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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 19th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

UAB Blazers

 

Overall Rank: #83

Conference Rank: #4 C-USA

 

2005-06: 24-7, 12-2, 2nd  

2005-06 postseason: NCAA

 

The main issue for new UAB Coach Mike Davis this season is finding some scorers.  The guys are quick and the defense is solid, but there isn’t a scorer to go to in crunch time.

 

Who’s Out: It is a long list of departures for UAB.  Carldell ‘Squeaky’ Johnson is gone after leading the team to three straight NCAA appearances.  The point guard averaged 7.3 points and 6.3 assists last year and if you don’t miss his fun nickname, cool hair and exciting playing style, you’re crazy…or not crazy enough.  The backcourt also loses last year’s leading scorer Marvett McDonald, three-point specialist Derrick Broom, part-time starter Richard Jones, former coach’s son Michael Anderson Jr. and walk-on Reed Davis.  Up front the losses are less plentiful, but just as painful.  Demario Eddins started 11 games before being sidelined for the rest of his campaign.  He averaged 13.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in those limited appearances.  Brandon Tobias ended up down the depth chart a ways, but did a solid job on both ends of the floor.

 

Who’s In: The newcomers need to show up and make an immediate impact.  The likely candidates to do that are Andre White and Jeremy Mayfield.  White will be a new look after the reign of Squeaky.  White, a transfer from Highland Community College in Illinois, is a scoring point guard with a tremendous outside shot.  With few other options, White should be starting at the point right away.  Mayfield hasn’t been cleared to play yet by the NCAA, but if eligible, he’ll make a huge impact.  At 6-10 and 240 pounds, Mayfield can battle with anybody in the conference and has the athleticism to dominate in a year or two.  The frontcourt has some more new depth with the additions of Howard Crawford and Curtis Nickson.  Both players have good size and strength, but will need some time to adjust to the level of competition.  Shooting guard Taurus Dortch is a solid all-around prospect.  He won’t make a huge impact as a freshman but could contribute off the bench if given the opportunity.

 

Who to Watch: Wen Mukubu is the star of the team for now.  After averaging 9.3 points mostly off the bench as a junior, Mukubu is the most likely candidate to step up and put some points on the board.  The 6-6 wing, who transferred in from Arkansas two years ago, is a good athlete and has a nice stroke out to the three-point stripe.  The shooting guard spot is where things get a little interesting.  Paul Delaney III averaged 8.7 points and 3.4 rebounds last season, but Maurice Gibbs could steal away the starting job after averaging just 7.2 minutes per game last year.  Delaney thrived in the up-tempo style of play that we will all miss so much, but Gibbs is better suited for the slower, defensive style of play Coach Davis will employ. 

 

Final Projection: There is a lot of depth up front with the newcomers, but the returning player will hold onto the starting jobs for now.  Lawrence Kinnard started 14 games as a freshman, averaging 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds.  The 6-8 forward is a better fit at the four, but with the development of a more consistent shot, could see minutes at the three this year.  His frontcourt mate, Frank Holmes, averaged 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds as a sophomore.  At 6-9 and 210 pounds, Holmes is the physical presence under the basket for the Blazers.  Holmes can pick up fouls quickly and his free-throw shooting leaves a lot to be desired, but after starting 29 games last year, Holmes will be starting once again.  The tempo will be slower and most of the faces are unfamiliar, but this is still a talented team.  An NCAA Tournament appearance may be asking a bit much, but with a little adjustment time, UAB can squeak into the NIT.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT

 

Projected Starting Five:

Andre White, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season

Paul Delaney, Junior, Guard, 8.7 points per game

Wen Mukubu, Senior, Guard, 9.3 points per game

Lawrence Kinnard, Sophomore, Forward, 6.0 points per game

Frank Holmes, Junior, Forward, 6.5 points per game 

84 Toledo » Complete List » 82 Penn

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