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Kansas City Roos Basketball Shines Bright While Other Regional Teams Struggles

While larger DI schools in the surrounding area falter, the Roos finish strong with a historic six-game win streak.
Julia Kapros
The team celebrates its victory against Omaha.

  College basketball isn’t going well for the three larger Division I schools surrounding the Kansas City area.

  The University of Kansas is having one of its worst seasons in recent memory with a 10-7 conference record and slipping in the Associated Press Top 25 rankings. Kansas State University regressed from an impressive 2022-23 season with 10 losses in the Big 12. The University of Missouri sits dead last with an 0-17 SEC record. 

  With all three teams having less-than-ideal seasons compared to what they are used to, one, often overlooked, DI team in Kansas City had one of the best seasons in recent years the Kansas City Roos.

  The Roos ended their season on a six-game win streak, the best in program history since the 2004-2005 season, where they went on an 11-game win streak.

  On Feb. 8, the Roos had one of the toughest losses of this year in a back-and-forth battle against North Dakota State in overtime, 78-82. In the post-game conference, Head Coach Marvin Menzies had an optimistic outlook for the rest of the season. 

  “We will live to fight another day,” Menzies said. “Hopefully we will have an opportunity to play better basketball in March…We are still dreaming, we are working towards that dream.”

  For the next six games, Kansas City looked unstoppable.

  Menzies takes pride in his defenses, and it showed in the last few matches. The defease allowed 62.1 points per game on their streak, which would rank in the top ten of the NCAA. Their perimeter defense is a strength, allowing only 31.5% of three-point shots during conference play. They rank second in field goal percentage allowed as well (44.7%).

  Players like forward Allen Mukeba Jr., center Melvyn Ebonkoli and forward Jeff Ngandu are reasons why the Roos are second in the Summit League in blocked shots throughout conference play. The three of them combined have 31 blocks. 

  Meanwhile, the Roos channeled their inner Robin Hood, with 106 total steals in league play. They are second in the Summit League, only two steals behind St. Thomas. 

  Heading into the season, Kansas City hoped that senior guard and offensive leader Anderson Kopp could stay healthy. Kopp averaged 13.1 points in his first 10 games. 

  However, on Dec. 9, Kopp re-injured the same wrist that sidelined him last year and is not expected to return for the Summit League Championship Tournament.

  Down one of their best players, the Roos needed someone to step up. Junior forward Jamar Brown has shined in Kopp’s absence. 

  In the last six games, Brown averaged 18 points, six rebounds, and nearly two steals. He’s become one of the top five scorers in the conference. Brown is also executing defensively, with seven blocks and 15 steals in league play.

  As one of the team’s seasoned veterans, graduate guard Khristion Courseault is playing his best, with 11.7 points and 4.9 assists per game. He’s shooting 40.4% from the three-point line and has the most steals on the team with 22. 

  Brown isn’t the only Arizona native contributing. Freshman guard Jayson Petty averaged 8.6 points per game in conference play and completed 13 steals. Junior forward Cameron Faas is one of the best perimeter shooters on the Roos, shooting 33.3% from downtown on 90 attempted shots.

  Each player on this roster is a part of the overall Roos machine. Throughout the six-game stretch, Kansas City scored about 73 points and allowed 62 points. That 11-point margin would rank first in the Summit and place them top 30 in the NCAA.

  In the 2023 preseason polls, the Roos ranked eighth in the Summit League. Now they have the opportunity to make history since Kansas City has never won a tournament in the history of the program, and have never been to March Madness.

  The Roos look poised to out-dance their opponents in Sioux Falls. If they come out the ballroom as winners, they’ll have the chance to tango with the best in March Madness.

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About the Contributors
Cristian Martinez
Cristian Martinez, Sports Editor
Julia Kapros
Julia Kapros, Photography Editor/Social Media Manager
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