10-22 season?
The good news in north Florida is that basically everyone is back for Jasick including double-digit scorers Kori Babineaux and Andris Misters. Babineaux will have to lead the Dolphins if they are going to climb the ASun ladder this year. Last year not only did he average 14 points per game but he also averaged nearly 4 assists and 4 boards per game. He will need to diversify his game though after shooting an abysmal 9.5% from three last year.
Misters will hold down the frontcourt along with J.R. Holder and Antwon Clayton. The bad news is really none of those players are dominant in the post and will be hard pressed to improve a squad that finished dead last in the Atlantic Sun in rebounding a year ago.
Efficiency and chemistry is the key for Jacksonville, which is obviously hard to obtain in any preseason look. I do think it will be another long year in Jacksonville though as there are really no notable changes from a team that was the worst in the ASun offensively and defensively a year ago. In short, you'll find out just how good of a coach Jasick is this year and maybe he'll get to prove how good of a recruiter he can be when he totally has to reload the Dolphins' roster over the next two years. Currently Jasick has no early signings for 2016.
We'll get a good gauge of where the Dolphins are at early in the season in November. JU opens the season with road trips to Appalachian State and Florida State before hosting two non-Division I teams. The Dolphins will then head to Greensboro for a 3 game exempt event against host UNCG, Navy, and Jasick's former squad the IPFW Mastadons.
The rest of the non-conference slate features two more games against non-Division I opponents, which puts the Dolphins total at a national high of four. Florida A&M, Marist, and Bethune-Cookman also visit Jacksonville. On the road Jasick's squad's will visit Jacksonville State, South Carolina State, South Florida, Florida, and Western Michigan.
Look for another long season for Jasick and company. The best team in the Atlantic Sun does reside in Jacksonville but it's just not Jacksonville.