#73 UAB Blazers: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Averaging 23 wins the past four seasons and not finishing worse than third in Conference USA, the UAB Blazers have established themselves as a league contender year-in and year-out under Mike Davis.  It is unlikely that they (or any other C-USA team for that matter) will catch Memphis this season, but the Blazers should be one of the teams battling it out for second place.

UAB BLAZERS
Last Season: 1st, 12-4 in C-USA, 22-9 overall
Predicted C-USA Finish: 3rd

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Cameron Moore (Sr)/Todd O’Brien (Sr)/Beas Hamga (Sr)
F: Ovi Soko (Jr)/Alexander Scotland-Williamson (Jr)/Herb Harrison (Fr)
G/F: Preston Purifoy (So)/ Jordan Swing (So)
SG: Robert Williams (So)/Jekore Tyler (Jr)/Isiah Jones (Fr)
PG: Quincy Taylor (So)/ K.C. Whitaker (Fr)

Gone: SG-Jamarr Sanders, PG-Aaron Johnson, SG-Dexter Fields (transfer-Murray State), PF-Anthony Criswell (transfer-Independence CC)

2011-2012 Outlook:
UAB will rely on their experience up-front this season since they lose their starting backcourt.  Cameron Moore made a huge leap as a full-time starter in his junior season, averaging 14 points and 9.3 rebounds per game compared to the 3.1 points and 3.2 boards he averaged as a sophomore.  Ovie Soko also took advantage of his starting spot last season, utilizing his athleticism as a scorer and rebounder.

The Blazers scored a great get just recently by adding former St. Joseph’s center Todd O’Brien who chose to transfer to Birmingham and becomes eligible right away since he will be a graduate student.  O’Brien is a true seven-footer who led the Hawks in rebounding two seasons ago.  JUCO transfer Alexander Scotland-Williamson also provides size off the bench and should compete with freshman Herb Harrison for playing time.

The backcourt is undergoing a major facelift due to the graduation of Jamarr Sanders and Aaron Johnson, and Dexter Fields’ recent decision to transfer.  Johnson led the nation is assists per game last season and will likely be replaced in the starting line-up by Quincy Taylor who was a key reserve as a freshman.  Freshman K.C. Whitaker is considered the best of the Blazers’ freshman class even though he missed most of his senior year of high school due to a wrist injury, and will back up Taylor at the one.

The two spots on the wing are for grabs.  Preston Purifoy and Robert Williams saw minutes off the bench and are the favorites to be in the starting line-up.  Purifoy is a bigger guard and solid three-point shooter.  Davis will need him to pick up a big chunk of the scoring slack left behind by Sanders.

UAB also picked up a late signing with the addition of JUCO transfer Jekore Lee.  He is a combo guard who will likely be one of Davis’ first options off the bench.  Freshman Isiah Jones will also try to work himself into the rotation.

cameron moore uab

Player to Watch: Cameron Moore
The Blazer senior briefly tested the NBA Draft waters after blowing up last season but wisely decided to return for his senior season.  He does have league potential but will benefit from being the guy at UAB this season.  Moore has a nice inside/outside game, knows how to crash the boards, and was also one of the top shot blockers in the conference.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/16 vs. Creighton
11/20 vs. Murray State
11/25 at Wichita State
12/3 at Kent State
12/20 at VCU
12/28 at George Washington
1/3 at Florida

OTHER 111 IN 111’S
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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