19 NAU games to be televised by FOX Sports Arizona

FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports Arizona Plus will televise 19 Northern Arizona men's and women's basketball games as part of its schedule of 78 college basketball games during the 2016-17 season.

The NAU broadcast schedule includes 10 men's games starting with the Dec. 3 game vs. San Diego; and nine women's games, starting on Nov. 1 against Cal State-Northridge.

The Lumberjacks are hoping to bounce back from a 5-25 season that saw two of their starting five lost to injuries in the first 10 games of the season. Forward Jordyn Martin, the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year as a junior, played just three games, and point guard Jaleni Neely played nine.

The injuries left coach Jack Murphy with a rotation of two upper classmen, one sophomore and six freshmen — and the Lumberjacks paid a price for their overabundance of youth.

Martin and Neely are back as fifth-year seniors and will be leaders of this season's team along with senior center Ako Kaluna — who averaged 12.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last year.

“Jaleni Neely is the head of the snake, he's the guy who makes our team go and gives us a calming influence,” Murphy said. “And having Joreyn Martin and Ako Kaluna down low gives us a very good post presence.”

Sophomore guard Torry Johnson, who averaged 9.3 points per game last season, was lost to an off-season injury, but Murphy can still turn to six other experienced but still young letter-winners from last season's team.

Five are now sophomores who saw extensive playing time as freshmen. Wing Marcus DeBerry started 23 games and averaged 7.6 points. Mike Green, who averaged 7.9 points, joins Neely in the backcourt. Corey Brown and Isaiah Thomas, who started 20 games between them, provide depth in the front court, and Felix Rivera-Vega adds firepower on the wing. Also returning is junior guard Kye De Laveaga.

“We still are very young with the bulk of our roster being sophomores and freshmen, but our sophomores are not normal sophomores,” Murphy said. “They've had a lot of experience starting games, finishing games, playing a lot of minutes.”

Murphy brought in six more freshmen — but his hope this year is that they fill complementary roles rather than carrying a bulk of the playing time. Among those who have stood out in preseason practice are guard JoJo Anderson and wings Chris Bowling and Aziz Seck.

FOX Sports Arizona's schedule also includes 11 New Mexico State games (six men, five women), 21 ACC games, 20 Big East games and seven Big 12 games.