Dons Determined to Dance Again


The Dons tip off against Murray State in Round 1 of March Madness. PHOTO COURTESY OF Chris M. Leung/DONS ATHLETICS

After a historic season that featured the Dons making their first March Madness appearance in 24 years, and finishing with a record of 24-10, the 2022-23 team is ready to bring another successful season to the Hilltop. 

“We can’t wait to build off of the momentum of our 2022 NCAA Tournament bid and we have a talented, hungry group that will be exciting to watch,” said head coach Chris Gerlufsen.  

This year, USF’s non-conference schedule is highlighted by seven home games, including a battle with Pac-12 foe Arizona State. Additionally, the Dons will return to Chase Center for the third time in the last four seasons to take on Utah State on Sunday, Dec. 4, in a neutral site matchup.

The Dons will also compete in the 2022 Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City over Thanksgiving week, as the team squares off against Northern Iowa on Nov. 21 at T-Mobile Center. Depending on the outcome of this matchup, USF will face the winner or loser of Grand Canyon vs. Wichita State.

Towards the end of December, USF will begin their 16-game conference slate on Dec. 29 when they make the trip to the South Bay for a showdown at Santa Clara University. The Dons will wrap up their conference schedule on Feb. 25 with a road trip to Provo, Utah for a matchup with Brigham Young University.

This is the beginning of a new era for Dons basketball, as new head coach Chris Gerlufsen takes over for former USF head coach Todd Golden, who is now head coach at the University of Florida. Golden left the Hilltop less than 12 hours after losing against Murray State in the first round of March Madness. 

Along with Coach Gerlufsen, the Dons bring back veterans like two-time all-WCC guard Khalil Shabazz and others like Josh Kunen, Julian Rishwain, and Zane Meeks who all played key roles in the rotation last year. The Dons also added four Division 1 transfers: third-year Saba Gigiberia from Georgia Tech, third-year Marcus Williams from Texas A&M, redshirt fourth-year Tyrell Roberts from Washington State University, and graduate student Toni Rocak from UC San Diego.

“The biggest goal we have is to obviously make it back to the tournament, and we really want to be a top 25 team this year,” said redshirt second-year guard Isaiah Hawthorne. “With the new guys and new coaches we’ve all come together as a team, and we will have to make sacrifices this year on the court. We won’t let things like egos get in the way of that. From the first day of training camp, we were one big family.”

Tickets for the Dons Doubleheader at Chase Center are already on sale at www.chasecenter.com.

Students can attend all USF home games for free with their One Card.

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