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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT

No One's Sorry Now

Rivalry Is Over for Logan and Satterfield, and so Is Cincinnati's Case of the What-Ifs

March 20, 2001|ROBYN NORWOOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Steve Logan was Cincinnati's point guard.

Then came Kenny Satterfield.

Logan was pushed aside.

"At the worst point, we hated each other on the basketball court," Satterfield said.

They are the one-two punch that will try to knock out top-seeded Stanford in a West Regional semifinal Thursday in Anaheim.

A season ago, they almost felt like throwing punches at each other.

"We're both so competitive," Satterfield said. "But as the season went on, and really at the beginning of this year, that's when we noticed that we don't need to be hating each other, we need to be working together in the backcourt."

Logan--transformed from point guard to shooting guard and then into the Conference USA player of the year--can smile now.

"Winning solves all," he said. "As long as you're winning, you're not really worried about who's bringing it up. We know we can both bring it up. But you've got to sacrifice some things to win. It doesn't matter, long as we get a 'W.' "

It was that second NCAA tournament 'W' Saturday that made people take notice.

A year after Kenyon Martin crumpled to the ground with a broken leg and No. 1 Cincinnati's chances of winning the national championship crumpled with him, the Bearcats are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996.

It's hard to keep from imagining what would happen if they could just get that team together and play last year's tournament again.

Cincinnati had Martin, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft; Pete Mickeal, a player who won everywhere he went; DerMarr Johnson, the freshman phenom who went No. 6 in the draft; and Satterfield, himself a freshman phenom last season.

It's over and done, the players who remain say. But they say it in a way that lets you know it took a long time to get here.

"The way I grew up, what happens, happens," said Logan, who left the team in San Diego to visit his ill grandmother in Cleveland, but will return today.

"Kenyon got hurt. . . . I never think about what could have happened."

Satterfield isn't always as successful.

"You think about it, but you try not to think about it," he said. "You can't really talk about what would have happened with him."

What has happened without him is just as remarkable, in its way.

Satterfield and Logan both considered leaving Cincinnati--Satterfield for the NBA and Logan for another school.

Coach Bob Huggins met with them, separately and together.

"I think they have enough faith and trust in me that I would not tell them something that wasn't true," Huggins said. "Satt wasn't ready, and it certainly wasn't in Lo's best interest."

Part of Logan's problem was with Huggins himself.

"It wasn't about Kenny. It was about me and Hugg's communication," Logan said. "We were going to have to either clear it up, or I was going to have to find a new school.

"It wasn't playing time; it was us not seeing eye to eye."

Now, as the only player who has been with Huggins three years, Logan plays intermediary.

"I help the younger guys because they don't really understand him," he said. "I had Kenyon and Pete telling me things. When he would holler at me, they would come snatch me up and tell me it's never personal with him.

"You think he doesn't like you or something. He's just trying to get the best out of you, you've got to understand."

Getting the best out of Logan meant helping him realize it was time to shed 25 extra pounds.

"It wasn't easy," Logan said. "I sacrificed, and I dedicated [myself] to being a player. That's what I wanted to be."

Even early this season, Logan was averaging fewer than 13 points a game--and with one-for-eight and three-for-12 nights too common, his shooting percentage stunk.

After a 47-44 loss to Marquette in January, he'd had enough.

"I started coming early to practice, staying late," he said. "My team needed me."

From that point on, Logan averaged 22 points, had three 30-point games, and raised his shooting percentage to 43%, 39% from three-point range.

Once top dogs, he and his Bearcat teammates will be underdogs against Stanford.

"You're a little cocky when you're No. 1," Logan said. "Everybody tends to be.

"They've got a little ego going for them, but we've got to come in and play our game."

They will do it partly for Martin, who never got to.

"He's real excited for us," Logan said. "He didn't want us to go out and let it slip away."

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