Sunday, March 17, 2002

UC notebook

Huggins' cake a staff surprise

By Michael Perry,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PITTSBURGH — When Bob Huggins returned to his team's hotel late Friday night, the University of Cincinnati coach was summoned to athletic director Bob Goin's suite.

        There, about 30 friends, family members and UC officials were waiting with a cake to celebrate Huggins' 500th career victory, which came earlier that night against Boston University.

        “We had to figure out, who was the only one in our environment who could call him and know that he would show up immediately when he got back to the hotel?” athletic trainer Jayd Grossman said. “So we just had a message sent to Huggs at the (UCLA-Mississippi) game that Bob Goin wanted to see him immediately just for a couple of minutes. I'd say he was pretty surprised. That's not his type of thing, but I think he really appreciated it.”

        Huggins stayed about 15 minutes, then gathered his assistant coaches and went to watch tape of UCLA in Huggins' suite until about 5:30a.m. Huggins kept watching on his own until after 7a.m.

        “It's a wonderful thing that they did,” Huggins said Saturday of the celebration. “I mean this, it was really good, but I'm not into that now. I'm into trying to beat UCLA.”


        UC senior Steve Logan has made 15 straight free throws over three games; his last miss was against South Florida in the Conference USA tournament quarterfinals. He holds the UC record with 32 in a row.


        UC's Donald Little roomed with UCLA center Dan Gadzuric during a summer Reebok USA team trip to Europe before he arrived at Cincinnati, Little said. Both players are 6 feet 11 and consider themselves friends even though they have not kept in touch.

        “He's a big guy,” Little said. “He's an NBA prospect. I'm a good defender. I'm known for it. I've just got to defend him. The game could come down to between me and him. Who has a better game is going to win. I'm going to be fired up.”

        Gadzuric said he was looking forward to reuniting with Little.

        “That's what it's going to come down to, having fun,” Gadzuric said. “He's a good post player and he developed very well over the years and so did I, so it's going to be a good matchup.”

        THREE'S A CROWD:

        One of Rico Hines' high school roommates was former Duke player Nate James, who went to the Final Four with the Blue Devils. One of Hines' other friends was Cameron Dollar, who went to the Final Four with UCLA.

        Both have talked to the Bruins senior to remind him: “We have rings, and you don't.”

        That's why Hines has written “Final Four” on his shoes.

        “That's been one of my goals since six years ago when I first signed a letter of intent for UCLA,” Hines said. “I've never been there. ... I wanted to kind of send a message that we're going to play hard these games, we're going to go out swinging.”


        UC senior power forward Jamaal Davis is 9-of-19 (.474) from 3-point range this season; he previously was 0-of-2 in his college career. ... Boston University was the sixth team UC held to less than 30-percent shooting this season.


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