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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / 2000-2001 PREVIEW

Anteaters Expecting Big Things This Season

UC Irvine: Led by a pair of 7-footers and a trio of returning guards, team looks for best season in 15 years.

November 16, 2000|PAUL McLEOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

This may turn out to be the best men's basketball team at UC Irvine in 15 years, but so far the Anteaters have shown only a hint of it.

Irvine made 63% of its second-half shots and looked a lot more comfortable as a team in its 87-62 exhibition win eight days ago against Team Concept, which huffed and puffed its way through its fifth game in nine days.

But two weeks ago not even Coach Pat Douglass could find something to cheer about in a humbling 73-60 exhibition loss to Division II South Dakota.

Irvine has had only three winning seasons since it was 17-13 in 1985-86, with the last being a 15-12 mark five years ago. The Anteaters were picked to finish fourth in the Big West Conference coaches' poll, but there is considerable expectation that Irvine will do better. The Anteaters have a favorable home schedule, a deep bench, their first pair of 7-footers and return four of their top five scorers from last year's 14-14 team: guards Malachi Edmond (7.9 points), Jerry Green (15.6) and Sean Jackson (10.1) and forward Ben Jones (5.6).

Jones, a senior, was the most impressive player in the exhibitions, averaging 22 points and eight rebounds. Irvine has more post height than it has ever had, so Jones has the luxury of taking more three-point shots, something he was not always able to do last season. He made four of five against Team Concept.

Green, a junior who was a second-team all-conference selection last season, played well on offense against South Dakota, scoring 23 points and grabbing eight rebounds. But he was a near non-factor last week.

Edmond, a senior, has been plagued by a groin pull that has benched him on and off since he was 13 years old. He sat out the exhibition opener, and won't be completely ready for Howard.

"I'm still limited," Edmond said after scoring eight points in 18 minutes against Team Concept. "Hopefully, I'll be ready by the time league starts. If not, I'll just have to tough it out."

Irvine needs a sound Edmond because he is expected to be the floor leader, something the team has lacked.

"Definitely, we are a different team when he is in there," said Douglass, who begins his fourth season with a 29-52 record. "He gives us leadership."

Irvine is high on its big men, among them 7-2, 285-pound junior David Korfman, a transfer from Mira Costa College in Oceanside, and 7-foot redshirt freshman Adam Parada. Also in the mix is 6-7 junior J.R. Christ, who played in 28 games last season.

Korfman, according to Douglass, probably will be the starter after solid outings in both exhibitions. Parada, who is more mobile than Korfman, could be a factor in the Big West after some seasoning.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

UC Irvine / Anteaters at a Glance

Date: Opponent, Time

Friday: HOWARD, 7

Tuesday: LOYOLA MARYMOUNT, 7

Nov. 29: SAN DIEGO, 7

Dec. 2: CALIFORNIA, 7:30

Dec. 13: UC SAN DIEGO, 7

Dec. 16: at UCLA, 7:30

Dec. 19: BELMONT, 7

Dec. 23: at UC Riverside, 7

Dec. 28: at Washington, 7

Jan. 3: at Saint Mary's, 8:15

Jan. 6: *at Pacific, 7:30

Jan. 11: *IDAHO, 7

Jan. 13: *UC SANTA BARBARA, 7

Jan. 18: *BOISE STATE, 7

Jan. 20: *at Cal State Fullerton, 7

Jan. 25: *at UC Santa Barbara, 5:30

Jan. 27: *at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 7

Jan. 31: *UTAH STATE, 7

Feb. 3: *at Long Beach State, 9

Feb. 8: *at Utah State, 6

Feb. 10: *at Boise State, 6:30

Feb. 15: *PACIFIC, 5:30

Feb. 17: *CAL POLY SAN LUIS OBISPO, 7

Feb. 22: *LONG BEACH STATE, 7

Feb. 24: UC RIVERSIDE, 7

March 1: *CAL STATE FULLERTON, 5:30

March 3: *at Idaho, 7

March 8-10: Big West tournament**

Home games in CAPS; all times Pacific; *--conference game; **--at Anaheim Convention Center, TBA

ROSTER

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 4 J.R. Christ C 6-9 245 Jr.

*--*

Anteaters' most experienced post player.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 5 Jerry Green G 6-3 190 Jr.

*--*

Explosive starter can be scoring machine.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 11 Malachi Edmond G 6-1 185 Sr.

*--*

Nagging groin injury hounds point guard.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 12 Stanislav Zuzak F 6-9 220 Fr.

*--*

Hip injury makes Czech an unknown factor.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 14 Julian Blake G 6-4 185 Fr.

*--*

Untested walk-on from Dorsey High.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 20 Mike Hood G 6-3 190 Jr.

*--*

Transfer has good shooting range.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 21 Albert Miller G 6-3 210 Jr.

*--*

Junior college transfer will come off bench.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 2 Aras Baskauskas G 6-3 185 Fr.

*--*

Redshirt freshman should play some.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 24 Sean Jackson G 6-5 210 Sr.

*--*

Mature starter third in scoring last season.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 40 Matt Okoro F 6-7 220 So.

*--*

Expected to redshirt.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 45 Ben Jones F 6-7 220 Sr.

*--*

Can score inside or outside.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 50 David Korfman G 7-2 285 Jr.

*--*

Junior college transfer plugs up the lane.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 55 Adam Parada C 7-0 240 Fr.

*--*

Mobile big man could be factor.

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