Flames Open Season at No. 4/5 Pittsburgh Wednesday
Nov. 9, 2010
CHICAGO - The Howard Moore era at UIC will officially tip-off on Wednesday night, when the Flames travel to No. 4/5 Pittsburgh in the first-round of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches versus Cancer. UIC and Pitt will be going head-to-head for the first time in men's basketball.
UIC is coming off an 8-22 (3-15 Horizon League) record during the 2009-10 campaign. The Flames return nine letterwinners from that squad, including their top-two scorers, and welcome eight newcomers to the mix.
The Flames are beginning their 63rd season of college basketball, and their 29th campaign as an NCAA Division I program. UIC's all-time Division I record is 447-414; the Flames have advanced to three NCAA Tournaments (1998, 2002 and 2004), while appearing in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) following the 2002-03 season. UIC captured the Horizon League Tournament titles in both 2002 and 2004.
Seven of the Flames' eight victories last season took place at the confines of the UIC Pavilion. UIC's lone road win was at Evansville in the ESPNU BracketBusters contest (2/20/10).
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Pittsburgh: Jamie Dixon has served as the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh since 2003. Dixon was named Big East Coach of the Year in 2004, Naismith College Coach of the Year in 2009, and Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year in 2010. His 188 career wins headed into the 2010-11 season tied the NCAA Division I record for most wins in the first seven seasons of a head coaching career.
A NEW ERA
Moore joined the Wisconsin staff in 2005 and helped the Badgers to NCAA tournament appearances in each of his five years. The Badgers advanced past the first round of the NCAA tournament in each of the last four seasons, including a Sweet 16 run in 2008.
Wisconsin posted three of the top five winningest seasons in school history with Moore on the staff, including a historic 2007-08 campaign that saw the Badgers win a school-record 31 games and capture the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships.
REVISITING THE EXHIBITION
Brad Birton scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Paul Carter scored 10 points with eight caroms in his UIC debut. Junior guard Zavion Neely added 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting. The Flames out-rebounded the Prairie Stars 49-36, and shot 47.1 percent from the field, including a 55.3 percent effort in the second half. The Flames held a decisive 42-18 advantage in the paint.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES
The Flames will welcome eight newcomers, including four junior college transfers (juniors Daniel Barnes, Paris Carter, Dorian Tyler and Darrin Williams), two freshmen (Eddie Denard and Shawn King), junior Matt Bush, who sat out his first season with a medical redshirt, and Minnesota transfer Paul Carter, a senior.
Senior frontcourt members Brad Birton (4.0 ppg/3.6 rpg) and K.C. Robbins (4.0 ppg/4.0 rpg) also return, along with sophomore guard Anthony Kelley, who appeared in 21 games during his first season in a Flames uniform.
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
FOR SEASON OPENERS
KREPS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-HORIZON LEAGUE
Kreps averaged a team-high 15.2 points per game last season, while leading the Horizon League in minutes played (35.7 mpg). The two-year starter has ranked in the top-10 of the league in scoring in each of the past two seasons, and enters his senior campaign with 1,105 career points, ranking 16th on the all-time scoring list at UIC.
UIC was picked ninth in the preseason team poll, 25 points behind eighth place Loyola and 54 points ahead of 10th place Youngstown State. Butler was the unanimous pick to repeat as Horizon League Champions.
MORE ON ROBO
Carter is a versatile 6-8, 203-pound forward who played a key role as the Sixth Man for Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith the past two seasons, helping the Golden Gophers reach a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. With the Golden Gophers, Carter scored more than 300 points and corralled over 200 rebounds.
Carter transferred to UIC with one year of eligibility remaining to be near his sister, Bria, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, last winter. Since Carter joined the Flames, Bria has completed chemotherapy, received a temporary prosthetic leg after amputation, and is planning to begin her high school career at King High School in Chicago next semester.
Carter comes from a strong sports family. Ron Carter, Paul's father, was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1978, and his older brother, Ron III, was an All-American triple jumper at California State-Long Beach.
YEAR THREE FOR "Z"
KREPS, CARTER NAMED CAPTAINS
THE COACHING STAFF
Mike Mennenga, a native of Rantul, Ill., comes to UIC after a stint as an assistant coach at Central Connecticut State. Prior to that he was the Director of Player Development under head coach Keno Davis at Providence for a year. He has also served assistant coaching stints at Iowa State, where helped bring in a top 25 recruiting class in 2005-06, along with Buffalo and Maine.
Donnie Kirksey joined Moore's staff after serving as the head basketball coach and athletic director at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy since 2007. He also brings college basketball coaching experience from stints at both DePaul and Chicago State.
Matt Ryan, the Director of Basketball Operations, is Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan's youngest son. He most recently served on the Wisconsin staff with Moore as the Badgers' video coordinator, and also served as the basketball operations administrator and lead video coordinator for the USA Men's World University Team for the 2009 World University Games. Ryan played college basketball at Milwaukee, also a member of the Horizon League.