UAB Set To Open 2010-11 Hoops Season Saturday Night

Nov. 12, 2010

UAB head coach Mike Davis and senior G Aaron Johnson

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB men's basketball team is set to tip off the 2010 regular season when it hosts Southeast Missouri State on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Bartow Arena. The contest will mark the first time in head coach Mike Davis' five seasons at UAB that it begins a campaign with a home contest.


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• Saturday's contest marks the first meeting in school history between the two teams.

• Both teams enter the game after going unbeaten during the preseason. UAB defeated West Alabama, 81-64, in its lone exhibition contest on Nov. 5. SEMO played a pair of exhibition contests, winning 80-71 on Ouachita Baptist on Nov. 6 and 109-69 Tuesday night against Henderson State.

• UAB will put its 31-game non-conference regular season home court winning streak on the line when it takes on Southeast Missouri State. The last time the Blazers lost a home game during the regular season came on Dec. 29, 2005 against Western Kentucky (L, 92-76). Additionally, Mike Davis is a perfect 25-0 in regular season home games (27-1 overall) during his previous four seasons.

BLAZING BITS - UAB vs. SE Missouri State

• UAB will embark on its 33rd season of basketball during the 2010-11 campaign. The Blazers have had much success on the hardwood, boasting an overall program record of 643-375 (.632) - an average of over 20 wins per season (20.1).

• Over the past three seasons, UAB has an impressive record of 70-32 (.686), which averages out to 23.3 wins per season. The 70 wins in the three seasons in the best three-year stretch in terms of number of victories since winning 71 games from 1984-87 (71-31). 

• UAB has made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, a total of 24 postseason (NCAA and NIT) appearances and has had 28 winning seasons in its 32 years of existence.

• UAB has made seven postseason appearances over the past eight years, including three NCAA Tournaments (2004, 2005, 2006) and four NITs (2003, 2008, 2009, 2010).



UAB Basketball Prepares For 33rd Season

The UAB men's basketball team is set to begin its 33rd season during the 2010-11 campaign. The Blazers have been one of the more successful programs on the national scene. UAB enters this season with an overall record of 643-375 (.632) and has earned postseason berths in the NCAA Tournament (13) or NIT (11) in 24 of its 32 years in program history.


Blazers Try To Make Up For Key Personnel Losses

The UAB men's basketball team will have its work cut out entering the 2010-11 campaign. The Blazers, coming off a school record-tying 25-victory campaign a year ago, lost a combined 40.2 points of their 66.9 points-per-game average, or 60 percent of the Blazers' offensive output in 2009-10. Furthermore, the team also lost 20.9 of the its 36.7 rebounds a game, or nearly 57 percent of the total rebounding effort.


About Southeast Missouri State

• Southeast Missouri State went a perfect 2-0 in its exhibition contests, defeating Ouachita Baptist, 80-71, on Nov. 6 and Henderson State, 109-69, last Tuesday.

• Junior college transfer Leon Powell, who sat out last season with an injury, led the Redhawks with an average of 30.0 points and 9.5 rebounds over the two exhibitions. Additionally, he also shot 80.6 percent (25-of-31) from the floor.

• SEMO returns three starters and four letterwinners from last year's 7-23 team. However, despite welcoming eight newcomers, seven of which are junior college transfers, the Redhawks do not have a true freshman on their team.

• Head coach Dickey Nutt is in his second season at the helm of SEMO's program. Entering his 15th season as a head coach, he owns an overall record of 196-209.

• SEMO had a road record of 2-12 last year.


Highlights From Last Game

• UAB defeated West Alabama, 81-64, marking the third time in the past five seasons the two teams have met during the exhibition season.

• Senior guard Jamarr Sanders led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the floor and 4-of-10 from beyond the arc.

• Forwards Cameron Moore (19 points, six rebounds) and Ovie Soko (16 points, 10 rebounds) combined for 35 points and 16 rebounds on the night. The duo connected on 15-of-23 shots from the floor.


UAB Ranks As Among Fewest Years Of D-I Experience In NCAA

This year's UAB squad boasts of two seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen. The Blazers 11-man squad has a combined total of 10 years of Division I playing experience entering the 2010-11 season, which puts them in a unique category. This year's UAB team is one of only 26 teams in all of NCAA D-I which has 10 or fewer years of combined experience. The Blazers rank in a tie for 23rd in the poll, which was conducted in early November and verified by the NCAA. Below is a abbreviated list of a few of the teams which rank among the least experienced teams in the NCAA:

Rank Team D-I Years

1. Eastern Washington 4

T10. South Alabama 8

T10. Kentucky 8

T17. Michigan 9

22. Western Kentucky 9.5

T23. UAB 10

Stanford 10

USC Upstate 10

Lamar 10


K.C. Whitaker Signs NLI

Kenneth "K.C." Whitaker, a 6-5, 185-pound guard (Ashburn, Va.), has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his basketball career at UAB, head coach Mike Davis announced on Wednesday. Whitaker becomes the first signee in this year's class and will be eligible to compete in the 2011-12 season. 

Whitaker played three seasons under head coach Rico Reed at Flint Hill (Va.) High School where he was a two-time all-conference player (2007-08 and 2008-09). During his junior season at Flint, Whitaker averaged 14.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. He was also rated by as the 70th-best player in the states of Maryland and Virginia in 2009.

Whitaker began his senior season (2009-10) on a lot of college radars but suffered an arm injury eight games in to his campaign. 

After graduating high school, Whitaker chose to go to a post-graduate school and enrolled at Fishburne (Va.) Academy, which is the same school that produced current UAB freshman Quincy Taylor. Whitaker has helped Fishburne to a 4-0 start this season and earned rave reviews from his coach, Ed Huckaby.


Johnson Named Preseason All-Conference USA

UAB senior point guard Aaron Johnson was selected by a vote of the league's 12 head coaches to the 2010-11 Conference USA Preseason Second Team. Johnson, who was named a third-team all-conference performer last season, earned the first preseason accolade of his career.

Johnson returns for his final season after a career year in 2009-10 in which he also was tabbed to the C-USA All-Defensive team. The Chicago, Ill. native collected an average of 9.6 points, 4.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest a year ago - all single-season career bests.

Johnson, who has played in 102 career games and made 77 starts, is a big reason why the Blazers have a record of 70-32 (.686) during his three seasons in the Green and Gold. He enters the 2010-11 campaign needing 173 assists to break the school's all-time assist record of 597, held by former Blazer great Steve Mitchell (1982-86).

Johnson is joined on the preseason all-conference second team by Papa Dia of SMU, Jeremy Williams of UTEP, Arsalan Kazemi of Rice and Will Barton of Memphis.

UTEP senior guard Randy Culpepper was selected as the 2010-11 Conference USA Men's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year after garnering the award a year ago. Culpepper is one of four seniors comprising the preseason all-conference first team. He is joined by classmates Gary Flowers of Southern Miss, Justin Hurtt of Tulsa and Brock Young of East Carolina. The lone junior on the first team is Memphis swingman Wesley Witherspoon.