Sunday, November 04, 2001

UC Basketball Notebook

Huggins: Newcomers have lots to learn

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It's less than a week before the University of Cincinnati's exhibition opener (Saturday night vs. Northern Kentucky), and here are a few quick takes from coach Bob Huggins after three weeks of practice:

        • The most pleasant surprise? “Probably the consistency of Mac (Immanuel McElroy) and Leonard (Stokes) from a work standpoint and from a productivity standpoint.”

        • Biggest concern? “We don't have enough bodies. Unfortunately it's the nature of the beast when they give us 13 scholarships. When you lose some guys, you're short on bodies.”

        • Impressions of the newcomers? “Max (Jason Maxiell) has been good; he's just got so much basketball to learn. Derek (Hollman) is out (with a shoulder injury). Jimmy (Hubbard) and Taron (Barker) are struggling to pick things up. I don't think they understand how hard you have to play at this level.”

        LOST YEAR: Huggins isn't sure whether senior Rodney Crawford has recovered fully from the broken right ankle he suffered in December. That's because Crawford has been bothered this fall by a groin injury.

        “He's just not moving as well as he moved,” Huggins said. “I don't know how much his ankle is affecting him, because it seems his groin's affecting him.”

        Crawford, a Withrow High School graduate, came to the Bearcats as a walk-on last year out of Bakersfield (Calif.) College.

        Early in the season, Huggins was looking for a rebounding spark. In the fifth game, he put Crawford on the court for 19 minutes. Crawford responded with five rebounds against Oakland, then had nine against Xavier. Two games later, he grabbed 10 against Youngstown State.

        But in a Dec.26 practice, Crawford broke his ankle, underwent surgery three days later and missed 13 straight games. He was not much of a factor the rest of the season.

        “It was a lost year,” Crawford said.

        He said his ankle is healed but still hurts on occasion. The question is: Can he return to being a contributor?

        “I want to help out the team the best way I can,” he said. “Playing hard (is) what's going to get anybody on the court.”

        GAME TIME: Senior Steve Logan had 21 points and six assists to lead the “Black team” to a 59-46 victory in an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday. Sophomore Field Williams added 16 for the Black, including four 3-pointers, along with five rebounds. Freshman Maxiell had eight points, a game-high eight rebounds and three blocks, and sophomore Rod Flowers had eight points and four rebounds.

        Junior center Donald Little led the “White team” with 19 points and five rebounds. Stokes and Jamaal Davis each scored eight points.

        A PLUG: Huggins was surprised to learn more than 2,000 tickets a game were unsold as of midweek.

        UC has roughly 9,300 tickets available to sell after setting aside the rest for students, opponents and other commitments. Shoemaker Center seats 13,176.

        This past week, four season-ticket mini-packages went on sale. Individual game tickets are not available yet.

        “I can't believe that after 12 years and the success that we've had in this program that we can't sell out on a year-to-year basis on season tickets,” Huggins said.

        “It's crazy to have season tickets left over. We've got packages that have Louisville in it, that have Vegas in it, that have Charlotte in it. For people not to buy those packages, what are they thinking about?”

        RECRUITING UPDATE: Alexander Johnson, a 6-foot-9 forward from Albany, Ga., arrived for his official visit Friday. A consensus top-30 player who had orally committed to Georgia, Johnson said he was considering a visit to Louisville next week.


Bearcats Stories
UC 45, Connecticut 28
- Huggins: Newcomers have lots to learn

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• 1:00 p.m. Sat. Nov. 20
• Nippert Stadium
• Radio: WLW-AM 700


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