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College Preview | Top 144 Previews | More Interviews

By Shawn Siegel

October 2nd, 2006

UALR Head Coach: Steve Shields


After winning 17 and then 18 games in his first two seasons, last year's 14-15 season was a bit of a disappointment for Steve Shields and UALR.  But with some talented players back, the Trojans could once again be in the Sun Belt title hunt.


Shawn Siegel (CHN): What will the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s team to be?

Steve Shields BioSteve Shields (SS):  I would expect that rebounding will be one of our strengths this year, anchored by Rashad Jones-Jennings. I also think team chemistry will be one of our strong points. We have a lot of team-first players and good character guys this year. Our team is also very versatile. We have a lot of guys who can fill different positions on the floor, and I really like that about our team. In regards to weaknesses, I wouldn’t call it a weakness but I would say that we are concerned about our point guard play. Buddy Harding played 20 minutes a game last year, so he has experience at the point. We’ll need Buddy, Steven Moore or Corey Johnson to step up and establish himself as our starting point guard.



CHN: Talk about one or two of your guys that stands out as being an unheralded leader and contributor?


SS: Obviously, you have to talk about Rashad Jones-Jennings when you talk about our team. He averaged a double-double last year and has set himself apart as a leader. He has had an excellent offseason. Another guy who has established himself is senior Byron Ray, who's had a great summer working out with our strength coach. Last year, De'Andre Eggins was the first true freshman to start for us in the six years I have been here. His maturity extends well beyond his years. Lekheythan Malone was the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year last season, and is a guy whose motor is always running. Effort is never going to be an issue with Lekheythan, we just need to make sure to channel it in the right direction.



CHN: Who should we expect to step up to replace departed senior Elijah Muldrow?


SS: Elijah Muldrow was the only senior on last year’s team. Rashad, Byron, Lekheythan and De’Andre are the main guys we will look to fill his shoes from a leadership standpoint.



CHN: What should we expect out of the incoming players. Who will make the biggest impact?

Rashad Moss is coming in with really high expectations, as are Corey Johnson and Steven Moore. Steven has what I think could be the best feet of any guard we've had here. He is a guy that can fly with the basketball. Corey and Rashad both have the ability to play multiple spots. Corey is a combo guard who gives us flexibility, and is a versatile player who also shoots the ball well. He's also an outstanding young man, having won the CAB Award the past two seasons at Aiken for character, academics and basketball. Rashad has proven to be an extremely effective scorer at the junior college level. He's also a very versatile player, who can score facing the basket and can also get to the foul line while shooting a high percentage.



CHN: How does this year's schedule compare to recent seasons in terms of difficulty?

SS: This year's non-conference schedule will once again challenge our basketball team in preparation for Sun Belt Conference play. Playing at Texas A&M, Minnesota, and in the CBE Classic will present an obvious challenge for our guys. We always try to challenge our guys on the road early. Over the last three years it has helped us go 10-10 on the road in conference games. A big part of that has been our non-conference schedule.



CHN: Are you pretty well settled with your starting lineup? If not, what should be the biggest battle for a starting spot?

SS:  Absolutely not. I think there is going to be an enormous amount of competition at every position. We'll have a lot of competition for playing time. No one’s starting spot is secure at this point. We’ve got about three guys fighting for time at every spot.



CHN: Good luck coach.


Coach Shields will be serving as Chairman of the North Little Rock Boy’s and Girl’s Club golf tournament on Sept. 18.  The team currently makes bi-monthly visits to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

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