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DU Pioneer Basketball

Rodney Billups will enter his fourth season with the University of Denver men’s basketball team in 2019-20.

The Denver native’s 31 career wins is the most by any coach through the first two seasons in the program’s Division I era (1998-pres.).

Billups’ squad made a leap in his second season, posting a 15-15 record despite playing a tougher non-league schedule than the previous year, which included Colorado and Stanford on it. The Crimson and Gold finished 8-6 in Summit League play and locked up the No. 3 seed, its highest since joining back in 2013.

DU also won its quarterfinal meeting against No. 6 Oral Roberts, giving them their first Summit League Tournament win under Billups.

Billups’ team got hot near the end of the year, winning eight of its final 11 games and had two big signature wins during the regular season against Wyoming and South Dakota, both in Magness Arena.

The Pioneers posted a 10-4 record at home in 2017-18, their best mark since the 2012-13 year.

Denver again showcased its good passing and shooting touch under Billups, ranking first in the Summit League in assists per game and second in 3-point percentage. The Pioneers also became a force on the boards, ranking first in the league in rebounding margin at plus-6.0, which also was good for 24th in all of Division I.

The continued development of Joe Rosga and Daniel Amigo was on full display throughout the year, with the duo both making the All-Summit League teams, Rosga being a first-team member and Amigo second team.

Rosga posted a career-best 16.1 scoring average in his junior season the watchful eye of Billups, the most a DU player has averaged in over a decade.

In his debut season in 2016-17, the former Pioneer standout led the Pioneers to a 16-14 record, including a record of 8-8 in the Summit League. The eight league wins tied the most the program has had in league play since joining the league back in 2013.

Billups brought a new type of style to Denver which resulted in DU averaging a 75.8 points per contest, the most it has since going Division I back in 1998.

The Crimson and Gold also continued to show its outside touch under the first-year coach, finishing second in the Summit League in 3-point percentage at 40.2, which also was good for 13th in all of the NCAA.

Under Billups, the Pioneers showed huge improvement on the glass, finishing second in the Summit League in rebounding margin at plus-4.2.

Both Rosga and Amigo saw their respective games reach new heights during the 2016-17 campaign under Billups, with both posting then-career highs in numerous statistical categories. Amigo’s breakout year resulted in a second-team All-Summit League selection, while Rosga got honorable mention for a second straight season.

Billups comes to Denver after spending six seasons on Tad Boyle’s staff at the University of Colorado.

During his first two years (2010-12) in Boulder, Billups was the director of basketball operations where he was an integral part of the behind-of-the-scenes success of back-to-back school-bests 24-win campaigns with travel, scheduling, and the day-to-day operations of the program.

When he was promoted to the coaching staff as an assistant coach prior to the 2012-13 season, the Buffaloes didn’t skip a beat. Billups continued CU’s excellence enjoying their finest seasons with a 21-win campaign in 2012-13, and another 23 victories in 2013-14, the third-most victories in school history.

During Billups’s tenure with the coaching staff, the Buffaloes’ have accumulated 130 victories, which have included five of CU’s nine 20+ winning seasons in school history. The Buffaloes’ have had six-straight seasons of post-season play (2010-2016) and three straight NCAA Tournament berths (2011-14) and a fourth appearance in 2016.

Over the last six seasons, Billups has coached a number of CU student-athletes to conference excellence.

In CU’s first year of the Pac-12, Andre Roberson (first team, All-Defensive, All-Tournament team), Carlon Brown (second team, tournament’s Most Outstanding Player), and Spencer Dinwiddie (freshman team), all garnered all-conference honors.

In year two of the conference, Roberson (first team, Defensive Player of the Year, All-Defensive team); Dinwiddie (first team) and Josh Scott (All-Freshman team) earned post-season accolades.

In the third year, Scott continued CU’s prominence among the elite Pac-12 Conference players, as he was selected to the first team, while Askia Booker was an honorable mention selection, as to, Wesley Gordon to the honorable mention freshman team. Booker was also named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament team.

During his previous six years on the staff, Billups has also helped mentored four former CU student-athlete standouts to the next step professionally in their respective basketball careers.

Alec Burks, a sophomore was CU’s second-ever lottery pick, was selected No. 12 overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2011 NBA Draft, while Andre Roberson left after his junior year, was the No. 26 overall selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2013 (later traded to Oklahoma City).

Spencer Dinwiddie, also a junior, was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the 2014 NBA Draft (second round, No. 38 overall); and Cory Higgins, the school’s all-time co-leader in points, played with the Charlotte Bobcats during the 2011-12 season.

Billups is the younger brother of former CU great Chauncey Billups, who played with the Buffaloes from 1995-97.

The younger Billups is also a Colorado native, graduating from George Washington High School in 2001.  He was a three-year standout at the University of Denver from 2002-05.

At DU, Billups averaged 10.2 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game during his 2004-05 senior campaign. In addition to leading the Sun Belt Conference in assists, he also ranked 17th nationally in that category. Billups was named an All-SBC third team selection in 2004-05, the same season he helped the Pioneers win 20 games and a National Invitation Tournament berth.
Billups’ 199 assists in his senior season, ranked third all-time in school history, while his 58 steals, was seventh.  During his three years at DU, Billups was fourth in assists (418) and fifth in steals (154).

For his career, he averaged 8.5 points, in addition to 4.6 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.

In 2004-05, Billups was named co-recipient of the Floyd M. Theard Jr. Memorial Award. An award presented each year to the DU men’s basketball player who best displays the qualities of leadership, scholarship and sportsmanship.

Billups earned his business management degree from DU in 2005. After his collegiate days, he played professional basketball for ASK Riga in Latvia (2005-06), where he led the league in steals and assists. He also played one year in Finland (2006-07).