Wednesday, December 15, 1999

UC's Land likely to redshirt


Soph will have 3 years to play

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Sophomore Eugene Land rejoined the UC basketball squad Tuesday but is likely to redshirt to retain a year of eligibility.

        Land, a 6-foot-7 power forward, went through an early afternoon practice. He declined to be interviewed for this story, but told a UC official he expected to take a redshirt year for 1999-2000.

        Having missed all of preseason conditioning, two months of practice and seven games, Land would be able to come back with three seasons of eligibility starting in the 2000-01 season. In the meantime, he will continue practicing with the nation's No.1-ranked team.

        Land was dismissed from the team in August following his arrest on a shoplifting charge. Coach Bob Huggins said then Land would be allowed to return to the team if he met established guidelines during the fall semester. Land was required to attend a three-hour study session while the Bearcats trained and practiced.

        Huggins said he talked with Athletic Director Bob Goin about Land's return. Asked whether Land had performed up to Huggins' expectations in his fall class es, Huggins responded, “He's back practicing.”

        UC (7-0) leaves today for its Conference USA opener Thursday against Saint Louis (5-2) at the Kiel Center. Huggins said he does not expect Land to make the trip. “He's not ready to play,” Huggins said.

        As a freshman out of Roger Bacon High, Land averaged 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds and shot .462 from the field. His best games came during the season's first month, before Jermaine Tate became eligible at the semester break and took a majority of the power forward minutes. Land had four double-figure scoring games and set a season high with nine rebounds against Houston.

        In practice, Land will give the Bearcat starters a different look. He is quicker than backup big men B.J. Grove and Donald Little, which means regulars Kenyon Martin, Ryan Fletcher and Tate can get a better feel for playing against such frontcourt opponents as 6-6 Justin Tatum of Saint Louis and 6-7 Kevin Frey of Xavier.

       



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