Nov. 14, 2008
Troy Game Notes | Live Stats
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UAB men's basketball team will tip off the 2008-09 campaign when it travels to take on the Troy Trojans Saturday at 2 p.m. CT. The contest will mark the first time in school history that the Blazers and Trojans will square off on the hardwood.
UAB enters the 2008-09 campaign with high expectations as the Blazers return four starters and nine letterwinners from last year's 23-11 squad. Leading the way for this year's UAB team is 2008-09 Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year Robert Vaden, who returns for his senior season after breaking conference and school records in three-pointers made (142) and attempted (355). He also broke the school record for points in a season with 695.
Seniors Paul Delaney III and Lawrence Kinnard are also going to be key contributors on this year's squad. Delaney was a preseason first-team all-conference performer in 2006-07 before an injury sidelined him last season. During his junior campaign, the Decatur, Ga. native averaged 15.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Meanwhile, Kinnard earned third-team all-league accolades a year ago and returns as the team's leading rebounder (6.8 rpg) and second-leading scorer (11.1 ppg).
UAB head coach Mike Davis begins his third season at the helm of the UAB basketball program. He owns a 38-27 overall mark while at the helm of the program, and is 153-106 during his head coaching career.
Troy enters the season after a 12-19 mark a year ago and a 4-14 record in the Sun Belt Conference. The Trojans return one starter and eight letterwinners from last year's squad. Despite returning just one starter, there is excitement surrounding the Trojans program as they welcome Mississippi State transfer Richard Delk. During his two seasons with the Bulldogs, Delk was a key contributor playing in 57 games and averaging 7.1 ppg. Junior forward Trace Macon is the lone returning starter, and averaged 7.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest during the 2007-08 campaign.
The Trojans are an experienced team featuring 13 juniors and seniors and one sophomore. They also welcome four junior college players on this year's squad. Junior guard Brandon Hazzard was the team's top three-point threat, shooting 39.2 percent from beyond the arc, while averaging 6.0 ppg and 13.1 mpg game last season.
Troy head coach Don Maestri begins his 27th season at the helm of the Trojan basketball program. He has compiled a career record of 436-313 (.583) during his tenure at Troy.
Saturday's contest will be aired on WUHT 107.7 FM, with the pregame show beginning at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Vaden Selected C-USA Preseason Player Of The Year
UAB senior guard/forward Robert Vaden has been tabbed the 2008-09 Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year, league officials announced prior to the start of the season. Additionally, the Blazers were chosen to finish second to Memphis in the league race this season. The vote came from the league's head coaches during the offseason.
Additionally, UAB returns two other all-conference players for the upcoming year. Senior guard Paul Delaney III, who was a first-team honoree following the 2006-07 campaign and a 2007-08 preseason first-team selection, returns to the lineup following an injury that kept him out all of last season. Furthermore, senior forward Lawrence Kinnard returns for his final year after earning third-team all-conference accolades in 2007-08.
`Darth Vaden' Returns After Record-Breaking 2008 Campaign
After declaring for the 2008 NBA Draft without hiring an agent, senior guard Robert Vaden decided to withdraw his name from the draft and return to UAB for his senior season. With the news, Vaden returns as not only one of the top players in Conference USA, but he is expected to be one of the elite players in the nation.
Vaden is coming off one of the best seasons in school history in 2007-08 and is a strong candidate for All-America accolades as he enters his senior season. As a junior, Vaden recorded single-season school marks of points (695), threes made (142) and threes attempted (355). His treys from beyond the arc also set the single-season records for Conference USA.
Vaden also finished the year ranked among the UAB top-10 in a single-season in the following categories: points per game average (21.1, T2nd), field goals made (220, 8th), field goals attempted (539, 4th), free throw percentage (86.3, 4th) and minutes played (1,170, 4th).
On top of all that, Vaden also conquered single-game marks, highlighted by tying the school record for points in a game when he struck for 41 at UTEP (Feb. 27). He also holds single-game marks for threes made (9) and threes attempted (17).
Vaden Selected To Preseason Wooden Award List
UAB senior guard/forward Robert Vaden has been selected as a candidate for the 2009 John R. Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year trophy, as announced by Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, Wooden Award Chairman and founder. The list is composed of 50 student athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
Blazers Boast Senior-Laden Team In 2008-09
UAB should have one of the most experienced teams in Conference USA this season. The Blazers return four starters and eight letterwinners from the squad which won 23 games and made an NIT appearance last season. Not only will this year's team be experienced, but the Blazers will also boast of six seniors for the upcoming year.
There is more than one reason for UAB fans to be excited heading into the 2008-09 campaign. UAB senior guard Paul Delaney III, who injured his left knee in the opening minutes of the second half during the Georgia Southern game fourth game last season, has made a full recovery and will suit up for the Green & Gold this season.
Delaney entered the 2007-08 campaign with high aspirations and was named to the Conference USA Preseason First Team. He led the 2006-07 squad in scoring (15.5 ppg), assists (5.2) and steals (1.9) per game.
Three 1,000-Point Scorers??
UAB could have a historic season in 2008-09. For the first time in school history, the UAB men's basketball program could feature three 1,000-point scorers in a single season. Seniors Paul Delaney III, Lawrence Kinnard, Channing Toney and Robert Vaden are each pushing the scoring milestone.
Delaney enters the 2008-09 season having scored 873 career points and is only 127 points shy of the 1,000-point plateau. Kinnard is the closest of the trio to the milestone, just 64 points shy after scoring 936 points during his UAB career thus far.
Meanwhile, Vaden, who has a combined 1,420 points during his time at Indiana and UAB, scored a school-record 695 points last season. He needs 305 points to become the fastest UAB player to the 1,000-point barrier in school history.
Blazers Receiving Votes To Be Ranked
The 2008-09 UAB Blazers are getting some national recognition heading into the season. The Blazers received two votes to be ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 poll. The Blazers are also ranked in the preseason polls by Rivals.com (No. 36) and CollegeHoops.Net (No. 44). A complete listing of the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll can be found in the left-hand column on page 7 of the game notes.
Vaden Earning Preseason Accolades
Senior Robert Vaden has been receiving recognition from around the nation after the spectacular season he had a year ago. Below is a list of the awards the Indianapolis, Ind. native has received coming into the 2008-09 campaign:
2008-09 Wooden Award List
Honorable Mention Preseason All-America
2008-09 C-USA Preseason Player of the Year
First Team High Major All-America
Ranked No. 4 shooting guard in the nation
Ranked No. 6 small forward in the nation
Seventh-ranked returning scorer in D-I