Saturday, January 26, 2002

E-mail with Perry and Schmidt




By Michael Perry and Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Junior Derek Hollman, who had surgery on his left shoulder Nov. 5, seems to be on the minds of UC fans.

        Q, From Carl in Erie, Pa.: What is the status of Derek Hollman?

        Q, from Richie in Cincinnati: How is Derek Hollman coming along and is he expected to contribute soon? And, is Chadd Moore being groomed at Oak Hill Academy to play point guard next season?

        A: First, let's get Moore out of the way. He is playing both guard positions at Oak Hill but is spending the majority of his time at point guard.

        As for Hollman, he has been cleared to play in UC games. The 6-foot-10 center has been practicing with the Bearcats with a protective brace on and said he feels fine physically. He has been hit numerous times and survived. He will not redshirt this season. The challenge for him now is to learn the plays.

        “Basically I've been feeling OK. The only hard part is trying to get back into motion,” Hollman said Friday. “You're second-guessing yourself because you haven't shot a jump shot in so long. Now it feels awkward.

        “Learning all the different plays and what to do at the right time, it's hard. It's not as easy as I thought it was going to be.”

        Coach Bob Huggins has elected to keep Hollman out of games so far. Even Hollman isn't sure he's ready.

        “No, I'm not comfortable, not mentally,” he said. “I'll be mixed up and not knowing what I'm doing.”

        Q, from Graham in Wyoming: We all know that the Bearcats are losing three indispensable senior starters after this year - (Steve) Logan, (Jamaal) Davis and (Immanuel) McElroy. How good is next year's recruiting class and will (Leonard) Stokes, (Donald) Little, and (Jason) Maxiell improve enough to keep next year's team in the top 10?

        A: Next year's recruiting class has at least a few players expected to contribute immediately, namely Eric Hicks (Greensboro, N.C., Dudley High School) and Tony Bobbit (College of Southern Idaho). Bobbit has orally committed and is expected to sign in the spring. What UC will miss most from McElroy and Davis is their defense and understanding of the game. Logan, of course, will be hard to replace in so many ways, but the Bearcats have bounced back from losing great players before.

        There is no reason to believe that all the players will improve during the offseason and come back stronger and better. Top 10? Who knows.

        Q, from Brian in Covington: If UC and UK played each other in the Final Four who would win?

        A: You've got to be kidding, right? We tossed this question at none other than Rick Pitino after the UC-Louisville game, and he said it was hard to pick a winner. Surely Pitino knows far more about basketball than we do, so what are we supposed to say? Seriously, it's an impossible call to predict the outcome of such a game.

        Send your questions to basketball@enquirer.com



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