CHICAGO - There's a slight chill in the air, the colors are changing and UIC students are officially in the fall semester groove. All signs point toward basketball season being right around the corner. In preparation for the 2012-13 campaign, the men's basketball preseason prospectus is now available on UICFlames.com.
The UIC men's basketball team enters the 2012-13 campaign with hopes of becoming the next upstart team in the Horizon League. The Flames return four starters from the 2011-12 campaign, including the highest-scoring returning backcourt in the League. UIC is under the direction of third-year head coach Howard Moore, a Chicago native that spent five seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Wisconsin, before taking over the helm of the Flames prior to the 2010-11 campaign.
UIC's returning starters include senior point guard Gary Talton (11.6 ppg/3.3 apg), senior guard Daniel Barnes (10.4 ppg), junior forward Hayden Humes (8.2 ppg) and sophomore wing Marc Brown (6.7 ppg). Talton was a Horizon League All-Newcomer Team selection last season after leading UIC in scoring, field goals made (122), free throw percentage (.867), free throws made (78) and assists per game (3.3). Overall, UIC returns 65 percent of its scoring from the 2011-12 campaign.
NEW TO THE SCENE
Head coach Howard Moore and his staff have welcomed eight newcomers to the mix, including two Division I transfers that will be immediately eligible. Senior center Josh Crittle, a native of Bellwood, Ill., spent the past two seasons at UCF, where he started 25 games as a junior (2011-12) -- he is enrolled in UIC's graduate school, and will have one season of eligiblity remaining with the Flames. Crittle began his college career at Oregon after a stellar prep career at nearby Hales Franciscan.
Sophomore guard Joey Miller played his first season of college basketball at Eastern Illinois before transferring to UIC -- he was given immediate eligibility with the Flames after being granted a hardship waiver from the NCAA. Miller scored 10.4 points per game in his freshman season with the Panthers, and was named the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Freshman of the Week on three occasions.
Other newcomers include point guard Jay Parker (So.), a transfer from Highland C.C., along with freshmen post players Matt Gorski and Jake Wiegand, a pair of Virginia natives that both played one year of postgraduate basketball at Fishburne Military Academy (Va.). Gorski is a 7-footer that possesses both the size and upside to be a dominant center in the Horizon League.
Gabe Snider, a local product from Whitney Young High School in Chicago, joins the Flames after a standout prep career. One of the top shooters in the the state of Illinois as a senior, Snider helped the Dolphins capture back-to-back regional titles and make two deep runs in the IHSA State Tournament. Also joining the program are freshmen guard walk-ons Austin Angel (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) and Ngijol Songolo (Madison, Wis./Memorial).
BARLOW TRANSFERS TO UIC
Former Purdue guard Kelsey Barlow, who played in 93 games for the Boilermakers over the past three seasons, also transferred to UIC during the offseason. The Indianapolis, Ind., native will be required to sit out the 2012-13 campaign to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Last season, in 26 games played, Barlow averaged 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest. Barlow, who will be permitted to practice with the Flames this season, was also named to the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman Team in 2009-10, after seeing action in all 35 games, tying for the second-most by a freshman in Purdue's history.
HUMES RETURNS FOR SECOND SEASON
One of UIC's preseason All-Horizon League performers is junior forward Hayden Humes, a transfer from Toledo that enters his second season with the Flames. Humes scored in double figures in seven-of the last nine games of the 2011-12 season, and led the Flames in rebounding in 10-of the final 12 contests. Humes shot 41.8 percent from three-point range last season, ranking sixth in the Horizon League.
AGGRESSIVE SCHEDULE LIES AHEAD
UIC's 2012-13 schedule features 14 regular season home games, four non-conference match-ups against in-state foes and a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam at University of the Virgin Islands. The Flames will also play at least 13 games against teams that made appearances in the 2012 postseason, including three NCAA Tournament foes.
UIC will take on New Mexico in the first-round of the Paradise Jam (11/16/12). Depending on the outcome of that contest, the Flames will face either George Mason or Mercer on either November 17 or 18.
The month of December will see the Flames take on four opponents that garnered berths to the postseason in 2012, beginning with a Dec. 1 contest at Northwestern. The 16-game Horizon League slate will begin on Jan. 2, when UIC hosts Youngstown State.