JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University was picked to finish fifth in the preseason A-Sun conference basketball poll. The Dolphins are fine with flying under the radar for now.
They know adding transfer center Dave Bell gives them a presence that not many teams in the conference can match up with. Bell has been on campus for over a year but sat out last year after transferring from Ohio State.
At 6-foot-9 he’s a true low post presence that, head coach Tony Jasick hasn’t had during his time at JU.
“I hope he continues to develop into a rim protector,” said Jasick during Tuesday’s basketball media day. “I think his length and athleticism is something that we haven’t had. I think it’s even a little bit different than what our league [A-Sun] has traditionally had. Offensively he’s talented with the ball around the rim. He just has to continue to get comfortable in live ball play. I hope he takes off.”
Bell joins a Dolphins team that’s returning three starters. Last season JU dealt with a ton of injuries. At 6-foot-6, Jace Hogan was forced to play a lot of center. He led the team last season with 17.1 points per game. With the addition of Bell he can go back to his traditional combo-forward position.
“I was a little undersized,” said Hogan about having to play center last season. “Having Dave he’s 6’9” – 6’10”, he can affect the game in so many ways. You have to address his presence in the post. That’s helped me. I haven’t played with a big guy in a long time. It’s just going to help our team overall.”
JU will open the 2018-19 season at home against Florida A&M on Nov. 6.