Thursday, November 14, 2002

UC signs point guard, big man

Both expected to make impact next season

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Two years after point guard Kenny Satterfield left the University of Cincinnati for the NBA, coach Bob Huggins has secured his replacement.

UC signed two players to letters of intent Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period, and to hear Huggins talk, things couldn't have worked out better if he had placed an order.

"I think we filled our needs," Huggins said. "We needed a post guy who could really score, and we needed a point guard."

The point guard is Nick Williams, 6 feet 3, 185 pounds, from Arlington, Texas, and Chipola (Fla.) College. The post player is 6-10, 270-pound Robert Whaley from Benton Harbor, Mich., and Barton County (Kan.) College.

Williams, who also can play shooting guard, was a starter at Kansas State last season, where he averaged 9.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

Both Williams and Whaley are expected to make an immediate impact when they arrive next year.

Huggins views Williams as Satterfield's successor and Whaley as the player to take the spot Donald Little was supposed to occupy before his legal problems ended his UC career.

In effect, this class is playing catchup to fill those voids.

"I didn't think Satt was leaving, and he left," Huggins said. "I didn't think we were losing Donald, and we did. Now you're scrambling. Now you've got to take what's left, and that's not the way to go."

UC also was waiting Wednesday for a signed letter from Purcell Marian product Mike Pilgrim, a 6-7 forward attending Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.

And before the year is out, the Bearcats could land another highly rated player. James White, a 6-7 forward who averaged 6.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in 20.5 minutes last year at Florida, has secured his release and announced his intention to transfer to another school.

The former McDonald's All-American has contacted the coaching staff about enrolling at UC. If he enrolls in time for the winter quarter, which begins in January, he could be eligible to play for the Bearcats as early as next December, at the end of the fall quarter.

Whaley was a first-team All-American last year who averaged 19.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.1 blocked shots.

"Every year, one or two junior-college guys are on the NBA radar," said UC assistant coach Andy Kennedy, who serves as the program's recruiting coordinator. "He is the guy this year. I hope he realizes he still has a ways to go as far as conditioning and everyday approach to working hard.

"We went through this huge process when we were recruiting him and told him, `If you're not sure, don't tell us you are or we're going to burn everybody else. But he assured us he's coming to college."

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