KOKOMO, Ind. – With a month remaining until the new school year begins, coaches at Indiana University Kokomo has been hard at solidifying both rosters and coaching vacancies. The most exciting announcement may have come from the men’s basketball program as a well-known name will join the coaching ranks, while the women’s volleyball program announced its own assistant coach and women’s basketball several new players.

New Cougars men’s basketball coach Eric Echelbarger announced that Roosevelt Jones will serve as the Cougars’ new assistant coach. College basketball fans will recognize Jones as a former Butler University standout player. Jones will serve as the programs recruiting coordinator and direct the player development initiatives while assisting with on-court coaching and scouting.  

Jones, a native of O’Fallon, Illinois, comes to IU Kokomo after spending the last two years playing in the NBA G League for the Canton Charge, an affiliate team for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Additionally, Jones has trained players in the St. Louis region and worked closely with his high school basketball program at O’Fallon Township High School supporting player development.

“We are very excited to add Roosevelt Jones to our coaching staff,” said Echelbarger, who was named as the Cougars’ head coach on June 1. “He had a tremendous playing career at Butler University, and his experience and knowledge will be invaluable to our players. Roosevelt has an unbelievable passion for teaching the game, and his Indianapolis area connections will be a great asset in our recruiting efforts. I have known Roosevelt since he was in the young man attending my basketball camps in Southern Illinois and I am thrilled to have him join the IU Kokomo Cougars basketball program.”

Roosevelt Jones’s playing career (2011-2016) at Butler University is one that Bulldog fans will not soon forget. He holds the program record for career starts at 134 and currently sits in 11th place on the all-time scoring list with 1,533 points. Jones ranks high in many Butler statistical categories including fourth in assists, fifth in rebounds and eighth in steals in Bulldog history. He finished his career with a record of 94-46 and was named All-Big East Conference in back-to-back seasons. Jones played for current Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and Ohio State University head coach Chris Holtmann during his time at Butler. Off the court, Jones double majored in  digital media productions and strategic communications.

“I’m very thankful to Coach Echelbarger and Director of Athletics Greg Cooper for this opportunity,” Jones said. “I can’t wait to meet all the players and begin preparing for a successful 2018-19 season.”

New IUK volleyball assistant coach

Emily Harrison joins the IU Kokomo volleyball staff as assistant coach for the 2018 season. Harrison comes to IU Kokomo after completing her career at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, playing four years of collegiate volleyball at the Division I level as a pin hitter. Harrison was a four-year starter for the SIU-Edwardsville Cougars, having appeared in 114 matches while earning all-tournament team honors on four occasions and helping her team earn a bid to the 2018 NIVC tournament. The Cougars also broke the school’s Division I record for most wins in a season in 2017 and 2018

Harrison ended her senior season with 1.97 kills per set and a .223 hitting percentage. Harrison was also an Ohio Valley Conference Medal of Honor recipient for having a 4.0 GPA for the 2017 school year. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business with cum laude honors.

Harrison graduated from Indiana’s Western Boone High School in 2014. During her time there, she played volleyball and basketball. Harrison was selected for the Indiana Volleyball All-Star team. She also holds the school’s volleyball records for career kills, single-season kills, and career digs. For basketball, Harrison is part of the 1,000 Point Club and holds the school record for career rebounds. Harrison graduated from Western Boone with academic honors.

“I am excited to work with Coach Hayes as she has coached me in the past. I love her will to win and her competitive attitude,” said Harrison. “She has created a great culture at IU Kokomo that I am excited to be a part of. I am looking forward to bringing in a new, fresh perspective that will improve our players and the program as a whole.”

The three-time national tournament qualifying Cougars will kick off their 2018 season on Aug. 22 in a home contest versus Marian University at 7 p.m. at Cougar Gym.

Women’s hoops announces recruits

The IUK women’s basketball program is welcoming the largest incoming class in the programs five-year history.

“I am really enthusiastic about our incoming freshmen class. I believe each of these ladies wants to be at IUK and fits the culture we are building here as well,” head coach Colie Trawick said of the incoming freshman. “Our goal was to recruit different regions in IN with hopes the different styles of play will mesh well together making us much harder to scout. This will truly be a thrilling year for our staff and players. We are excited for their arrival.”

Brittnay Wheeler is a 5-10 forward from Greenfield Central H.S. and plans to major in secondary education. When asked why she made the decision to become a Cougar, Wheeler responded: “I chose IU Kokomo because I really liked the way Coach Colie pushed the girls in practice and I enjoyed the team.”

Natalie Kassen, a 5-5 guard, will join the program from Mooresville H.S. She plans to major in Business. Kassen was an All-State Honorable Mention who led the team in steals and free throw percentage as a junior; as a senior she lead the team in steals and assists. Other athletic achievements include Mental Attitude Award, Captain Award, Scholar Athlete Award, Hoops for Harvest Award.

“I chose IUK because I liked the atmosphere and I felt like I could see myself having an impact on the team and fitting in,” said Kassen, who had a 3.97 GPA in high school.

Braxtyn Hurley is a 5-7 point guard from Richmond H.S. and plans to major in criminal justice. Hurley was an All-State Honorable Mention, three-time All-North Central Conference and selected on the All-Star team twice.

“I loved the energy from the coaches and I love the campus,” she said. “It feels like a place I can call home and feel safe while getting an education and meeting new friends.”

Tiarianah “Tia” Chambers is a 5-11 forward from Penn H.S. who will major in physical therapy. Chambers was Second Team All-NIC, was selected as a McDonalds All-Star and a Top 60 player. She was a part of a high school program that finished as the 2016 IHSAA Class 4A state champions with a 26-2 record. Chambers graduated with academic honors and was an All-State Honorable Mention.

“The school drew me in! I loved the environment and the team,” she said.

Ryann Bunting is a 5-8 guard from Westfield H.S. majoring in psychology. Bunting was part of the high school squad that won the Hoosier Crossroads Conference.

“I wanted to go somewhere close and be a part of a program that has a good team bond. The intensity of the program intrigues me as well,” says Bunting.

Courtesy of Indiana University Kokomo


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