Thursday, March 07, 2002

Steve Logan


UC's best wants to be better

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        The highest tribute to Steve Logan is not that he is the best player in Conference USA, but that he keeps getting better.

        The University of Cincinnati's senior guard was his league's player of the year last season, too, and yet a pale shadow of the full-bodied basketball star he has become. There are more layers to his game now, more nuance, more variety. He has developed a step-back jump shot that defies blocking, and a half-court, fast-break bounce pass that demands disbelief.

        He has taken his modest tools and fashioned a monster.

        “He's not only the MVP of our league,” Marquette coach Tom Crean said Wednesday, “but he's also one of the most improved players.”

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Steve Logan is UC's No. 2 all-time scorer behind Oscar Robertson.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
| ZOOM |
        If Logan isn't careful, he might find himself buried beneath a pile of testimonials this month. No player in college basketball has gone to greater lengths to refine his natural resources. No elite player in memory has made longer strides after attaining stardom.

        Jason Williams of Duke is probably the nation's best player. Logan is the All-American who still carries himself as if he's afraid of getting cut.

        “I don't think we're similar at all,” Logan said when asked to compare himself to Williams. “He's a lot faster and quicker. I'm judging myself as being a lot smarter.”

        Logan has learned his trade as an unrepentant gym rat who's forever working on a new move, a different trajectory, a fresh angle — expanding his improvisational repertoire through relentless repetition.

        He couldn't add wrinkles any more rapidly if he slept in his clothes.

        “I don't want anybody to know my moves and feel they can stop me,” Logan said Wednesday. “I want to be able to go to a move that no one has seen before. I'm always trying to be a step ahead of my opponent.”

        Logan enrolled at UC as an overweight point guard with good shooting range and minimal mobility. He will leave as the school's second-leading scorer — exceeded only by Oscar Robertson — because he has learned to create shots on the run and in traffic.

        He is as adept in small spaces as a parent who can change a diaper in an airplane lavatory. To guard him is to gape at him.

        “When he first got here, he was pretty much a standstill shooter,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “He's really worked hard on his ability to score off the bounce and create more shots off the bounce.”

        Logan is listed, optimistically, at 6 feet, and his leaping ability is proof of the earth's gravitational pull. Asked if his point guard ever dunked in practice, Huggins replied, “I've never seen him touch the net.”

        Logan compensates with creativity, arching his shot at a steeper angle, decoying a defender with a head fake or a sudden stop. UC guard Leonard Stokes has 6 inches on Logan but marvels at his own inability to block the smaller man's shot.

        “When you're working on a shot, you go through stages,” Logan said. “You've got to be patient. I think you've got to work on it slowly, then you start to build speed before you use it in a game.”

        Some of these moves are not yet ready to leave the laboratory. They will debut at a later date. What makes Steve Logan so special is he keeps getting better without getting complacent.

        Contact Tim Sullivan at 768-8456 or e-mail: tsullivan@enquirer.com.

       



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