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Conference USA needs a new program to emerge as an anchor and UAB has a chance to fill that void because of Haase. The 41-year old head coach officially arrived on the national scene last March when he led the Blazers to an upset over Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament and he should have an excellent chance to lead UAB to the field of 68 for the second straight season. Eloquent, mature, and confident beyond his years, Haase doesn’t get too high or too low and that allows his team to play with an unbelievable sense of confidence. Just ask Fred Hoiberg
Hard playing forward fits Buzz Williams’ personality perfectly. The 6-6 Clarke doesn’t know how to turn off his motor and will own 50-50 plays. This was a really good get for the Hokies.
CYCLONE TRIO RECOGNIZED: Iowa State’s Georges Niang (#15), Monte Morris (#26) and Jameel McKay (#60) have been recognized by ESPN in a preseason listing of college basketball’s top 100 players.
Nothing short of a Big 12 title and a long run through March will satisfy a fan base hungry to see new coach Steve Prohm deliver.
The Cyclones return four starters — including national player of the year candidate Georges Niang — from the team that won a second straight Big 12 tournament title in 2014-15.
Beyond Niang, the Cyclones bring back center Jameel McKay, last year’s league defensive player of the year, and standout point guard Monte Morris. Shooting guard Naz Mitrou-Long is among the nation’s best from 3-point range.
“Obviously, we have big dreams, big goals, big aspirations of winning Big 12 championships and making a great postseason run,” said Prohm, who took over for Fred Hoiberg in May.
CHICAGO SIMEON PIPELINE: The Fighting Illini have a long history of talent from Chicago Simeon High School, including stars like Deon Thomas, Nick Anderson, Bryant Notree, and the current trio of Simeon alums donning the Orange and Blue, Kendrick Nunn, Jaylon Tate and D.J. Williams. WCIA’s Craig Chaote takes a look at the Simeon-Illinois pipeline in the latest Your Illini Nation Feature.
TRANSFERS READY TO AID HOKIES: Seth Allen and Zach LeDay redshirted last season after transferring from Maryland and South Florida, respectively. Both are expected to be heavy contributors this season for Virginia Tech.
Chris Coleman, a contributor to TechSideline.com, covered Virginia Tech’s Media Day and also writes about transfer Ty Outlaw redshirting as well as the Hokies’ preseason boot camp.
“I don’t know that on a 13 man roster that you would always want to redshirt two transfers,” head coach Buzz Williams said. “I think most coaches would say they would like to redshirt one every year…but considering when we took the job and what was available and trying to make good long-term decisions as much as possible…”
With Allen and LeDay sitting out, that severely limited Williams’ options during the course of the season.
“That was a big bite, knowing we had two empty scholarships for that particular season,” Williams said. “We hope the investment in our program’s future was the right play specific to those two. But it is much more comforting knowing they are eligible, for sure.”
MOCS EXCITED ABOUT NEW SYSTEM: The date is getting so close, Tre’ McLean couldn’t contain his excitement recently.
The more the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior guard/forward learns his role in new head basketball coach Matt McCall’s system, the more he likes it.
And seemingly, so does the rest of the team.
Through 30 days of practices and scrimmages, along with a number of preseason workouts, the Mocs have focused on execution leading up to their exhibition against NCAA Division III Covenant College Friday at McKenzie Arena.
“The time is approaching, so we know we need to pick it up,” McLean said recently. “We’re all excited because we can accomplish things. There are bigger achievements ahead of us, so as the season approaches, we’re just trying to tighten up and execute.”
HORNETS WIN EXHIBITION OPENER: Alabama State kicked off the 2015-16 season with a 93-58 exhibition win over neighbor Huntingdon College.
The Hornets had five players reach double digits lead by Steve Rogers 18 points. Jamel Waters added 17 while Thomas Torloft and Terrance LeFlore added 14. Chidozie Omile scored 12.
The Hornets were able to break open a close game at half by shooting 52 percent from the field in the second half outscoring the Hawks 50-24.
BOXING MATCHES AT IOWA STATE: The Ames Tribune noted Nov. 4 that Iowa State men’s basketball practices have nearly resembled boxing matches this preseason.
And first-year coach Steve Prohm loves it.
The Cyclones had about seven or eight skirmishes in practice leading up to Friday’s exhibition game with Grand Valley State.
“That’s good,” Prohm said. “Those things are good. What happens on the floor stays on the floor. It should be competitive. We have a lot to prove and a lot to accomplish this year.”
The Cyclones were quick to point out no punches were thrown and no animosity follows the players off the court.
“That is like playing against your brother,” forward Georges Niang said. “It’s that time of year when you get sick of it playing against the same person every day.”
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