The 2013 season is notable for Southern Utah's basketball program for two reasons, including joining North Dakota as new members of the Big Sky Conference.
The second is the hiring of Nick Robinson, a 33-year-old Stanford graduate who replaces Roger Reid. Robinson, primarily known for his running three-quarter-court 3-point shot against Arizona at the buzzer in 2004 that helped Stanford win its 20th consecutive game, brings a background of success to Southern Utah a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2007.
SUU opens its season Friday at Gonzaga.
Robinson, formerly an assistant at LSU, brings a tough-minded, man-to-man defensive philosophy to the Thunderbirds, who finished 14-17 last season in the Summit Conference. Southern Utah lacked scoring punch and was turnover-prone last season.
"I'd like to start defensively first," said Robinson. "That's been part of championship teams I've been part of. That's where our base is. That will translate to our offense."
Forward Jackson Stevenett is one of two returning starters. Stevenett, a second-team all-conference performer last year, averaged 14.1 points.
The Thunderbirds have also added four newcomers, including shot-blocking 6-foot-11 center Jayson Cheesman.
SUU basketball schedule
Nov. 9 at Gonzaga 8 p.m.
Nov. 16 vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay at Reno, Nev. 9:30 p.m.
Nov. 17 vs. Cal State Fullerton at Reno 9:30 p.m.
Nov. 18 at Nevada 4:30 p.m.
Nov. 21 Carroll College 7 p.m.
Nov. 29 at TCU 6 p.m.
Dec. 1 San Diego Christian 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 4 San Diego 7 p.m.
Dec. 17 North Dakota* 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 21 at Denver, 4 p.m.
Dec. 29 Northern Colorado* 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5 at Northern Arizona* 3 p.m.
Jan. 7 at Sacramento State* 8 p.m.
Jan. 10 Weber State* 7 p.m.
Jan. 12 Idaho State* 7 p.m.
Jan. 17 at Montana* 7 p.m.
Jan. 21 at Montana State* 7 p.m.
Jan. 24 Portland State* 7 p.m.
Jan. 26 Eastern Washington* 7 p.m.
Jan. 31 Sacramento State* 7 p.m.
Feb. 2 Northern Arizona* 7 p.m.
Feb. 7 at Idaho State* 7 p.m.
Feb. 9 at Weber State* 7 p.m.
Feb. 14 at Portland State* 8:35 p.m.
Feb. 16 at Eastern Washington* 3 p.m.
Feb. 23 BracketBuster TBA
Feb. 28 Montana State* 7 p.m.
March 4 Montana* 7 p.m.
March 7 at Northern Colorado* 7 p.m.
March 9 at North Dakota* 1 p.m.
March 14-16 Big Sky Tournament
*Big Sky Conference
SUU at Gonzaga
R Season opener
Friday, 8 p.m.
Note • For SUU's complete schedule, visit http://www.sltrib.com/sports