Detroit — They won't need quite as many name tags in the early going of practice at Calihan Hall, but there's still plenty of new faces.
Seven new players have joined the Detroit Mercy men's basketball roster for 2019-20, still a fair amount, though down from 13 in head coach Mike Davis' first year on the job.
The most notable name joining the fray is Brad Calipari, who, you guessed it, is the son of legendary Kentucky coach John Calipari. Brad arrives after spending two years with his father, but seeking more playing time.
Calipari, a 6-foot, 179-pound guard, averaged 13.7 points and 6.7 assists at Global Sports Academy, after he averaged 15.3 points in his senior season of high school at MacDuffie in Massachusetts. Calipari should provide the Titans another long-range threat; as a senior in high school, he shot 47 percent from behind the 3-point line.
As a graduate transfer, he has two years of eligibility remaining.
Another familiar name joining the program is 6-4, 195-pound guard Dwayne Rose Jr., who arrives from Southwestern Illinois College, and is the nephew of one of the newest Detroit Pistons, Derrick Rose. Dwayne Rose played in 26 games last season, and averaged 7.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
He also has two years of eligibility remaining.
The Titans, again, will be led by one of the best scorers in the nation, sophomore guard Antoine Davis, the coach's son who in his first year with the Titans broke Steph Curry's NCAA 3-point record for freshmen. Davis decided to stay in school rather than pursue professional oppoertunities, though he figures to be an NBA Draft sleeper in 2020. He led the Horizon League averaging 26.1 points a game last season, and his 784 points were second-most in school history.
Other returning players include: swingman Chris Brandon (6-7/215), forward Willy Isiani (6-8/230), swingman Marquis Moore (6-6/200) and forward Boe Nguidjol (6-8/225), who are sophomores, and guard Jordan Gorman (5-0/165), who is a junior.
Other new players include graduate transfer B.J. Maxwell (6-4/200), a guard from Abilene Christian; senior Justin Miller (6-8/268), a forward from Louisiana-Lafayette; sophomore Alonde LeGrand (6-7/205), a forward from State Fair Community College in Missouri; Sam Hofman (6-5/275), a freshman forward from Belgium, and Jamail Pink (6-1/160), a guard from Houston.
The Titans finished 11-20 in 2018-19, losing to eventual champion Northern Kentucky, 99-88, in the Horizon League quarterfinals.
Per usual, Davis has scheduled tough, and on the road. The Titans' first seven games all are on the road, and include North Carolina State and Clemson right off the bat. Detroit Mercy also plays at Notre Dame on Dec. 10 and at Gonzaga on Dec .30.
Davis' philosophy is to schedule tough and on the road early in the season, the theory being it pays dividends in the end. That's especially important in the Horizon League, which almost always is a one-bid league for the NCAA Tournament.
That might not even matter this year, though, as Detroit Mercy has received a one-year ban from postseason play because of subpar academic results in recent years.
The program has appealed, arguing the academic issues were a result of previous staffs and rosters and shouldn't punish a current group that had nothing to do with that. The university continues to await the NCAA's response, a spokesman said.
Davis, 59, took over at Detroit Mercy for Bacari Alexander, who was fired after two tumultuous seasons as the head coach and now is an assistant at the University of Denver. Davis took the Detroit Mercy after six seasons at Texas Southern, which he took to the NCAA Tournament four times. Previously, he coached at UAB (six years, one NCAA) and Indiana (six years, four NCAAs, including the championship game in 2002).