Previewing Central Arkansas
After a 10-19 season last year, Central Arkansas is 1-1 heading into its showdown with Kansas. UCA, located in Conway, Ark., opened the season with a 68-40 victory over cross-town rival Hendrix College on Nov. 13 before losing to Tennessee Tech, 71-67, in its first-round game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase on Monday. Both home games drew over 1,000 fans, a far cry from what the Bears will experience in front of 16,300 KU fans in Allen Fieldhouse.
Six-foot-one senior guard Mike Pouncy leads four players in double figures with 12 points per game, followed by 6-7 reserve junior forward Tadre Sheppard (11.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg and five steals), 6-0 foot junior guard Jared Rehmel (11.0 ppg, 5 threes), 6-8, 250-pound junior center Carlos Dos Santos (10.0 ppg, team-high four blocks), 6-6 senior forward Mitch Rueter (8.5 ppg, team-high 8.5 rpg), 6-7 junior center Chris Williams (5.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg), and 6-2 junior guard Imad Qahwash (4.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) .
UCA is averaging 67.5 points and allowing 55.5 ppg.
The Bears, members of the Southland Conference, are in the final season of their five-year transition to NCAA Division I.
Head coach Rand Chappell said the five-year process has been a long journey.
"Particularly as a coaching staff, as we've moved through the five-year process, it's been a long, slow, tough trip,' Chappell said. "We've had some success along the way and we've won some good games, but there's no question it's tough on everybody involved with the program.
"I felt like this past year, for the first time, we were able to go into some head-to-head (recruiting) battles and get some guys to come to UCA. I think the only thing that had been stopping us before, when it got down to decision time, was that every kid dreams of playing in the NCAA tournament and having that opportunity. And that was something we didn't have to offer in a close call. I think our recruiting got better and our acceptance is getting better and better every time we talk to people.
"I know whenever our last game this season is over in March, I think we'll feel like the handcuffs are totally off and we're ready to go."
The Bears have not been eligible for postseason play during their transition to NCAA Division I, and will finally get their opportunity next year. UCA, meanwhile, will keep fighting this season and get great opportunities playing the likes of Kansas and Memphis (Nov. 24).
"Obviously for the players, it's something they dream about, when you're out shooting in your yard growing up, to play at places like Allen Fieldhouse," Chappell said. "We talked about it five years ago, without a chance to go to the NCAA tournament, we thought it was important to give our guys, maybe not the exact NCAA tournament experience, but the opportunity to play some of the top programs in big venues. And I think we've been consistent with that throughout this process.
"We're looking forward to those games."
Now in his seventh year at UCA, Chappell has a 96-84 mark in Conway. Overall, Chappell has posted a 294-146 career record.
MOVING ON UP
Kansas senior guard Sherron Collins is now tied with Adonis Jordan for seventh place on the all-time KU 3-point attempt list with 437. With two steals against Memphis, he also moved into 23rd place on the all-time school list for steals with 109...Junior center Cole Aldrich recorded five blocks vs. Memphis, passing Paul "Big Mo" Mokeski for 11th place on the all-time list with 137.
This is the first meeting between Kansas and Central Arkansas. KU has faced just one other Southland Conference team, Texas-San Antonio, on Dec. 23, 1990 in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks won, 103-69.
MOST FAMOUS BEAR
Former NBA great Scottie Pippen is the most famous athlete in UCA school history. A 6-2 walk-on his first year, Pippen grew to 6-7 his sophomore season and starred the next three seasons. He was the fifth overall selection in the 1987 NBA Draft by Seattle, then traded to the Chicago Bulls for Olden Polynice.
Good move, Bulls.
Polynice became a journeyman center, while Pippen teamed with Michael Jordan to win six world championships in Chicago. Pippen, who also played for the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers, was voted one of the NBA's Top 50 players of all time after retirement.
HAPPY #90TH BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
Friday, Nov. 20 marks the 90th birthday for former KU great Howard Engleman. The Salina, Kan., native was a first-team consensus All-American in 1941, and his jersey hangs in the Allen Fieldhouse rafters. Engleman is the sole survivor of the 1940 National Championship runner-up team.
A former student body president, decorated war veteran, KU Law School graduate, and president of the KU Alumni Association, Engleman laid the cornerstone for the Memorial Campanile and was the Kansas basketball head coach when Phog Allen was unable to coach all of the 1947 season.
Phog.net wishes the very personable Mr. Engleman a very happy birthday, and many more.
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