Sunday, October 22, 2000

Huggins stays patient with inexperienced team

New Bearcats put coach in teaching mode

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The first week of basketball practice always is about teaching, but perhaps even more so this fall for Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins.

        There are seven new players, including two walk-ons and injured forward Antwan Jones. There are only two players who have played substantial minutes for the Bearcats.

        That means a lot of instruction. And a lot of patience.

        “I don't know if I've handled them differently,” said Huggins, entering his 12th season at UC. “We teach every year, it's a matter of having to go so much slower. They just don't have any idea about anything, where before we had a whole bunch of guys who had a pretty good idea.”

        Junior Steve Logan said Huggins has “calmed down a little.”

        “He's really taking his time and talking to players,” Logan said. “He's just adjusting to the new guys.

        “When I got here, it was a little bit different because we had guys who could play but didn't know how to work. That's what he didn't like. The (new players) know how to work, but they don't know what's going on.”

        UC took its first day off of the preseason Friday. Huggins said the first week is not necessarily an indication of how hard a group will work all season.

        “Every team works hard in the beginning,” Huggins said.

        ANTWAN UPDATE: Jones, who had surgery Oct.2 for an improperly healed broken foot, will have his right foot evaluated Tuesday and could have his cast removed and a walking boot put on. He would wear that for three more weeks, but extensive physical therapy could begin to help Jones' regain leg strength and work on conditioning.

        Athletic trainer Jayd Grossman said that optimistically, Jones could return to the court in six weeks, which would be the first week of December.

        RECRUITING UPDATE: The Fresno Bee reported Friday that Hiram Fuller, scheduled to take an official recruiting visit to UC this coming weekend, told his mother he will sign with Fresno State.

        The Bee quoted Fuller's mother, Cherrie Clark, as saying she would not sign a national letter of intent unless her son signs with Fresno and that she is upset with Cincinnati for continuing to recruit him.

        Fuller, from Tacoma, Wash., is a 6-foot-9 power forward from Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel, Ill. Clark told the Bee that if her son does not choose Fresno, “I'll fly out to St. Louis, rent a car and snatch him out of there.”

        COMING SOON: The new video scoreboard that will hang above the Shoemaker Center court will not be installed for the New Jersey Nets-Cleveland Cavaliers NBA exhibition game Friday night.

        It is expected to be in place for UC's first exhibition game, Nov.4 against the West Coast All-Stars.

        The state-of-the-art scoreboard features a ProStar VideoPlus display that measures 8 feet, 6 inches high and 10 feet, 5 inches wide. The new side scoreboards already are up.

        VISITOR: It's not uncommon for high school coaches to watch college teams practice. But Adam Holden came all the way from Melbourne, Australia, to watch UC work out.

        Holden e-mailed about a dozen colleges expressing interest in spending time with their programs, and only Cincinnati and Wisconsin responded.

        So, at his own expense, Holden is taking his vacation in the United States. He spent last week in Madison, Wis., with the Bad gers and will be in Cincinnati this week. Holden coaches in the Australian Basketball Association, which is one step below the country's top league.

        “There's always something you can pick up,” Holden said. “It might be small, but it can help you.”

        WHAT A HOOT: Because UC had to postpone its game against Temple until next season, the Bearcats will compensate the Owls by playing in Philadelphia next season and in the 2002-2003 season.

        UC leads its series with Temple 13-6, but the Owls have won the last three, including a 1999 NCAA Tournament game.


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