Rank: #4 C-USA
24-7, 12-2, 2nd
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Junior, Guard, 8.7 points per game
Senior, Guard, 9.3 points per game
Sophomore, Forward, 6.0 points per game
Junior, Forward, 6.5 points per game