Circle THESE DATES
DEC. 9 TEXAS VS. ARIZONA IN NEW YORK CITY After last year's
instant classic--a 73-70 Arizona victory in Tucson--this rematch
in the Jimmy V deserves to be played on a grand stage: Madison
DEC. 13 KENTUCKY VS. MICHIGAN STATE IN DETROIT The two
perennial powers look to set a basketball attendance record when
they meet in an early test for both teams at Ford Field. Expected
DEC. 13 FLORIDA AT LOUISVILLE Gators coach Billy Donovan faces
his former coach and mentor Rick Pitino in the arena in which
their 1986-87 Providence team won the Southeast Regional.
FEB. 5 DUKE AT NORTH CAROLINA The first face-off with Coach K
marks Roy Williams's official welcome back to Tobacco Road.
MARCH 7 UCONN AT SYRACUSE The 2003 national champs host the
'04 favorites in their regular-season finale.
LUOL DENG, F, DUKE
A graceful inside scorer who can play all five positions, the
6'8" Deng may be the Blue Devils' best player.
LINAS KLEIZA, F, MISSOURI
The 6'8" workhorse was the leading scorer (29.1 ppg) last summer
for the Lithuanian team that finished second at the world
LEON POWE, F, CAL
A scoring and rebounding machine, the 6'8" Powe is the best
player to arrive at Berkeley since Jason Kidd.
MUSTAFA SHAKUR, G, ARIZONA
The 6'3" Philadelphian, who averaged 26.8 points as a high school
senior, is the next in a line of greats at Point Guard U.
CHARLIE VILLANUEVA, F, UCONN
The versatile 6'10" dynamo has the size of a center and the
skills of a small forward. He probably would have been selected
had he not withdrawn from the NBA draft.
Under THE RADAR
ANDREW BOGUT, Fr., C, UTAH
The 6'10" Australian averaged 26.3 points at the Junior World
Championships and was voted tournament MVP.
MATT FREIJE, Sr., F, VANDERBILT
With the ability to score inside and out, the 6'9" Freije gives
the Commodores their biggest star in years and the preseason
favorite for SEC Player of the Year.
RICKY MINARD, Sr., G, MOREHEAD STATE
NBA scouts love this 6'4" sharpshooter (51.6 field goal
percentage) who averaged 22.5 points and 6.2 rebounds last
KIRK SNYDER, Jr., G, NEVADA
The best player in the WAC, the 6'6" Snyder averaged 16.3 points
and 8.1 rebounds for the Wolf Pack in 2002-03.
ANTOINE WRIGHT, Soph., F, TEXAS A&M
The 6'7" swingman is a star in the making and was the Big 12
Freshman of the Year after averaging 14.5 points and 6.6
WILL BYNUM, Jr., G, GEORGIA TECH (from Arizona)
The combo guard will give the Yellow Jackets much-needed scoring
punch when he becomes eligible on Dec. 13.
JAMES WHITE, Soph., F, CINCINNATI (from Florida)
The former McDonald's All-American is explosive and tough around
the basket. Look for him beginning Dec. 20.
ERROLL KNIGHT, Soph., F, GONZAGA (from Washington)
The former Washington Mr. Basketball is 6'7" and has a knack for
making highlight-tape plays. He's eligible now.
JASON CONLEY, Jr., G, MISSOURI (from VMI)
He led the nation in scoring (29.3 ppg) in 2000-01 and will be a
spark off the bench when he becomes eligible on Dec. 21.
LAWRENCE ROBERTS, Jr., F, MISSISSIPPI STATE (from Baylor)
The 6'9" bruiser, who averaged 15.2 points and 10.4 rebounds last
season, was eligible immediately after leaving Baylor.
Coaches on THE RISE
DANA ALTMAN, 45, CREIGHTON The Bluejays have averaged 24 wins
and have gone to the NCAAs in each of the last five years.
Illinois, Georgia and Iowa State interviewed him after last
BOBBY GONZALEZ, 40, MANHATTAN The Rick Pitino clone has the
Jaspers poised to repeat as Metro Atlantic champs and, after
attracting interest from DePaul and Pittsburgh, has his eye on
the big time.
JEFF LEBO, 37, CHATTANOOGA The Mocs went 21-9 in their first
season under the former North Carolina point guard and are again
one of the early favorites in the Southern Conference.
THAD MATTA, 36, XAVIER After winning 24 games at Butler, he
guided Xavier to back-to-back 26-win seasons and is a remarkable
76-20 (.792) in three years as a head coach.
MARK TURGEON, 38, WICHITA STATE In his fourth season the former
Kansas player and assistant will christen a new arena with the
best team in the tough Missouri Valley Conference.
Coaches on THE HOT SEAT
STEVE ALFORD, 39, IOWA After four straight sub-.500 seasons in
Big Ten play, the former Indiana star needs to turn things
around quickly by at least making it to the NCAAs.
CRAIG ESHERICK, 47, GEORGETOWN Once a perennial power, the
Hoyas have made the NCAA tournament once in Esherick's five-plus
seasons, and six players transferred in that time.
PETE GILLEN, 56, VIRGINIA The Cavaliers, 5-11 in February for
the last two years, need to show more consistency and find a way
to avoid another late-season swoon.
MIKE JARVIS, 58, ST. JOHN'S The inability to attract top New
York City-area talent may cost Jarvis, who's in the sixth year of
a seven-year contract.
STEVE LAPPAS, 49, MASSACHUSETTS In two seasons his Minutemen
had 24 wins, five transfers and a steady decline in attendance.
AUSTIN AINGE Fr. G BYU Son of CELTICS G.M. Danny
PATRICK EWING JR. Fr. F INDIANA Son of ROCKETS asst. Patrick Sr.
DAN GRUNFELD Soph. F STANFORD Son of WIZARDS G.M. Ernie
DARIUS RICE Sr. F MIAMI Nephew of RAIDERS WR Jerry
D.J. STRAWBERRY Fr. G MARYLAND Son of YANKEES instructor Darryl
SI's Preseason ALL-AMERICAS
F RICKEY PAULDING, Sr., MISSOURI
F IKE DIOGU, Soph., ARIZONA STATE
C EMEKA OKAFOR, Jr., UCONN
G JAMEER NELSON, Sr., ST. JOSEPH'S
G BEN GORDON, Jr., UCONN
F WAYNE SIMIEN, Jr., KANSAS
C ARTHUR JOHNSON, Sr., MISSOURI
G CHRIS THOMAS, Jr., NOTRE DAME
G RAYMOND FELTON, Soph., NORTH CAROLINA
G BLAKE STEPP, Sr., GONZAGA
COLOR PHOTO: MARK HUMPHREY/AP (FREIJE)
COLOR PHOTO: JEFF GUENTHER/CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS (LEBO)
COLOR PHOTO: MICHELL LAYTON (ESHERICK)
COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO (ROBERTS)
COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS (NELSON)
COLOR PHOTO: AJ MAST/ICON SMI (PATRICK EWING JR.)
COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN (PATRICK EWING SR.)
COLOR PHOTO: SARAH BEKING (KLEIZA)