Sunday, December 27, 1998

Homecoming tonight for Logan

Point guard gets to play in Cleveland

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Steve Logan
        It's fairly clear whom freshman Steve Logan will not ask for advice about performing well in his first return home to Cleveland as a Cincinnati Bearcat.

        Senior guard Melvin Levett has been back twice, and each time turned into the very definition of “mistake by the lake.” He fired 18 shots in his first two Rock 'n Roll Shootouts and made just two.

        This is not the sort of performance Logan wants to emulate when the No. 4 Bearcats (10-0) face Dayton (4-4) at 4:30 p.m. in the second game of today's doubleheader at the Gund Arena.

        • When: 4:30 p.m. today
        • Where: Gund Arena
        • Records: UC 10-0; Dayton 4-4
        • TV: Ch. 64
        • Radio: WLW-AM (700)
        • 92: Years that have passed since UC and Dayton met for the first time in 1906-07.
        • 3: Seasons that passed without UC and Dayton playing since the Flyers were not invited to join Conference USA.
        • 24-7: Combined record of the four teams (Louisville, Miami, Northwestern and Toledo) that defeated the Flyers.
        • 7.1: Average turnovers committed by UC opponents in excess of the Bearcats' total.
        Logan fights every day to maintain his place in UC's three-man point guard rotation and does not need any hometown meltdowns to disrupt his progress.

        “You've just got to stay focused,” Logan said. “Like my great uncle told me, "Everybody wants to see you play and perform, but you've just got to go out there and do what you know best as well as you can. Don't worry about who's watching you.' ”

        It's evident from the home/road disparity in Levett's shooting statistics that Levett has not mastered this strategy. But Logan has produced strong and weak moments regardless of where he has played.

        There is much about his performance that suggests progress, most notably an assist/turnover ratio of better than 4-to-1 and his .500 three-point shooting since a 1-of-13 start in the first four games. He is averaging 8.6 points and 2.7 assists in 18.5 minutes per game.

        The surprising thing — to Logan, especially — is his reputation as a solid, heady point guard has not resulted in a seamless transition to running the UC offense.

        “There's a lot of things like getting your team organized, controlling the floor, and sometimes I struggle with that,” Logan said. “There's a lot more defensive pressure in college. At certain times, you've got to get away from a guy in order to find a teammate open.

        “That's the biggest surprise for me. In high school, I was just probably better than everyone. I didn't work nearly as hard as I do here.”

        Logan did work, though, or it's not likely his 5-foot-10, 200-pound body would have found a home with the Bearcats. He started each of his four seasons at St. Edward High in Lakewood, and the last three of those ended in the state title game. As a senior, he was MVP of the state tournament in leading St. Ed's to a Division I title.

        He spent most of his free time working to better himself as a basketball player. He decided his lack of size would not be a detriment after watching 5-6 Spud Webb play in the NBA.

        “He was a player. It's about confidence, knowing what you do is good,” Logan said. “If you do something well, it doesn't matter how tall or small you are.”

        Coach Bob Huggins has tried to use Logan at shooting guard as well as the point, a maneuver that has produced great results for junior Alvin Mitchell. Houston did not view Logan as a threat in the Bearcats' most recent win, and he wound up making 6-of-9 from three-point range. “They leave him that open, he's got a great chance to make them,” Huggins said.

        Huggins endeavors to play one game each year in Cleveland for the sake of maintaining the Bearcats' recruiting base there. They've had three starters in the past three seasons from the area, and are expected to eagerly pursue 6-5 junior wing Julius Johnson of Garfield Heights next autumn.

        Logan expects to be sharper after last week's two-day holiday break, which permitted a recovery from the “spaghetti” feeling in his legs.

        “It means a lot going back to my hometown, playing in front of my family and friends,” Logan said. “There was a lot of negativity coming toward me when I signed with the Bearcats: It was too tough, or the defense was too tough for me. That will keep me going while I'm here.

        “The world's 50/50 no matter what you do — 50 with you, 50 against you. So I'm not worried about that. I know the majority's with me, anyway.”

        NOTE: Freshman Donald Little is considered doubtful because of acute bursitis in his left elbow.



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