Sunday, November 10, 2002

Center position still work in progress

UC notebook

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jason Maxiell dunks.
(Mike Simons photo)
| ZOOM |
UC's first exhibition basketball game Saturday did nothing to clear up the question of who will start at center this season.

Check out these numbers in the 71-51 victory over Northern Kentucky:

Rod Flowers: two points, two rebounds, 11 minutes.

Derek Hollman: no points, four rebounds, 16 minutes.

Kareem Johnson: two points, four rebounds, nine minutes.

Totals: four points, 10 rebounds, 36 minutes.

"In my mind, that's still very much up for grabs," Bearcats coach Bob Huggins said. "Rod's played really good in practice, and then Rod didn't play very well today. I thought Derek Hollman was really active. Kareem kind of struggled, but I think Kareem was kind of thinking too much, which is understandable. Eric Hicks gave us some minutes. It's hard to play a 6-5, 6-6 guy in the post, but we may have to."

Huggins started Taron Barker and Field Williams in the backcourt, Jason Maxiell and Leonard Stokes at forwards and Flowers in the middle.

The first guys off the bench were Tony Bobbitt and Hollman.

LAND'S RETURN: Eugene Land, making his first game appearance for UC since the 1998-99 season, got to the scorer's table to check in and heard the buzz in the stands.

"The hair on my back definitely rose," he said. "I'm not going to lie. It was emotional for me. I'm very happy to be here. But it was pretty much a roller-coaster of emotions. Being back is such a good thing for me, but this knee ..."

Land, who left UC's program two years ago after suffering what was considered a career-ending knee injury, finished with two points and two rebounds in 10 minutes.

SERIES FUTURE: Huggins and Northern Kentucky coach Ken Shields both said they'd like to continue playing an exhibition game each year. UC beat the Norse 81-53 last season.

"He knows we want to keep it going," Shields said. "If they want to sign a contract right now, we'll do it."

Said Huggins: "Why wouldn't we (continue playing)? It's a good game for us. The only thing they don't have is size."

NOTABLE NUMBERS: Hicks blocked five shots in nine minutes.... UC senior point guard Taron Barker finished with no points, one assist and four rebounds in 20 minutes.

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


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