2022 Record: 29-10 (14-6 CUSA)
Head Coach: Andy Kennedy (Career Record 344-194) (UAB Record 78-25)
PG: Eric Gaines (11.5 Pts, 3.4 Reb, 4.3 Ast)
SG: Alejandro Vasquez (Salt Lake CC 18.4 Pts, 3.2 Reb, 2.9 Ast)
SF: James White (Ole Miss 4.0 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 1.0 Ast)
PF: Yaxel Lendeborg (Arizona Western CC 17.2 Pts, 13.0 Reb, 2.6 Ast)
C: Javian Davis (6.1 Pts, 4.0 Reb, 0.7 Ast)
6: PF Chris Coleman (South Plains CC 16.0 Pts, 8.0 Reb, 2.5 Ast)
7: SG Daniel Ortiz (North Alabama 14.8 Pts, 3.8 Reb, 1.0 Ast)
8: SF Barry Dunning (Arkansas 0.3 Pts, 0.2 Reb, 0.1 Ast)
9: C Will Shaver (North Carolina 0.7 Pts, 0.3 Reb, 0.3 Ast)
10: SG Marquis Hargrove (Arizona Western CC 14.5 Pts, 3.8 Reb, 1.9 Ast)
11: PG Butta Johnson (3.5 Pts, 1.3 Reb, 0.6 Ast)
12: SG Tony Toney (3.4 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 0.6 Ast)
13: PG KJ Satterfield
UAB had to completely rebuild their roster after losing 8 players this offseason to both graduation and the transfer portal. The only returning starter from last years team for the Blazers is point guard Eric Gaines. He had some interest at the pro level but opted to return to Birmingham for another season. Gaines has potential to be an all league guard in the AAC. He’s one of the most athletic players in the conference and could be the best defensive player in the entire league. His offensive game is high level as well. He’s a very good passer but can be a bit turnover prone at times. Another returner for the Blazers that will slot into a starting position next season is big man Javian Davis. He played in all games last season off the bench proving to be a good rebounder and scorer around the rim. Davis will fill the void of Trey Jemison and could even average double figures this upcoming season.
UAB also went to the JUCO ranked to fill out 4 spots on their roster. They brought in Alejandro Vasquez who started his career at St. Bonaventure and had a very productive season last year at Salt Lake CC. Vasquez led one of the best JUCO teams in the country in scoring averaging just over 18PPG. He shot 53% from the floor and 39% from 3. He should come in and start right away in Birmingham as a high volume scoring threat as the Blazers have to replace some of the production lost by Jelly Walker. Another player from the JUCO ranks that is expected to start for the Blazers is Arizona Western CC big man Yaxel Lendeborg. He averaged a double double the past 2 seasons including a 17PPG and 13RPG mark in the 2022-23 season. Lendeborg is going to be a force on the inside for the Blazers next season with his interior finish and post presence. UAB also got a commitment from Lendeborg’s JUCO teammate SG Marquis Hargrove. He started every game at Arizona Western CC last season averaging 14.5PPG shooting 47% from the field and 38% from 3. He can be a high level scorer off the bench next season for the Blazers. The final JUCO player that UAB landed is PF from South Plains CC Chris Coleman. He was a force to be reckoned with this past season leading his team in scoring with 16PPG and also chipping in 8RPG. He has a high level basketball IQ and had a season high of 30 points last season.
UAB also added 3 high major transfers: James White from Ole Miss, Will Shaver from North Carolina, and Barry Dunning from Arkansas. White is the transfer most equipped to make an immediate impact next season. The former 4 star recruit appeared in 29 games with Ole Miss last season scoring 4PPG and shooting 40% from the floor. He is also the oldest of the high major transfers and is going into his junior season. Shaver only saw action in 3 games in his North Carolina career. He is the most unknown of the transfer bunch. The 3 star recruit does bring some solid depth to the frontcourt. The final high major transfer is Arkansas transfer guard Barry Dunning. He’s a former 4 star recruit that only saw action in 16 games playing an average of 3 minutes per game.
Daniel Ortiz, a guard out of North Alabama, is the final transfer the Blazers added this offseason. Ortiz had 2 very productive seasons at North Alabama averaging 14.4PPG as a freshman and 14.8PPG as a sophomore last season. He’s a very good 3 point shooter who made over 100 threes last season. He could be a spark off the bench for the Blazers, and there’s a chance he could also start as well. At the very least, he’s a knockdown shooter that can be relied on to make 2-3 threes a game. UAB also adds to the guard depth with returners Efrem “Butta” Johnson a rising sophomore who averaged just over 3PPG last season. Also returning is guard Tony Toney a rising senior who has appeared in 80 total games in his UAB career. To complete the roster, UAB added freshman point guard KJ Satterfield a three star player out of New Jersey.
UAB should be the 3rd place team in the new AAC behind FAU and Memphis. There is a chance that UAB surprises and is better than people think. This Blazers roster has enough depth and experience that can shock a lot of people even though their expectations won’t be as high as they were last season. It will be tough to replicate last seasons run to the NIT championship game, but a season of 22-24 wins and a Top 3 finish in the new American Athletic Conference is highly possible.