Nov. 2, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- UAB's men's basketball team will take to the court for the first time in the 2013-14 season with an exhibition game against Milligan (Tenn.) College on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT inside Bartow Arena.
Fans will get their first chance to watch the Blazers -- a group that returns its top four leading scorers from last season and adds six newcomers to this year's team.
Sunday's exhibition marks the final tune-up before UAB's season-opening game against Columbus State on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. CT in Bartow Arena.
For ticket information, contact the UAB Athletics Ticket Office at 205-975-8221.
Five Things To Know For Sunday
• UAB and Milligan College will be meeting for the first time.
• The Blazers begin their 36th season of men’s basketball in 2013-14. UAB is just four wins away from 700 in school history (696-417, .599).
• UAB plays 17 home games this season -- the most in UAB history.
• The Blazers return their top four leading scorers, including leading point scorer Rod Rucker (14.5 ppg) , from last season.
• Returners Rod Rucker and Jordan Swing led UAB in scoring in 29 of the Blazers’ 33 games last year.
Point Production Returns
• UAB, which finished as the No. 5 scoring team in Conference USA a year ago with 71.4 points per game, returns its top four leading scorers (Rod Rucker, Jordan Swing, Fahro Alihodzic and Robert Williams). In fact, Blazer returners accounted for 54.4 points per game last season -- 76 percent of UAB’s per game scoring average.
Strong 2013 Recruiting Class To Help Blazers
• UAB’s recruiting class found itself in the national spotlight this offseason as the Blazers’ class was ranked No. 18 in the nation by HoopScoop.com. UAB’s 2014 signing class includes freshmen Denzell Watts (Flint, Mich.), Tosin Mehinti (Lithonia, Ga.), Tyler Madison (Columbiana, Ala.) and junior college transfers Thaddeus Rideau (Brown Mackie CC), Chad Frazier (Gulf Coast (Fla.) CC), and C.J. Washington (Tallahassee (Fla.) CC). Robert Brown, a transfer from Virginia Tech, will practice with the team this season before becoming eligible for the 2014-15 season.
Top Two Scorers Back In The Swing
• Rod Rucker, who was a 2013 Second Team All-Conference USA performer and last year’s leading scorer with 14.5 points per game, returns for his senior season. Rucker was the only Blazer to start all 33 games last season, scoring in double figures in 26 of those contests.
• Joining Rucker on the 2013-14 roster will be fellow senior and last season’s second-leading scorer Jordan Swing. The Birmingham native and Western Kentucky transfer averaged 14.0 points per game last year and tallied 26 double-digit scoring efforts.
• Rucker and Swing each either tied for the team lead or led the team in scoring in 29 of UAB’s 33 games in 2012-13.
Coaching Staff Returns For Year Two
• Joining Jerod Haase on the Blazer sideline will be 24-year veteran assistant coach Jeff Wulbrun, assistants Rob Ehsan and Richie Riley, along with Director of Operations Bobby Frasor -- all beginning their second seasons at UAB.
• UAB finished the 2012-13 season and enters the new year after winning six of its final nine regular season Conference USA games, earning the No. 7 seed in the 2013 C-USA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla. The Blazers defeated SMU, 53-52, in the first round before falling to eventual runner-up Southern Miss in the quarterfinals.
• A matchup with perennial power North Carolina on Dec. 1 at Bartow Arena, a home contest against Rutgers on Nov. 11, a road trip to LSU on Dec. 21 and an appearance in the Charleston Classic on Nov. 21-24 highlight the 2013-14 UAB men’s basketball schedule. The Blazers’ strong schedule features six possible meetings with 2013 NCAA Tournament teams.
• In a new-look Conference USA, UAB will play nine games against new members of the league, including two first-time contests -- vs. UTSA (1/16) and at FIU (2/6). UAB opens conference play at Middle Tennessee on Jan. 11 and will close out C-USA action at the 2014 Conference USA Tournament in El Paso, Texas. on March 11-15.
Success At Home
• UAB plays 17 of its 31 games this season at the Blazers’ Bartow Arena on the UAB campus. In the first year under head coach Jerod Haase and his staff, the Blazers compiled an 11-4 record at home, including seven-straight wins to begin the 2012-13 season.