Rhode Island men’s basketball head coach David Cox officially announced that T.J. Buchanan has been promoted to assistant coach.
Buchanan – a former two-year captain as a player with the Rams – has been on the Rhode Island staff since September of 2017. Last season, in addition to his role as the team’s director of operations, Buchanan also was an interim assistant coach during the second half of the year while John Carroll was away from the team dealing with health issues.
“T.J. is an extremely hard worker with a bright future in the coaching industry,” Cox said. “He has handled everything that has been thrown his way, consistently improving his own skillset along the way.
“He knows this program inside and out. He has shown the ability to recruit, scout and teach, and he has a natural talent for relating to the players in the program. He has earned this promotion.”
Buchanan played for Rhode Island from 2011-15. He was part of the staff when the Rams made the field for the 2018 NCAA Championship, serving as the director of player development. When Cox was named as the head coach that offseason, Buchanan was promoted to director of operations.
As a player, Buchanan – a Jim Baron recruit who stuck around through the transition to Dan Hurley – helped lead Rhode Island to the NIT during his senior season. He was honored by the Rhode Island House of Representatives with the Scholar Athlete Award during his senior year.
Buchanan joins Kevin Sutton on the URI staff, with an additional open position remaining.
Non-conference slate announced
URI announced the slate for the non-conference portion of its schedule earlier this week.
Rhody’s non-conference opponents include four national postseason qualifiers from last season – LSU, Maryland, Alabama and Providence. A potential fifth looms in the form of Utah State in the second round of the 2019 Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic.
In addition to those teams, Rhode Island will play Western Kentucky and Brown, both 20-game winners a year ago. The non-league slate also includes games against West Virginia, LIU-Brooklyn, Nicholls State and Middle Tennessee State.
Following an exhibition game against Rhode Island College on Oct. 26, the Rams will host LIU-Brooklyn on Nov. 5 in the regular-season opener.
From there, Rhody travels to Maryland on Nov. 9. The Big 10 Terrapins were 23-11 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Rhode Island returns home for two games, hosting Alabama (Nov. 15) and Nicholls State (Nov. 19). The Nicholls State game and a yet-to-be-scheduled home game are both part of the Jamaica Classic.
The Rams head to Montego Bay for two games in the Jamaica Classic on Nov. 22 and Nov. 24. Rhody opens against 2019 Sweet 16 team LSU, which won 28 games and was 16-2 in the SEC last year. The second game will be against either Mountain West power Utah State, which won 28 games and made the NCAA field a year ago, or Conference USA’s North Texas, which won 21 games last season.
After tournament play, the Rams head to West Virginia (Dec. 1) before returning to the Ryan Center to host Providence (Dec. 6) in a Friday night affair. The in-state rival Friars are coming off their seventh straight postseason appearance, a run that includes five NCAA appearances and two NIT bids.
The team gets a 15-day break for final exams before picking things back up at home against Western Kentucky (Dec. 21). Western Kentucky won 20 games last season and has been to back-to-back Conference USA title games.
The non-conference schedule wraps with road games against Middle Tennessee State (Dec. 29) and in-state rival Brown (Jan. 2). The Bears were 20-game winners last season, going 20-12.