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Men’s Basketball Preview: UC Irvine vs. Chapman (exhibition)

Vs. Chapman (exhibition)

Saturday 7 p.m. at Bren Events Center


The Anteaters, a consensus pick to win the Big West Conference this season, unveil a roster that includes 7-foot-6 freshman center Mamadou Ndiaye, as well as Luke Nelson, a 6-3 freshman guard imported from Great Britain.


Top returners Will Davis, a 6-8 junior, 6-1 sophomore guard Alex Young and 6-4 senior guard Chris McNealy are expected to start, but the other two spots will be chosen among up to five candidates, Coach Russell Turner said. UCI lost then-senior starters Adam Folker, Mike Wilder and Daman Starring from a year ago.

UCI’s 15-player roster includes six players 6-8 or taller, including 7-2 freshman Ioannis Dimakopoulos, 6-10 junior John Ryan and 6-10 sophomore Mike Best.

UCI is coming off a 21-16 season in which it reached the Big West tournament final, earned the program’s first postseason win (in the tournament) since 1986, and was 13-1 at home.

Chapman, with former Costa Mesa High star player and head coach Dan Krikorian on the bench as an assistant, is guided by former UCI assistant Mike Bokosky, in his 22nd year at the Panthers’ helm.


Chapman was 13-12 a year ago and returns three starters, including its top two scorers. Junior guards Colin Zavrsnick and Taylor Hamasaki averaged 12.6 and 12.4 points per game, respectively, last season.

Chapman’s two tallest players are 6-8, including junior John Joyce, a product of Corona del Mar High. Joyce averaged 3.8 points and 2.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Orange Coast College last season.

— Barry Faulkner