Saturday, March 20, 1999


Sweet 16 may lure recruits

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ST. LOUIS — Getting to the Sweet 16 should be a recruiting boon to Miami University. The basketball program probably has gotten more nationwide publicity in the last week than the previous 20 years combined.

        “I hope it is,” MU coach Charlie Coles said. “Do you know something I don't?”

        The RedHawks have one scholarship open.

        “We'll use it, but it has to be a really good player,” Coles said.

        Miami loses three seniors in Wally Szczerbiak, Damon Frierson and John Estick, but the RedHawks have commitments from three players.

        The other scholarship comes in because Miami only has 12 players on scholarship, one under the NCAA limit.

        Don't be surprised if Coles goes the junior college route. He likes to have a juco player on the roster, and when Estick leaves he will have none.

Crowded house
        Everyone on the Miami roster was playing to the biggest crowd of their careers Friday, with 42,440 at the Trans World Dome for the Kentucky game.

        The only player familiar with big crowds in a dome is Frierson. He played in the Indiana high school state title game for three straight years at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. He led Ben Davis to the title in the 1995.

        “It wasn't sold out,” Frierson said. “I think it was like 25,000. It was pretty wild, though.”

Irony in this
        The irony that Miami was playing Kentucky was not lost on Jason Grunkemeyer, who grew up in Cincinnati.

        “People always talk about UK and UC playing,” he said. “Then we're the ones that end up playing Kentucky.”

        Grunkemeyer, a Moeller High product, knows a lot of UK fans. His older brother Matt is a UK graduate.

        “He's a big UK fan,” Grunkemeyer said.

Help on the way
        The big guy in street clothes on the Miami bench is Brian Edwards, a sophomore who is redshirting this year.

        Edwards is listed the same size as Szczerbiak: 6-foot-8, 243 pounds. But he is strictly an inside player at this point. He has a vertical leap of 29 inches and bench-presses 310 pounds.

The waiting
        Miami found itself in an unusual position, waiting until 9:15p.m. (St. Louis time) for the game. Half the RedHawks games this year were day games, and all but three of the night games started at 7, none later then 8.

        The RedHawks had a shoot-around at 11 a.m., then were left to kill time in their hotel rooms.

        “I wish there were games to watch on TV,” assistant coach James Whitford said. “Kentucky's used to all this. We're not.”


Photo gallery
Wally sweet, but Miami not elite Tim Sullivan column
Enough Wally, but not enough help