Previewing Team Nike

North Carolina plays their second and final exhibition game tonight against Team Nike, a group of former college standouts. Tip-off is set for 7:30 at the Smith Center and tickets are general admission. [<i>Pictured: Team Nike's Donta Richardson</i>]

11/2 - Miami - W, 88-86
11/4 - Kentucky - L, 107-89
11/6 - Georgia Tech - L, 100-89
11/7 - Clemson - L, 85-68
11/8 - Georgia - L, 79-78 (OT)
11/10 - Vanderbilt - L, 80-48
11/12 - Duke - L, 105-69
11/13 - North Carolina
11/17 - Florida State


No.	Name		Pos.	Ht.	Previous School
 2	Brandon Watkins	G	6-1	Penn State
 5	Donta Richardson	G	6-2	Wyoming
10	Cedrick Hughey	G	6-6	Washington State
11	Stan Blackmon	G-F	6-6	Arkansas-Little Rock
12	Raymond Tutt	G	6-5	UC Santa Barbara
21	Elvin Mimms	F	6-5	Southern Miss
23	Ryan Fletcher	F	6-9	Cincinnati
33	Ousmane Cisse	F	6-8	St. Jude HS
44	Jason Jennings	C	7-0	Arkansas State
Coach: Bill Frieder
Projected Starters
Brandon Watkins (6-1, G) - 13.7 pts, 2.6 ast, 3.6 to
Donta Richardson (6-2, G) - 11.9 pts, 2.4 ast
Elvin Mimms (6-5, F) - 11.7 pts, 6.1 reb, 2.0 stl
Ousmane Cisse (6-8, F) - 8.0 pts, 3.7 reb, 2.7 blk
Ryan Fletcher (6-9, F) - 11.3 pts, 3.0 reb

Raymond Tutt (6-5, G) - 10.0 pts, 3.0 reb
Stan Blackmon (6-6, F) - 10.3 pts, 4.6 reb, 44% 3pt
Cedrick Hughey (6-6 G) - first game
Jason Jennings (7-0, C) - 2.0 pts, 2.7 reb, 1.0 blk

(Stats compiled by Inside Carolina)

Team Notes

Former Michigan and Arizona State coach Bill Frieder has assembled a group of former college standouts for a preseason exhibition tour. While the squad has an unimpressive record thus far, they have managed to hang with some tough teams.

Team Nike's two most impressive performances thus far have been its win over Miami and the one-point overtime loss to No. 11-ranked Georgia. Its worst showing? A 32-point loss to Vanderbilt on Monday.

Shooting Woes: Save for a strong half against Kentucky and a solid effort against Georgia Tech, shooting consistency has been a major downfall of the team. They were in a big slump over the last three games leading up to Duke, shooting 35 percent from the field and 22 percent on three-pointers. Their performance was so poor against Vanderbilt on Monday (28% FG) that Frieder offered a public apology after the game.

Beaten on the Boards: Despite a big frontline, Team Nike has been routinely dominated on the boards. Through the seven games, they have been outrebounded an average of 14 boards per game, and the numbers are even uglier on the offensive boards. Former Cincinnati bruiser Ryan Fletcher ('95-'00) has missed the last four games and his return, joined with Ousmane Cisse down low, could give the undersized Tar Heels some trouble. Former NBA Draft pick Jason Jennings, a seven-footer, has not had much of an impact.

Ousmane Cisse: Remember the name? The Class of 2001 high school phenom held his own in high school matchups with current NBAers Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry, but when he declared for the NBA straight out of high school, a previously undisclosed blown out knee and his lack of size sent him into the second round to the Denver Nuggets, who released him shortly thereafter. Cisse has drifted since, playing overseas in Russia, in the USBL, at a few NBA training camps and even with the Harlem Globetrotters. He's a load to handle in the post - quick, athletic, very strong and ferocious down low.

Hello, Again: Two players on Team Nike have faced the Tar Heels before. Brandon Watkins has actually played UNC twice. As a sophomore, he contributed five assists and two points off the bench in Penn State's 2001 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round upset of Carolina. And in last season's opener, Watkins posted a team-high 24 points in an 85-55 loss to UNC. Donta Richardson's college career ended on the Smith Center floor, as his Wyoming team lost 90-74 to the Heels in the 2nd round of the 2003 NIT. He had a team-high 20 points in that game.

Who Are These Guys?: As for the other names on the roster ... Former Southern Miss high-flyer Elvin Mimms was the first overall pick in the 2002 CBA Draft. ... Jason Jennings transferred from Arkansas to Arkansas State in 1999 and was considered one of the top true centers coming out of college in the 2002 NBA Draft. Portland drafted him in the 2nd Round, but he didn't play last season and was released last month. ... Raymond Tutt averaged 26.7 points in the 1996-96 season for Cal-Santa Barbara, ranking fourth in the nation in PPG. ... Cedrick Hughey averaged 6.9 points and 4.6 rebounds as a senior last year at Washington State. ... Stan Blackmon was named to the 2001 All-Sun Belt team his senior year at Arkansas-Little Rock. He spent last season with the Texas Rim Rockers of the USBL.

More Photos

Fletcher ...... Watkins

Cisse ...... Hughey

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