Saturday, December 09, 2000

Stuff return with new look

Only 3 players are back from division champions

By Dave Goldstein
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati Stuff have a new coach and a slew of new players, but they hope to match, or even top, last season when they won the International Basketball League's East Division.

        The Stuff open their second season against New Mexico tonight in the Firstar Center. Cincinnati finished 43-21 last season, the second-best record in the league. But only Roderick Blakney, Allen Edwards and Chris Kingsbury return. The Stuff also will have a new coach, Mike Frink.

        Frink is keeping his offensive ideology simple.

        “We have a rule here: If you're open, shoot it,” he said. “We want fluidity and continuity, not to dictate players' actions.”

        The strengths of this year's club should be athleticism and versatility. Seven of the Stuff's 10 players are between 6-foot-4 and 6-8 and can play at least two positions. The University of Kentucky's Edwards, a 6-4 swingman, will be the team captain. He averaged seven points a game last season.

        “Allen's just a quality young man and a quality basketball player,” Frink said. “He's also a two-time nation al champion. You can't buy experience like that.”

        Blakney will be the starting point guard for the second straight season. Last season he averaged 14 points and 5.6 assists.

        The third returnee is Kingsbury. A McDonald's All-American at Hamilton High School, he will provide shooting off the bench after going 40 percent from 3-point range last season.

        But it's the new group of players that should help the Stuff make a run at the IBL championship, including Xavier graduate Darnell Williams. He will provide defensive intensity and, as a local product, should help bring in fans.

        Stuff schedule

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