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Men’s basketball looks for more madness

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LOC1Forward Augustine Rubit has been rewriting the record books during his time at South Alabama. (Courtesy of usajaguars.com)The 2012-13 South Alabama men’s basketball team wrapped up the regular season with a record of 17-11, the best record since the 2008-09 when the Jags finished 20-12.
They also compiled a 14-6 Sun Belt Conference record, their best 2007-08 when the Jags were 16-2 in conference play.
Did you also know that same season the Jags went undefeated at home during the regular season?
Did you know that the South Alabama men’s basketball program has collected 721 wins prior to the 2012-13 season?
You are now enrolled in MBB 101, History of South Alabama Men’s Basketball.
South has been playing basketball since the 1968-69 season, and has collected 10 Sun Belt Conference titles.
The Jags have made it to the NCAA Tournament eight times, the last coming via an at-large bid in the 2007-08 season. South Alabama is 1-8 in the “Big Dance”, but the lone win came in what could be called the greatest moment in South Alabama athletics history.
The Jags were a No. 11 seed facing Alabama for the first time in their history and quickly found themselves down by 16 at halftime. South Alabama trailed the entire game until the final seconds. That was when All-Sun Belt guard Jeff Hodge hit a desperation 3-pointer with two seconds left. That shot would secure the win for the Jags. Former head coach Ronnie Arrow can still be seen on Youtube jumping for joy after the shot.
The Jags have called three different arenas home in their history: the Mobile Civic Center, Jaguar Gymnasium and the Mitchell Center. During the 43 years of basketball, the Jags have had a winning season in all of them but three. 1969-70, 1971-72 and 2001-02 were the only seasons South did not have a winning record at home. Overall, the Jags are 459-173, a .726 winning percentage.
The Jags have had players succeed outside too. South Alabama has been represented by 16 different players in the NBA. The Jags have had one first round pick in Terry Catledge (1985) and three second round picks in Ed Rains (1981), Junie Lewis and Jeff Hodge (1989).
There have been 10 All-American selections from South Alabama, all coming from 1979-1989. Ed Rains was selected in 1979 and 1981. Herb Andrews and Rory White were selected in 1980. Terry White was also selected in 1982. Catledge and Michael Gerren were selected in 1983-84. Hodge was selected in 1989.
Along with the 10 All-Americans, the Jags have accumulated plenty of Sun Belt Conference honors. You can also add five All-Freshmen team selections, two Freshman of the Year winners, three Sophomore of the Year winners, three Junior of the Year winners, three Senior of the Year winners and five Player of the Year award winners.
That’s 31 postseason accolades received by Jaguar men’s basketball players.
This season, the Jags saw the retirement of their all-time winningest head coach in their history, Ronnie Arrow. Arrow retired the winningest coach in South Alabama and Sun Belt Conference history, compiling 211 wins at USA and 112 wins in SBC games.
Junior forward Augustine Rubit has been rewriting the record books at South Alabama, and he still has other records left to break. He already broke the school record for free throws made and attempted in a season. He is ninth in career points. His rebounding numbers regularly rank in the top ten in the country and he currently stands as the only player in the NCAA to be in the top 30 in both scoring and rebounding.
The Jags have currently won six of their last eight games, and head into the Sun Belt Conference Tournament riding a confident comeback win against Troy on the road. They will be ranked as the No. 3 seed with a first-round bye before starting their quest for March Madness on March 9.
Based on history, they are due to return to the Big Dance. Maybe this will be the year.

Written by JT Crabtree | LOC Editor

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