BIRMINGHAM – As UAB’s men’s basketball team enters its second season under head coach and Blazer alumnus Andy Kennedy, the Green and Gold wanted to spotlight their 15 student-athletes. The first position groups profiled will be the team’s four forwards and one center – KJ Buffen, AD Diedhiou, Josh LeBlanc, Sr., Rongie Gordon and Trey Jemison.
Gordon, the lone returning forward from the 2020-21 team that finished 22-7 with a league-best 13 conference victories, played in 26 games in his first collegiate season and averaged 3.0 points per game and 3.0 rebounds per game.
The remaining three forwards all come via the transfer portal, including SEC transfers Buffen and LeBlanc, Sr. Buffen, Diedhiou, Gordon and LeBlanc, Sr. will look to help the Blazers fill the production from 2020-21 senior Kassim Nicholson, who ranked second on the team with 6.7 rebounds per game while also contributing 6.7 points per game.
Jemison, a Conference USA All-Defensive Team honoree in 2020-21, ranked second in the C-USA and 18th nationally with 60 blocks. Jemison also grabbed 201 total rebounds this past season, which ranked fourth in the league.
UAB, who was predicted as the favorite to win the Conference USA regular season championship, will open its 2021-22 season on Monday when the Blazers host Auburn Montgomery for a home exhibition. Admission is free for the home exhibition contest. Tipoff in Bartow Arena is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
KJ Buffen | Junior (4th Year) | Forward | Gainesville, Ga. | Ole Miss
Buffen, a fourth-year player who played the past three seasons at Ole Miss, made 21 starts for the Rebels this past season. The forward averaged 8.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in 2020-21, pouring in a season-high 18 points against Wichita State. The Gainesville, Georgia native started all 32 games at Ole Miss as a sophomore in 2019-20, averaging 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. In three seasons in Oxford, he averaged 8.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.
AD Diedhiou | Sophomore (3rd Year) | Forward | Dakar, Senegal | Odessa JC
Diedhiou, a third-year player who spent his first two seasons at Odessa Junior College, was named First Team All-Western Junior College Athletic Conference this past season after averaging 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. The Dakar, Senegal native also paced the Wranglers with 24 blocks, helping Odessa win the NJCAA District 5 regular season title. Diediou appeared in 30 games as a freshman, posting a career-high 12 rebounds three times in his first season.
Rongie Gordon | Freshman (2nd Year) | Forward | Montgomery, Ala. | Jefferson Davis HS
Gordon, a second-year player from Montgomery, Alabama, played in 26 games in his first season as a Blazer. Gordon poured in a career-high 12 points against Rust College in February. The freshman finished his first season in Birmingham averaging 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds. Gordon also logged 16 blocks and nine steals to his stat line in 2020-21.
Josh LeBlanc, Sr. | Junior (4th Year) | Forward | Baton Rouge, La. | LSU
LeBlanc, Sr., a fourth-year player from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, played in 25 games this past season at LSU. LeBlanc, Sr. started off his college career at Georgetown, making the Big East All-Freshman Team after averaging 9.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. The forward posted six double-doubles as a freshman. At LSU in 2020-21, LeBlanc, Sr. recorded a double-double against Auburn with 12 points and 10 rebounds. His contributions helped lead LSU to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Trey Jemison | Junior (4th Year) | Center | Birmingham, Ala. | Clemson
Jemison, a fourth-year player who played high school basketball at nearby Hoover High School, was the only Blazer to start all 29 games in 2020-21. Jemison shined defensively for the Blazers, recording two or more blocks in 18 games. The Hoover native also ranked third in Conference USA with 2.5 offensive rebounds per game, collecting 10 or more total boards in seven games this past season.
MEN’S BASKETBALL TICKET INFORMATION
UAB men’s basketball single-game tickets start as low as $12 and can be purchased by clicking here or calling the UAB Athletics Ticket Office at (205) 975-UAB1. Season tickets are also still on sale and provide the most cost-effective way to attend games during the 2021-22 men’s basketball season with individual season tickets starting as low as $100 within Blaze’s Corner. Season ticket holders also have access to the best seating locations in Bartow Arena. You can request more information or purchase by clicking here.
Discounted group tickets and fan experiences are available for a minimum purchase of 15 tickets to any home basketball game during the 2021-22 season. Groups are encouraged to complete the UAB Basketball Group Ticket Request Form or call the UAB Athletics Ticket Office for more information.