Anybody who has ever sampled the jambalaya in New Orleans's
French Quarter knows it's wise to keep some ice on hand to cool
the resulting gustatory fire. Little wonder, then, that the
Crescent City is so taken with this season's Tulane basketball
team. After all, with juniors Jerald (Fire) Honeycutt and
Rayshard (Ice) Allen, the Green Wave has one of the best
frontcourt combinations in the game.
"I call them Fire and Ice because those are their personalities,"
says assistant coach Julius Smith, who came up with the
nicknames. "Jerald is about as fiery as you can get. He's
emotional and a little cocky. Rayshard is cool and quiet, just a
good ol' country boy from Louisiana. But when they get on the
court together, they're a perfect match."
Honeycutt, a 6'9", 245-pound athletic marvel from Grambling,
La., has been dazzling fans in the Bayou State ever since he
arrived at Tulane three years ago as one of the nation's most
sought-after high school recruits. He has led the Green Wave in
scoring each of his first two seasons (15.3 points per game in
1993-94, 17.3 in 1994-95) while playing small forward, power
forward and center. His diverse skills mesh well with coach
Perry Clark's spicy, up-tempo style of play and make him one of
the most exciting players in the country to watch.
Allen, a 6'7", 245-pound low-post specialist from Marrero, La.,
plays a more subdued, but no less effective, game. Allen used
his deceptive quickness and sound footwork to average 16.4
points and 7.8 rebounds per game last season, including a
29-point, eight-rebound performance in the Green Wave's 82-60
loss to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament.
"With Jerald and Rayshard we have a pair of bookend forwards as
talented as any in the country," says Clark, who has taken
Tulane to the postseason the last four seasons. "But the big
difference this year may be that we have some depth to go with
Tulane has three other significant players back from last
season's 23-10 team, which beat Brigham Young in the first round
of the NCAA tournament before falling to Kentucky. Senior guard
LeVeldro Simmons, who averaged 13.8 points per game, will
provide backcourt leadership, while 6'4" junior guard Chris
Cameron and 6'6" junior forward Correy Childs are both
experienced, capable contributors.
In addition, the arrival of transfer Patrick Lewis, a 6'2" guard
from Lon Morris Junior College in Jacksonville, Texas, gives
Tulane a bona fide three-point threat and, more significantly,
provides Clark with the option of switching Simmons from point
guard to his more comfortable spot at shooting guard.
"With the veterans we have back and the newcomers, we're looking
forward to winning the Conference USA and then going to the NCAA
tourney," Honeycutt says confidently. "Rayshard and I know it's
time to show the country what we can do."
No doubt Tulane fans are already licking their lips.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER Honeycutt is hot stuff for Tulane. [Jerald (Fire) Honeycutt]
THE DATA BOX
Coach: Perry Clark
Career record: 104-76 (6 seasons)
Record at Tulane: 104-76 (6 seasons)
1994-95 record: 23-10 (final ranking: none)
Metro record: 7-5 (tied for second)
SF Correy Childs, 6'6", Jr.
Shot 72.7% from floor in last six games
PF *Jerald Honeycutt, 6'9", Jr.
Led Metro with 17.3 points per game
C *Rayshard Allen, 6'7", Jr.
All-Metro player, shot 61.0% from floor
SG *LeVeldro Simmons, 6'4", Sr.
Third in league in assists (4.0 pg)
PG Patrick Lewis, 6'2", Jr.
Averaged 23.4 ppg as juco player last year
Dec. 5 vs. Florida State
At Superdome; Green Wave 2-0 there last season
Jan. 6 at UAB
Tulane's first Conference USA game
Feb. 3 vs. Marquette
Green Wave is 0-8 against Golden Eagles
Feb. 25 vs. Cincinnati
Allen grabbed 14 boards in 86-72 loss in '94-95
March 2 at Memphis
Regular-season finale against one of nation's best