Full roster rundowns & analysis of each player Optimism surrounds men’s team entering new season
THE INDEPENDENT STUDENT PUBLICATION OF THE UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO, SINCE 1950
Women’s team heads into Year Two under Legette-Jack
BASKETBALL PREVIEW EDITION
Volume 63 No. 30
A NEW VISION BRIAN KESCHINGER, THE SPECTRUM
Some might say Bobby Hurley’s whole life has prepared him to be a basketball coach. Buffalo is about to find out if that’s true. By Jon Gagnon, Senior Sports Editor
obby Hurley was easy to pick out: He was always the smallest, always the youngest at the local basketball courts in Jersey City, N.J., where 25-30 guys lined up to play. The rules were simple: win, and stay on the court, lose, and move to the back of the line. Hurley didn’t like the back of the line. He stood a mere 5 feet tall in those days and his father, a basketball coach, recently referred to him as a “shrimp boat.” On the court, he made up for his size with intensity and grit. “People underestimated me because I didn’t look like much,” Hurley said. He knifed through the defense with his quickness – his defender wasn’t expecting to get beat – and dished to the open man with the efficiency of a young John Stockton, but with the creativity of a player who was bred on the playground. As the consummate underdog, those tools helped him stay on the court. The older guys all wanted to shoot, so he learned to pass. Playground pick-up games gave him vision and court awareness. “Winning was always the most important thing,” Hurley said. Through the first half of his life, that was all he did. He won four state titles at St. Anthony’s High School in New Jersey and was a McDonald’s High School All-American game co-MVP with Shaquille O’Neal. He won two national championships at Duke, was a first-team All-American and is the NCAA’s all-time assists leader. All the while – even at the height of his game – he always felt like an underdog, like he had to prove he was worthy every time he played. That may be the secret that Hurley – UB’s new men’s basketball coach – brings to Buffalo and what he hopes will define a team many have already pre-labeled a Mid-American Conference Championship contender. Hurley doesn’t like predictions like that. He’s also not one for excuses. In the winter of 1993, just two months into his NBA career, he was in a nearfatal car accident but refused to let it keep him off the court. Now he’s bringing that toughness to the sidelines, where he hopes to instill the hunger he never could contain as a player to his roster of 12 Bulls. “I really feel like [Hurley] has a lot of fire to him and inspires our guys to play hard and it keeps us together,” said Javon McCrea, a two-time firstteam All-MAC selection. This is not only Hurley’s first year at UB, but it’s his first year as a head
coach anywhere. He’s replacing 14year head coach Reggie Witherspoon, whose firing last year after a disappointing 14-20 season shocked the Buffalo community. ‘Spoon’ had turned a bleak Division I program into a MAC contender and led UB to four straight seasons with at least 18 wins. Western New York loved him. Fans and media were distraught at his dismissal. Freshman guard Shannon Evans, UB’s top recruit last season under Witherspoon, even decommitted. Athletic Director Danny White – who was roundly criticized in Buffalo media for the firing – shot back with the Hurley hire on March 26 and, suddenly, UB was making headlines in sports media powerhouses like ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Everyone was saying that a man who had learned from the best, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, would now run Buffalo basketball. Evans recommitted. In addition to McCrea, who may be among UB’s top athletes ever, Hurley has inherited a team with junior forward Will Regan, a preseason firstteam All-MAC East honoree, and senior point guard Jarod Oldham, who missed most of last season with a wrist injury. Hurley has already begun to shake up the strategy. He’s conditioning his players to play intense defense and push the ball up the court – something he excelled at in his time at Duke. During a scrimmage between the starters and reserves on Oct. 24, the starters jumped out to a 23-0 lead and Hurley credited the defense for the performance. “The starting group was dominant defensively and that led us to transition and got guys open shots,” Hurley said. “It was exciting because the guys have fun playing that way.” The players agree. “[Witherspoon] challenged us as a team but [Hurley] really knows where to push and individually challenge each person to get the most out of them,” Regan said. Hurley has implemented a new uptempo offense, one that may benefit McCrea and the other athletic swingmen on the Bulls. The catalyst is the defensive intensity. Missed shots and forced turnovers often result in a quick outlet pass and an attempt at a fast break. Regan enjoys the new offense and McCrea said he loves it. “If they play hard defensively, are disruptive and create turnovers, then they’re going to play the kind of style they want and have fun playing in the open court,” Hurley said. “We’re going to generate a lot of possessions.” SEE BOBBY HURLEY, PAGE 4
Bobby Hurley heads to the locker room after his Duke Blue Devils beat Indiana in the NCAA Tournament semifinals April 4, 1992. Hurley dropped 26 points, including six 3-pointers, to lead Duke into the championship against Michigan, which Duke won. Hurley was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.
assists in collegiate career – the most in NCAA history
times winning NCAA National Championship and being named All-American
wins as the University at Buffalo’s men’s basketball head coach
Monday, November 4, 2013
UB Students, Faculty, Staff and Proud Bulls Fans: In 1999, this University began a long journey to establish a national brand through competitive athletics at the highest level – NCAA Division IA, as so many of our peer AAU institutions across the country have enjoyed for decades. There have been peaks and valleys along the way, but we now find ourselves in our 15th year, and finally poised to realize this ambitious dream. For many years, student-athletes and coaches poured their blood, sweat, and tears to build the program where it is today. Now we need your help to take it to the next level! This Tuesday, November 5th our 6-2, bowl eligible football team will be taking on MAC opponent Ohio University under the lights at UB Stadium. Kickoff is at 8pm and is nationally televised on ESPN2. As one of only two college games on that night, our Bulls will have the attention of the entire nation as this broadcast will reach over 100 million households. On behalf of Coach Quinn and our student-athletes, I cannot stress enough how important your support is to our success. As the country tunes in to our game Tuesday night we want there to be a sea of blue and white in UB Stadium. Please help us represent our great university across America as we work together to build a “12th man” competitive advantage for our team. The last time our Bulls won six consecutive games was 1959 and this is only the second time in our FBS history that we are bowl eligible. These stats should excite the entire UB family and get everyone rallying behind Coach Quinn and his student-athletes for their last campus home game of the season. For our seniors, this will be their last time playing in UB stadium, and what better way to send them off than with a sold-out crowd? For your enjoyment, we will be featuring another exciting program at Stampede Square as we close out our tailgate concert series with local band Strictly Hip taking the stage at 6pm. To be sure, it is an exciting time for UB Athletics, as it is for our entire University as we “realize UB 2020” together. UB Athletics can become a very powerful marketing arm to help “tell the story” of all the great things happening at this worldclass institution. Together, we can build America’s next “big-time” college athletics brand! Hope to see you in blue Tuesday night - Be proud! Be loud! Go Bulls! Danny White Director of Athletics
Monday, November 4, 2013 ubspectrum.com
EDITORIAL BOARD EDITOR IN CHIEF Aaron Mansfield MANAGING EDITORS Lisa Khoury Sara DiNatale OPINION EDITOR Eric Cortellessa NEWS EDITORS Sam Fernando, Senior Joe Konze Jr. Amanda Low, Asst. LIFE EDITORS Keren Baruch, Senior Sharon Kahn, Senior Alyssa McClure, Asst. ARTS EDITORS Max Crinnin, Senior Rachel Kramer, Asst. Felicia Hunt, Asst. SPORTS EDITORS Jon Gagnon, Senior Ben Tarhan, Senior Owen O’Brien PHOTO EDITORS Aline Kobayashi, Senior Juan David Pinzon, Asst. Daniele Gershon, Asst. CARTOONIST Jeanette Chwan CREATIVE DIRECTORS Brian Keschinger Haider Alidina, Asst. PROFESSIONAL STAFF OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Helene Polley ADVERTISING MANAGER Emma Callinan Drew Gaczewski, Asst. Chris Mirandi, Asst. ADVERTISING DESIGNER Haley Sunkes Ashlee Foster, Asst. Tyler Harder, Asst.
November 4, 2013 Volume 63 Number 30 Circulation 7,000 The views expressed – both written and graphic – in the Feedback, Opinion, and Perspectives sections of The Spectrum do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board. Submit contributions for these pages to The Spectrum office at Suite 132 Student Union or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Spectrum reserves the right to edit these pieces for style and length. If a letter is not meant for publication please mark it as such. All submissions must include the author’s name, daytime phone number, and email address. The Spectrum is provided free in part by the Undergraduate Mandatory Activity Fee. The Spectrum is represented for national advertising by MediaMate. For information on adverstising with The Spectrum visit www.ubspectrum.com/advertising or call us directly at (716) 645-2452.
As the men’s and women’s basketball teams prepare for their 2013-14 campaigns to get underway, The Spectrum’s sports staff gives its prediction for each team’s record, breakout player and Mid-American Conference Tournament finish.
Men’s basketball predictions Record: 18-11, 11-7 MAC The arrival of Bobby Hurley has led to some of the biggest expectations in Buffalo men’s basketball history. His presence along with big men Javon McCrea and Will Regan and emerging guard play make 2013-14 look to be ‘the year.’ We predict the Bulls to have a strong start to the season and enter conference play 7-4. The other teams in the Big 4 (Canisius, St. Bonaventure and Niagara, with the potential exception of Canisius) appear to be weaker than in previous seasons, which favors Buffalo. Once conference play begins, Buffalo’s first half of the schedule is much lighter than it has been in recent years. The Bulls’ strong start will lead to an 11-7 finish and a second-place finish in the MAC East. Breakout player Senior guard Josh Freelove transferred to Buffalo shortly after Hurley signed at UB. Freelove led Alabama State with 13.3 points per game and 44 threepoint goals last year and he is eligible to play immediately. The athletic swingman should thrive in Hurley’s fast-paced offense and can play a multitude of different positions. “He’s got a point guard’s handle and he can break the defense down and make plays,” Hurley said. “I think he’ll complement what we do on the inside, because he can really score on the perimeter. It’s nice to have that luxury of a veteran player that’s been a double-figure scorer and been real productive and had him to the mix on the perimeter.”
MAC Tournament finish Realistically, this is the only part of the season that matters this year. Regardless of how many games the Bulls win, an early exit from the MAC Tournament means a failure of a year. We predict the Bulls will make a deep run but ultimately fall short in the championship game.
Women’s basketball predictions Record: 17-12, 10-8 MAC After one of the most successful opening seasons for a new coach in program history, the Bulls’ expectations for 201314 have increased immensely. The team’s 12-20 (9-9 MAC) record and upset victory over Miami Ohio was a shock to the local basketball community. This year, the team won’t get off to an abysmal 1-9 start, but should see steady success throughout the season.
Chad Cooper, The Spectrum
Fans can expect senior guard Josh Freelove (shown dunking at Bulls Madness), who transferred from Alabama State, to break out for the Bulls this year.
Breakout player Junior forward Kristen Sharkey saved her best performance for last in her sophomore campaign. Sharkey totaled a career-high 26 points and seven rebounds in Buffalo’s 83-79 loss to Akron in the MAC quarterfinals. In the team’s second exhibition this season, she recorded 22 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes. Expect to see a lot of Sharkey dominating inside the paint and emerging as a top post threat in the conference ranks.
Spectrum File Photo
Last season, junior forward Kristen Sharkey averaged 8.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
MAC Tournament finish A deep postseason run is no longer a shock for the Bulls. It’s an expectation. After losing only one senior from last season, Buffalo has the experience to not only compete, but win its first championship in program history. We predict the Bulls will make the next step but fall shy of a championship. Buffalo should survive an extra night in Cleveland for the MAC Tournament, but we predict the squad will lose in the semifinals. email: email@example.com
The Transformation Despite coaching Women’s basketball team’s success will ride on Legette-Jack
The Spectrum offices are located in 132 Student Union, UB North Campus, Buffalo, NY 14260-2100
Women’s basketball head coach Felisha Legette-Jack grabbed the microphone and spoke about the “transformation” of UB basketball after she was introduced at the Bulls’ preseason pep rally last week. And she was 100 percent correct. Neither the men’s nor women’s program is where it was 12 months ago. They are far better (we think). The women’s squad lost its season-opening exhibition by 10 points last year. This season, the Bulls won by 44 points. All signs point toward success, but much of this will be dictated by Legette-Jack. A .500 Mid-American Conference record last season was cause for celebration. The same finish won’t result in similar jubilation in 2013-14. The Bulls should be among the best in the league all season and in the running for a MAC Championship in March.
Buffalo opened 1-9 last year. Its lone win was by two points and the first six losses were by double digits. It wasn’t shocking – with a young squad and a new coach still learning her players – but 1-9 is almost as bad as it gets. The Bulls recovered, however, and finished the season four points away from a MAC Tournament semifinals appearance. This year’s team has the talent at all ages and positions. It has upperclassmen, with seniors Margeaux Gupilan and Cherridy Thornton, and juniors Kristen Sharkey, Sloane Walton and Christa Baccas. Sophomores Mackenzie Loesing and Rachael Gregory are arguably the two best players on the team and freshman forward Alexus Malone has impressed Legette-Jack enough to earn a start in the team’s two exhibitions. Legette-Jack has told me this team can go “14 deep” and every player can contribute on the floor. In theory, this sounds great, but it could also lead to problems. As head coach, it is her responsibility to make sure the right players are in at the right moments. At the same time, every player on the team must accept her role. SEE TRANSFORM, PAGE 11
inexperience, fans should expect a title Men’s basketball team should finish atop the MAC this season
AARON MANSFIELD Editor in Chief
It has been nearly eight months since several coworkers and I were driving back to Buffalo from the Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland and one blurted out, “Oh my God. Reggie Witherspoon has been fired.” We couldn’t believe it. Sure, the men’s basketball team finished 14-20 last season, but it was riddled with unfortunate circumstances – rebuilding after graduating the most successful group of seniors in program history, losing its point guard for the season in early December (and replacing him with a true freshman), nursing its second-leading scorer back into basketball form after he had sat out a whole year due to transfer rules.
And still, after all that, the Bulls contended in the MAC Tournament. It seemed to be one of Witherspoon’s finest coaching jobs. But first-year Athletic Director Danny White was not content with a season of mediocrity – no matter the circumstances – and fired Witherspoon, promising to conduct an expansive national search to find his replacement. Two weeks later, he hired Bobby Hurley. The timing made it clear White knew who he wanted to lead this program, and he planned to go get his guy to lead the #NYBI movement for men’s basketball and make UB hoops a national presence. And that’s where we are now: Hurley is the men’s basketball team’s head coach, and the new season is upon us. We are four days from the season tipping off at Texas A&M. Regardless of how you feel about Witherspoon’s firing, there’s nothing anyone can change about it. What’s done is done, and the beloved local figure isn’t coming back to coach this team. What’s important is what happens next. SEE CHAMPIONSHIP, PAGE 11
Monday, November 4, 2013
Continued from page 1: Bobby Hurley Despite the expectations and the exciting new style of play, Hurley knows there is more to winning than a roster that appears glamorous on paper. “People assume that because there are a few players that have accomplished a lot that that means that we’re going to win,” Hurley said. “That’s not how it works and it didn’t work that way last year for the team.” If there’s a man who knows how to win, it’s Hurley.
urley’s first basketball memory is as a 5-year-old, attending a practice of his father’s – Bob Hurley Sr. – high school basketball team. But Bob Sr. said Hurley’s first time around a basketball was much earlier. “His first trip to the gym, he was one and a half [years old],” Bob Sr. said. Sr. has been coaching for 41 years at St. Anthony’s High School in New Jersey. He has won 29 state titles, has been USA Today’s National Coach of the Year three times and, in 2011, became the 10th coach ever to win 1,000 high school games. Bob Sr. was a perfectionist who demanded excellence, which he often got. Hurley was constantly around his father’s team and remembers watching him coach. Every time the team got a breather, Hurley would grab a ball, dribble around the court and shoot. Later, he became the team’s water boy and kept stats during the games. When Hurley was a freshman at St. Anthony’s, he moved up to varsity midway through the team’s statetitle season and came off the bench. At 5-foot-4, he was still the smallest. “The sport clearly favors the bigger guys,” Bob Sr. said. “The bigger guys almost have to disprove that they can play, where the smaller guys have to confirm they can play.” Bob Sr.’s lessons stayed with Hurley, and he began demanding excellence of himself. “I was never satisfied with anything I did and I had a real drive when I played,” Hurley said. By the end of his sophomore year, Hurley had grown eight inches. In his final three seasons as the starting point guard, he led the school to three straight titles, its first-ever national championship and a 91-2 record.
Hurley had overcome his own expectations for his high school career but remained motivated to keep getting better Bob Sr. had demanded excellence, and Hurley obliged.
uke basketball has a stigma. Coach K is a military man and that’s how he runs his basketball team. Most of his players are clean-cut, wellbehaved, active students from privileged backgrounds. When Hurley arrived on campus, he was slightly different. “I had a bit of an edginess to me and I played in a lot of difficult places, playgrounds and tournaments,” Hurley said of his days in Jersey City. The neighborhood he grew up in was just five minutes from the inner city, which, like most major cities, was riddled with poverty, crime, drugs and violence. But basketball and his family kept him focused. Bob Sr. doubled as a probation officer when he wasn’t winning state titles, and Hurley’s mother, Chris Hurley, was a teacher’s assistant. “My family was really strong,” Hurley said. “Having those people expecting stuff from you kept me on the right path.” Hurley took his edginess with him to Duke. A quick YouTube search brings up highlights, one labeled “Best Duke PG Ever!” It shows Hurley weaving through the lane and finding the open man for an easy dunk, or crossing over his defender and knocking down a jumper from the elbow. What the clips don’t show is the street-court mentality Hurley couldn’t contain. In college, he became notorious for yelling at referees. In 1991, The Baltimore Sun included an anecdote in a story about Duke’s national championship, saying, earlier in the year, the coaching staff put together a video to show Hurley’s ‘tantrums’ on the court and how they affected the team. “I played with a lot of fire, and at times it was divisive and in a negative way,” Hurley admitted. Such irreverence shook up Duke’s more buttoned-up basketball style. Hurley’s character was unfamiliar to Duke basketball, a program that, at the time, was thought to lack toughness. This was before Duke’s glory days and before Coach K was considered to be the greatest coach of all time – Duke had been to the Fi-
Chad Cooper, The Spectrum
Bobby Hurley addresses the UB community at Bulls Madness, the basketball program’s preseason pep rally, Oct. 25.
nal Four seven times before Hurley arrived but failed to win one national championship. Opponents’ players and fans despised Hurley for his on-court antics – and because he often won. The Cameron Crazies (Duke’s student section at the Cameron Indoor Stadium) loved him for the passion and pride with which he played. “I think I was identifiable to the people,” Hurley said. “It meant a lot just in terms of people seeing me, regular size, regular athlete – nothing extraordinary.” Eventually, Hurley contained his combative playground persona and learned to control his emotions. But he never surrendered his toughness – Coach K didn’t want that. In 1991, his sophomore year, Hurley helped bring Duke its first national title. The team won it again in 1992. Forward Christian Laettner was the National Player of the Year, Grant Hill was a future NBA AllStar – Hurley was crowned the tournament’s most outstanding player. “I think it’s simple: If he was playing against your team, you didn’t like him,” Bob Sr. said. “But people around Duke really cherished the time he was there because he brought championships and it kind of opened up the door to what Duke became.”
n his office on the top floor of Alumni Arena, Hurley spoke in a flat, monotonous tone. Who could blame him? He has done these interviews before and answered the same questions countless times. In the same tone with which he described how he felt winning national championships, Hurley talked about another rare experience – scrimmaging the Dream Team. “I had such a fear factor. As good as I thought I was playing coming into it, I just thought they were too good for me to even stay on the floor with,” Hurley said. The fear was justified. The Dream Team consisted of some of the most legendary players in NBA history: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, to name a few. The Team was assembled in September 1991 and it first met together for a series of scrimmages in June 1992 before traveling to Barcelona for the Games. Hurley was on a team of NCAA all-stars that was the Dream Team’s first-ever competition. Led by Hurley at the point, the NCAA all-stars won the first scrimmage 62-54. In his book about the Dream Team, Jack McCallum, a former Sports Illustrated writer, wrote:
“Hurley was the key. He was an unusual player, a pallid six-footer with no discernible athleticism … There was a lot of street in Hurley. What he had was the best point-guard quality, albeit an ineffable one: he could go where he wanted to go. And where he wanted to go was right by Magic Johnson, who guarded him much of the time.” Hurley goes back and forth in his mind debating what was greater: winning the championships at Duke or having the opportunity to play against the best players in the world. “[The time around the scrimmage] stands out because it reminds me of being at my best in the game of basketball,” Hurley said.
urley came back to consciousness the morning of Dec. 13, 1993, clinging to his life. The night before, his Toyota 4Runner was broadsided by a Buick station wagon traveling at about 55 mph without its headlights on. Hurley was thrown from his vehicle into a ditch, where he lay face down in the water. “I was blindsided and hit and I don’t really remember a lot of details after that,” Hurley said. He suffered two collapsed lungs, five broken ribs, a shattered left shoulder blade, a torn ACL in his right knee, a broken right fibula and
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Monday, November 4, 2013 a myriad of bruises and sprains. “There’s no preparation in dealing with those types of life-altering situations,” Hurley said. “It was a tough fight I was in, initially for my life, and then it became more about reestablishing my career.” The night of the accident, he had struggled on the court, as did the Sacramento Kings, who had drafted him No. 7 overall in June of the ’93 NBA Draft. The Kings had lost 112-102, their 11th loss in 13 games. Hurley wasn’t used to losing. If you’re judging by points scored, it was the worst game of his 19-game NBA career. He dished out seven assists but failed to score a point for the first time all season. Hurley started every one of those 19 games at point guard for the Kings. He averaged 7.1 points and 6.1 assists but made just 2 of 16 3-pointers. “I was struggling shooting the ball, but statistically it wasn’t awful,” Hurley said. That was all before the accident. Now, after all the injuries, he had to resurrect a career that had yet to click on all cylinders in the first place. Throughout the recovery process, Hurley had his doubts. There were times when he wondered if he would ever feel normal again. “That frustration when you don’t feel like you’ll go back to what you were was real tough,” Hurley said. Some days, he spent seven to eight hours in physical therapy and training to rebuild his body. On Nov. 4, 1994, he returned for the Kings’ season opener – a miraculously quick recovery. The Kings defeated the Phoenix Suns 107-89, and Hurley came off the bench to score 11 points and dime out five assists. “Everything had to work out perfect for me to get there and I didn’t have any major setbacks throughout recovery. But I wouldn’t recommend anyone try that,” Hurley said, laughing, as he discussed his speedy comeback. He played in 222 games for the Kings over the next four years before being traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies in February 1998. April 19 of that year was the last time he donned an NBA jersey. The NBA had a lockout the following year and the Grizzlies waived Hurley before the season finally started in January. He sat out the remaining four months of the shortened season and planned to play in Spain in the fall. In a summer league game in the states, three weeks be-
fore heading to Spain, he re-tore the same ACL he had injured in the car accident. “I’ll always have to live with some disappointment with how my pro career ended,” Hurley said. He retired after just five years in the NBA. The most points he ever scored in a game was 17 and he had finished with a career average of 3.8 points and 3.3 assists per game. Still, he refuses to place any blame on the accident. “I don’t like to put the blame on the accident. I still should have overcome enough, and I had enough ability in me to have a better career than what I had,” Hurley said. Bob Sr. said Hurley was lucky to survive but didn’t hesitate to claim the accident had a direct effect on Hurley’s pro days. “There’s no question that if that stuff hadn’t happened to him, he would have had an entirely different career,” Bob Sr. said. “The physical limitations that were put on him after that happened kept him from being the player he ever could have been.” Hurley’s disappointment and frustration built. It was time to take a break from basketball.
ongandaprayer’s pace is blistering!” said NBC’s horse-racing broadcaster Tom Durkin, as the colt Songandaprayer made record time through the first half-mile at the 2001 Kentucky Derby. Owner Bobby Hurley – who’d been in the horse business just one year – craned to see if his horse would win the most prestigious race in the sport. His heart raced like it did when he was on the courts. “It was a competitive business, and for a guy that was retired and ultra competitive, it was a way to stay in sports and compete,” Hurley said. Hurley purchased the horse for $1 million in 2000. The thoroughbred business gave him flexibility – he had just retired from the NBA and he wanted time with his wife, Leslie, and their family. Hurley has two daughters, Cameron, 17, and Sydney, 15, and a son, Bobby, 11. Sydney plays soccer and Bobby loves basketball – they have both taken after their father’s athletic roots. Three months before the Derby, Hurley experienced realized horseracing was as fast-paced and volatile as basketball – perhaps more so. He was not only a new
Spectrum File Photo
UB Athletic Director Danny White (right) introduced Hurley as the new men's basketball head coach March 26.
owner and not a born horseman, but Songandaprayer was an 18-to1 long shot when he entered the Fountain of Youth Stakes – a prep race for the Kentucky Derby. He won. Hurley calls the moment “one of my best experiences from a non-basketball standpoint in sports.” The Derby didn’t go as well. Songandaprayer led 3/4 of the race, but finished 13th. Hurley enjoyed horses, but he couldn’t shake what he refers to as the “itch.” He scouted for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2003 and volunteered at Florida youth basketball camps, but it wasn’t enough. In April 2010, he became an assistant coach at Wagner College under his brother Dan, who was in his first season as the men’s basketball head coach. “[It was] the greatest way I could enter college coaching,” Hurley said of the experience coaching with his brother every day. The brothers led Wagner to a 25-5 record in their second season and were hired at Rhode Island in 2012. “Work didn’t always feel like work,” Hurley said. But it was work. And it’s where Hurley learned how to run a Division I college basketball program. “I learned so much from him and how to run a program and the intensity of how you need to go about your players and practice,” Hurley said.
But the desired career path of an assistant coach is inevitable – each wants to be a head coach, Hurley said. A few months after his first season at Rhode Island, Hurley got his chance.
t all happened within two or three days. Danny White called Hurley and both knew the chemistry was electric. Hurley arrived in Buffalo a few days later. “Obviously [Witherspoon, the former UB head coach] was well liked, and that’s great. I would hope that I would have the same kind of impact on the community,” Hurley said. Hurley is now four days away from coaching his first game with the Bulls, and fans and players are curious what the player who accrued such a storied career will bring to the sidelines. Will he be a disciplinarian like his father? Will he focus on a “clean program” like Coach K? Or will he bring a new edge to a program that needs to win, like his brother Dan did at Wagner? Perhaps the biggest question is: Can he teach stars like McCrea and Regan the pluck of the playground? Can he turn the Bulls into a team that dives for loose balls, attacks the basket and never stops hustling? That’s what Hurley made a career out of. And he expects the same of his players.
Two weeks ago at practice, a Bulls forward didn’t set hard enough screens and made excuses for his lackadaisical effort. Hurley told him to, “Get the f*** out.” “Things that infuriate me in practice are letdowns of weakness and non-hustle plays,” Hurley said. “I don’t get mad if they miss a good shot; I want them to be aggressive. I just don’t like passive errors.” Contradictory to his style of play, Hurley said we aren’t going to see him jumping up and down on the sidelines like a “madman.” But when the players need an extra charge during a timeout, he hopes to be a source of confidence for them. Hurley wants players with character that love basketball – he can relate to that. The Bulls may meet expectations this year and make a run at a MAC Championship. Even if they don’t, one thing is for sure: They’ll play hard defense, rebound and push the ball. They’ll be aggressive and passionate. Hurley wouldn’t accept anything less. email: email@example.com
Buffalo Police, Amherst Police and University Police are committed to maintaining the quality of life in our community. They will be strictly enforcing disorderly conduct, open container, underage drinking, DWI/DUI and other ordinances in the weeks ahead. Be aware! Students should also know that the University Heights area is considered a “target rich” environment for crime. Intoxicated people, people traveling alone or in pairs, carrying cell phones or laptops, outside of well lighted areas, or on campus and people using headphones are particularly viewed as prime targets (http://www.student-affairs.buffalo.edu/public-safety/). In the past week alone, there have been reports of knifings, armed assaults, burglaries and robbery in the neighborhood. Be aware. Consider crime, housing conditions, and community standards when making housing decisions. Please protect yourselves at all times, and when in the community, exhibit the same courtesy, respect and behavior that you would exhibit back home or on campus. And consider alcohol free programs on campus and elsewhere in the community. http://www. student-affairs.buffalo.edu/activities.
Off-Campus Student Services
As you may know, the University is facing increasing pressure from the University Heights community to end Stampede bus service that now runs between campuses 24 hours a day. Members of the community are expressing outrage over overcrowded parties, litter and disorderly behaviors exhibited by students in the neighborhood. While the Stampede serves an important function moving the campus community between campuses, the service may be in jeopardy because a small number of students are creating a significant nuisance for the community.
CAUTION CAUTION CAUTION
Monday, November 4, 2013
2013-2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Nov. 8 at Texas A&M
Nov. 13 at Niagara
Nov. 16 West Va. Wesleyan
Nov. 26 Robert Morris
Nov. 30 Delaware St.
Dec. 7 St. Bonaventure
Dec. 11 vs Canisius
Dec. 21 vs Manhattan
Dec. 23 Binghamton
Dec. 29 at Drexel
Jan.3 South Dakota St.
Jan. 8 Northern Illinois*
Jan. 11 Eastern Michigan*
Jan. 15 at Toledo*
Jan. 18 Kent State*
Jan. 23 at Ball State*
Jan. 25 at Northern Illinois*
Jan. 29 Western Michigan*
Feb. 2 at Bowling Green*
Feb. 5 Ball State*
Feb. 8 at C. Michigan*
Feb. 12 at Miami (OH)*
Feb. 15 Ohio*
Feb. 19 Akron*
Feb. 22 at Kent State*
Feb. 26 at Ohio*
March 1 Miami (OH)*
March 4 at Akron*
March 7/8 Bowling Green*
March 10-15 MAC Tournament
*Mid-American Conference Game
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Monday, November 4, 2013
2013-2014 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Nov. 8 at Binghamton
Nov. 13 at Youngstown St.
Nov. 16 Cornell
Nov. 20 at Duquesne
Nov. 27 Canisius
Dec. 1 at Pittsburgh
Dec. 4 St. Francis (PA)
Dec. 7 at Siena
Dec. 17 at St. Bonaventure
Dec. 21 at Niagara
Jan.1 Roberts Wesleyan
Jan. 4 at Bowling Green*
Jan. 7 at Western Michigan*
Jan. 12 Central Michigan*
Jan. 15 Toledo*
Jan. 23 at Northern Illinois*
Jan. 26 at Ball State*
Jan. 30 Miami (OH)*
Feb. 2 at Akron*
Feb. 9 at Central Michigan*
Feb. 15 Northern Illinois*
Feb. 19 at Kent State*
Feb. 22 Bowling Green*
March 1 at Miami (OH)*
March 5 Akron*
March 8 Kent State*
Jan. 18 Eastern Michigan*
Feb. 6 Ohio*
Feb. 27 at Ohio*
Oct. 29 vs Mansfield W 94-50 Nov. 2 vs Buff. State W 76-54
*Mid-American Conference Game
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Monday, November 4, 2013
ROSTER RUNDOWN Josh Freelove, senior, guard
2012-13 stats: 13.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.0 apg Freelove comes to the Bulls as a transfer from Alabama State for his final season of eligibility. He was the Hornets’ leading scorer last season. Freelove will likely be the Bulls’ only starter who did not start for the team last season. He also has a good outside shot – something the Bulls desperately needed last season. “[I will] be a veteran guy to come in and give scoring support to Javon, and be aggressive on defense and to bring some more guard pressure on offense and defense,” Freelove said.
Will Regan, junior, forward
2012-13 stats: 11.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 41.6% three-point Regan had his best game of the season in the MAC Tournament last year when he scored 36 points against Ball State. Last week, Regan was named to the first team All-MAC East division team. “I’m going to be a better rebounder and have a better presence in the post,” Regan said. Regan brings a shooter’s touch to the forward position and complements McCrea’s strong post presence.
Jarod Oldham, senior, guard
2012-13 stats: 10.1 ppg, 4.4 apg, 1.5 spg Oldham was the Bulls’ starting point guard last season before he broke his wrist 11 games into the year, which ended his season. “I’m a lot smarter than I was after playing three years and then having to sit out and watch the game from the sidelines,” Oldham said. “I feel like I learned a lot more. I’m definitely excited to be back out on the floor.” Hurley called Oldham the “best defender [he has] ever coached.”
Javon McCrea, senior, forward
2012-13 stats: 18.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.6 bpg McCrea has proven he is a legitimate scoring threat the past two seasons, but this year he is working harder on his leadership. “We got a lot of young guys,” McCrea said. “I’m trying to get them right so they’re good for the rest of their careers, too.” McCrea’s role this season will be different from in the past because of the change of pace on offense, but head coach Bobby Hurley hasn’t overlooked McCrea’s skill in the post and he will still be the Bulls’ main offensive threat.
Jarryn Skeete, sophomore, guard
2012-13 stats: 7.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.5 apg Skeete stepped in for Oldham in the middle of last season and the then-true freshman played better than many expected. This season, Oldham will be the leading point guard and Skeete will take on a more scoring-centric role. He doesn’t foresee any issues in playing with Oldham. “We have great chemistry, so we’re able to read each other without really looking at each other,” Skeete said.
Justin Moss, sophomore, forward
Moss, a JuCo transfer from Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, is a big man who will come off the bench to spell McCrea and Regan. He will be the first forward off the bench. Moss said his main role will be as a rebounder and a distraction to help open up opportunities for McCrea. In his final year at Indian Hills, Moss averaged 9.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 18 minutes per game.
Auraum Nuiriankh, senior, guard
2012-13 stats: 5.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 73.3% free throw Nuiriankh played a big role last season in former head coach Reggie Witherspoon’s offense but will likely see his playing time reduced this year. He will be one of the first players off the bench though, and the Bulls will need his shooting game to improve from last season.
Corey Raley-Ross, senior, guard
2012-13 stats: 9.6 mpg, 1.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg Raley-Ross had a limited role last season but looks to be a high-energy guy as the first guard off the bench. He is one of the most athletic players on the team, but he has struggled translating his athleticism to court performances in the past. Raley-Ross has looked strong in practice this preseason, and he will be a good option to complement Oldham, Freelove and Skeete.
Shannon Evans, freshman, guard
Evans was the Bulls’ most highly touted recruit this past offseason and gave fans a glimpse of how exciting he can be at Bulls Madness in October. In his final year of high school, Evans averaged 8.9 points, 3 steals and 4.5 assists per game. Evans could play his way into a position as a role player this year.
Xavier Ford, junior, forward
2012-13 stats: 3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 10.2 mpg Ford played limited minutes last year as a reserve forward off the bench. His role this season should be similar. The difference between this year and last is that Ford never fit into former head coach Reggie Witherspoon’s system. New coach Bobby Hurley has brought a faster-paced offense to the Bulls, which should fit Ford’s size and athleticism combination well. Look for Ford to be more successful at the new pace.
Deyshonee Much, freshman, guard
Much wowed fans at Bulls Madness with his spectacular 180 dunk. Much will see a limited role this season as he learns from the older players. Expect him to see more playing time as the season goes on. He has a smooth shot and the Bulls may need help on the perimeter. Last year, at Redemption Christian Academy (Massachusetts), Much averaged 19.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Much went to high school at Gates Chili (Rochester) before spending his last year at Redemption.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Mackenzie Loesing, sophomore, guard
2012-13 stats: 11.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.2 apg Loesing led the Bulls offensively and defensively with 11.6 points per game and 66 steals in her freshman campaign. She finished the season scoring at least 10 points in eight of the final nine games and was named to the MAC All-Freshman team and honorable mention All-MAC. “We ended on a pretty high note, I would say,” Loesing said. “I think our team got better progressively throughout the year and that just gives us confidence going into this year because we know we haven’t reached as good as we can be yet.”
Margeaux Gupilan, senior, point guard
2012-13 stats: 6.3 ppg, 4 apg, 1.4 spg Gupilan has more experience with Buffalo basketball than even head coach Felisha LegetteJack. In her final season as a Bull, she has fully accepted her leadership role on and off the court. “I’m more focused than I was last year,” Gupilan said. “I feel like I have to get everyone on the team on the same page. The young’ns have the ability to do what we need them to do, but they need someone to tell them what to do and that’s when I come in.” Gupilan led the Bulls with 131 assists and ranked third with 46 steals. While she was watching film in the offseason, Gupilan noticed she must improve her court vision as she missed some open opportunities last year. “I’m more hungry for the championship,” Gupilan said. “The feeling I left off with last year, I definitely don’t want to feel that again. We got a glimpse of greatness.”
Alexus Malone, freshman, forward
Malone was the only freshman to start in the team’s opening exhibition. She had nine points and six rebounds in 15 minutes. She described the practices as at a different intensity level from in high school with the need to bring high energy and constantly be communicating. “[I want to] improve better in the post area and on my outside game,” Malone said. “I want to try to become [MAC] rookie of the year.”
Kristen Sharkey, junior, forward
2012-13 stats: 8.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg Junior forward Kristen Sharkey emerged at the end of last season, highlighted by her career-best 26-point performance in the MAC quarterfinals in Buffalo’s near upset victory over Akron. That game has given her more confidence throughout the offseason as she continues to work toward opening day. “It just reassured me that I do have the ability to be a huge presence for this team and help us win,” Sharkey said. Sharkey wants to increase her paint presence and make opponents pay for sending her to the foul line. Her goal is to shoot 90 percent from the charity stripe and make it there at least six to 10 times a game.
Cherridy Thornton, senior, forward
2012-13 stats: 10.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.6 apg As a transfer, Thornton missed the first 10 games of the season due to NCAA rules. This offseason, she picked up her conditioning program and dropped 15 pounds. She says she feels stronger and more in shape than she did at this time last year. Her goal is to be named first-team All-MAC. Thornton was second on the Bulls in scoring with 10.8 points per game. “When the offseason came [last season], I wasn’t doing as much as I wanted to do because I knew I wasn’t playing [right away], but this offseason, it was strictly business,” Thornton said. “I knew as soon as the season started, I would be playing right away. I wouldn’t have to wait until 10 or 11 games.”
Karin Moss, sophomore, guard
2012-13 stats: 4.4 ppg, 1.2 apg, 1.3 spg Moss appeared in 31 of Buffalo’s 32 games last season, often providing an offensive spark from behind the arc. Moss shot 36 percent from long range last season and was third on the Bulls in total 3-pointers (32).
Sloane Walton, junior, guard
2012-13 stats: 5 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 14.5 mpg Walton appeared in every game for Buffalo last season, but her name was only introduced with the starting lineup twice. She wouldn’t have it any other way. “I feel like coming off the bench, I can be a spark for the team, help out our starters,” Walton said. “Say if one of our scorers come out, I can come right in and try to score for us.” Walton led the team in three-point goals (43) and percentage (36.1 percent) last season. Over 83 percent (119 of 142) of her shots were from behind the arc.
Rachael Gregory, sophomore, guard
2012-13 stats: 10.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, .9 spg Gregory was Buffalo’s leading scorer through 17 games (10.7 points per game) before suffering a season-ending ACL injury. She is still rehabbing her injury and hopes to return to the lineup this season.
Christa Baccas, junior, forward
2012-13 stats: 7.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.75 bpg Baccas’ name is near the top of almost every Buffalo stat category from last season. She ranked first on the team in minutes, field goal percentage, rebounding and blocks and was second in steals, third in assists and fifth in scoring. Baccas was an All-MAC honorable mention selection and recorded the second most blocks in a season in school history (88).
Joanna Smith, freshman, guard
Smith played 21 minutes in the Bulls’ exhibition victory over Mansfield and totaled eight points, three rebounds and two assists. She averaged 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals per game as a senior at Southaven High School in Mississippi.
Jenna Rickan, senior, guard
Rickan has 62 career games of Division I experience, but none are on the hardwood. Rickan made 43 starts over four seasons at Syrcause University on the soccer pitch. The Kenmore West native looks to add depth and make an immediate impact for the Bulls in her final year of eligibility.
Ayana Bradley, junior, guard
Bradley transferred to UB from Monroe Community College where she averaged 9.8 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. She will add depth to the Bulls’ roster as a guard who can also be a factor on the boards.
Camera Miley, freshman, guard
Miley is one of four incoming freshmen for the Bulls. The guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., averaged 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game as a senior at Midwood High School.
Nia Roberts, freshman, guard
Roberts, from Miami, Fla., joins the Bulls after being recruited by schools such as Florida A&M, South Florida, Norfolk State and Miami.
GRAPHIC BY BRIAN KESCHINGER & HAIDER ALIDINA
Monday, November 4, 2013
From free kicks to free throws Rickan makes transition from soccer to basketball cata. “I saw Jenna do things on the basketball court that would make you shake your head. NoWomen’s basketball senior body coaches that type of thing. guard Jenna Rickan makes sure It’s just natural ability.” But Rickan thought of soccer to control her feet when a basketball bounces toward her at as her first sport. She had grown practice. She does this not to put up in a soccer family and her faherself in good position to catch ther, Jeff, was a soccer player and the pass, but to fight the urge to coach. Licata begged her to play college basketball, but Rickan dekick the ball. That’s because she spent the cided to play soccer at Syracuse. Rickan was instrumental in impast four years playing Division I women’s soccer at Syracuse Uni- proving the Syracuse women’s soccer team. In her four years, versity. Rickan, a psychology gradu- the team improved its win total ate student at UB, is making the every season. She recorded six transition back to basketball af- goals and nine assists in her cater playing four seasons of soc- reer and served as team captain cer. After graduating and gaining her junior and senior years. “I came in my freshman year a fifth year of eligibility through an NCAA law, which allows ath- and we weren’t that good,” Rickletes who attend graduate school an said. “We were able to turn an extra year to play a different around the program in my time sport at a different school, Rick- there. I graduated with nine sean has an opportunity few stu- niors, so our class was really close dent-athletes have had: to play and wanted to change the protwo Division I sports in their col- gram and to know that Syracuse soccer was up amongst the top lege careers. Rickan is a Buffalo native who of Big East.” After her final season of socstarred in every sport she played at Kenmore West High School. cer ended, Rickan began playing She was a first-team All-West- on an intramural basketball team ern New York selection in soc- with some of her soccer teamcer, basketball and softball and is mates. Her teammates soon realized the all-time career scoring leader for the Kenmore West girls bas- she had the talent to play in more than just an intramural league. ketball team. “In the first game we played, “Jenna is probably one of those kids that comes along once I think everyone kind of had in 28 years,” said Kenmore West their jaw dropped,” said Skylar girls basketball coach Mike Li- Sabbag, who played soccer with Rickan at Syracuse. “As each game went on, we realized more and more how lethal she was on the court. It was amazing that she could be as good at soccer as she was at basketball.” Teammates like Sabbag encouraged Rickan to try and play college basketball in her last year of NCAA eligibility. Rickan would have to play at a school other Vietnamese & Chinese than Syracuse. She was already planning on atRestaurant tending graduate school closer to home. 3910 Maple Rd All the pieces came together for her to come Amherst, NY 14226 to UB. TEL: 716-831-3878 Rickan sent an email explaining her interest to 716-831-3879 the coaches at UB. And just two days after her Monday: Closed graduation from SyraTue- Thur: 11:30 am-10 pm cuse, Rickan was back Fri: 11:30 am- 11 ppm in Buffalo trying out Sat:12 pm -11 pm for the women’s basketball team in front of the Sun: 12 pm- 10 pm TOM DINKI
Nick Fischetti, The Spectrum
Jenna Rickan takes a jumper during the Bulls’ preseason exhibition against Mansfield University. Rickan, a psychology graduate student at UB, is making the transition back to basketball after playing four seasons of soccer at Syracuse University.
Bulls’ coaching staff. “Obviously it’s nerve-racking,” Rickan said. “I hadn’t played in forever. I came home and there were the five coaches and just me, and they put me through a workout [doing shooting and ball handling]. I kind of just went at it like, if God wanted to be here, I’ll be here.” Women’s basketball head coach Felisha Legette-Jack and her staff saw that Rickan’s skills had not diminished since high school.
“It’s like riding a bicycle,” Legette-Jack said. “You ride the bike but you stop for four years. You don’t lose all your skillset because you stopped riding that bicycle. She really still has that fire burner in her belly, so it was easy for that transition to take place.” Rickan’s outside shooting and passing abilities impressed Legette-Jack, but it was Rickan’s speed that made her stand out. Legette-Jack calls Rickan “the fastest thing on two legs.” She believes soccer helped Rickan improve her speed.
Rickan also thinks the skills she learned playing soccer will help her basketball game. Rickan played center forward for the Orange, and she thinks her responsibilities at the position – like communicating with and controlling the position of her teammates – will help her at guard for the Bulls. Rickan also excelled in the classroom at Syracuse. She was a member of the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and Big East All-Academic team. As a psych SEE RICKAN, PAGE 14
Monday, November 4, 2013
Continued from page 3: Transform
Continued from page 3: Championship The problem is Hurley has said several times this offseason that people need to lower their expectations for this season – that perhaps a MAC title is unrealistic. That would probably be fair to Hurley. He has never been a head coach before and has only three years of coaching experience, and now he’s inheriting a Division I program. Expecting him to cut down the nets in Cleveland his first year? That’s a lot to ask. But it’s right to expect it. There was a sense around the team – even Witherspoon had said it – that 2013-14 was the year. This is the year people have expected the team to finally win the title since senior forward Javon McCrea, one of the finest players in program history, arrived as a freshman in 2010. It was 2013-14 or bust, and it still is. It’s not fair to Hurley, sure, but that’s the predicament he walked into when he accepted the job. It’s the predicament White put him in. White has made some polarizing moves in the past – I’m just glad he can’t fire me – and he knows it’s his responsibility to account for them. That means, if the team was expected to win it all with Reggie Witherspoon as its head coach, it’s only fair to expect the same result from Bobby Hurley. The pieces are in place. McCrea, the former MAC Freshman of the Year, has finished first-team AllMAC the past two years and should contend for conference player of the year. He’s essentially a guaranteed 17 and 8 per game.
Jarod Oldham, the senior point guard who broke his wrist last year, is back. When he’s at his best, he’s a lockdown defender and the ultimate distributor – as we saw his sophomore year, when he started and led the conference in assists per game (5.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3). Will Regan, the former transfer from Virginia who got exponentially better as last season went along, dropped 36 on Ball State in the conference tournament. When the Big Fundamental gets hot from downtown, he’s virtually unstoppable. And when he and McCrea complement each other in the post, they form easily the most feared post tandem in the MAC. I could delve into some of the other crucial parts – Jarryn Skeete, Josh Freelove, Justin Moss, Shannon Evans – but the point is, this team is loaded with talent. People shouldn’t have to damper their expectations because of the coaching. Danny White’s decision insinuated that he believes Bobby Hurley gives the Bulls a better chance to win than Reggie Witherspoon. People expected this to be the year under ’Spoon – anything less than a title would be a failure. That means, fair to Hurley or not, they should expect the same from him. This is still the year. Anything less than a MAC title will be a failure.
With that said, it’s often easier to have 7-8 players who separate themselves from the team, making managing the rotation a simpler task. Right now, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Loesing was a preseason All-MAC selection and should be a 30-minute-anight player. The questions lie among the rest of the team. If a shooter has an off night, does Legette-Jack keep her in the game, or sit her because she believes the next girl off the bench can do better? Then, how does that player react to the benching? How does a particular lineup gain chemistry? The Bulls will start the season without Gregory, who is recovering from an ACL injury. When she returns, it will be interesting to see how Legette-Jack uses her. Last season, Gregory proved she has a ton of talent and plays with an incredible motor, but if the team’s winning, there’s always the possibility of this change disturbing some ‘mojo.’ Legette-Jack looks at herself as a mother to her players. She often has them over to her home and they watch movies, read books or discuss personal problems. If anyone can handle balancing the egos of the players, I believe it is Legette-Jack. But we won’t know for sure until that moment comes. And it will come. The Bulls are predicted to come in third place in the MAC East, as vot-
ed by the league. A third-place finish is strong, but the team’s hopes are higher. Buffalo had its share of troubles last season, but the Bulls weren’t competing for a championship. They were always building toward something bigger. Well, that something-bigger day is here. By no means is this Buffalo’s last opportunity to compete for a championship, but it is its first chance in a very long time. Some teams and coaches love the new pressure. Others fade. How will this team handle the expectations? It all stems from Legette-Jack. She is the most important part. She shows her team Remember the Titans before every season. She loves the messages in there for her team. The movie is about a team coming together as one, not just the players, but the coaches, as well. Coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) and coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) do a tremendous job of helping the players come together. The Titans transformed into champions. This Bulls team has the potential to do the same, but just like in the film, it will start with the coaching. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Monday, November 4, 2013
Optimism surrounds team in first year of Hurley Era Mix of old, new faces lead Bulls into fresh season BEN TARHAN
Senior Sports Editor
Spectrum File Photo Senior forward Javon McCrea led the Bulls with 18 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last season. The team looks to improve on its 14-20 2012-13 season in Bobby Hurley’s first season as head coach.
Expectations around Alumni Arena are high for the men’s basketball team this season for a few reasons. Senior forward Javon McCrea is returning for his final season. After being named to the All-Mid-American Conference first team in backto-back seasons, he has one last year to break through and win the program’s first postseason MAC Championship. Then there is the return of standout senior guard Jarod Oldham, who played in only 11 games last year before suffering a seasonending wrist injury. And don’t forget the emergence of many new, highpotential players, both freshmen and transfers. But new head coach Bobby Hurley is the reason for most of the buzz around Alumni Arena. Hurley – a two-time All-American and national champion at Duke in the ’90s – was hired by Athletic Director Danny White in March shortly after White fired 14-year head coach Reggie Witherspoon. Hurley is now leading a team that already had aspirations for a MAC title this season, and his addition only raises the bar. The new coach brings a totally new style of play to the Bulls – they will play at a faster tempo than the past. The team has proved to be committed to the new style. “I think the commitment has been great,” Hurley said. “For me, they have been a pleasure to work with. The guys have great work ethic, good talent level. It’s a nice blend of good inside players, good perimeter players. It’s exciting to coach these guys every day.” The Bulls have a plethora of proven point scorers on the floor in McCrea, Oldham, junior forward Will Regan, sophomore guard Jarryn Skeete and senior guard Josh Freelove. Hurley foresees some grow-
ing pains as the Bulls adjust to a new offense, but he thinks they will be a tough team to defend. “I know that we are going to be difficult to guard because I think we are going to put a number of players on the floor that can score, that can create their own shot, that are legitimate threats,” Hurley said. “And then we have an all-conference player in Javon that is patrolling the lane and we got pretty good depth. I feel pretty good about a lot of what I am seeing right now.” Hurley has been particularly impressed with the leadership from McCrea, Oldham and Regan. He said each player brings something different to the team and they have helped smoothen the transition to Hurley’s system. “Our team is very talented,” said senior guard Corey Raley-Ross, who will compete for time at small forward. “Unlike our teams before, we’re more together, so I feel like if anybody can bring us down, it’s us.” Raley-Ross credits the team’s unity to the number of older players on the squad who have stepped into leadership roles and emphasized the importance of working together. Expectations are high among the players, as well. They believe they have the talent level and unity to make a run in the MAC and NCAA tournaments. “I think with coach Hurley here bringing his livelihood and his passion to the game, I think we have a good chance to win the MAC this year,” Freelove said. The Bulls will start their season at Texas A&M this Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. The team’s first home game of the year is scheduled for Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. against Division II opponent West Virginia Wesleyan. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Monday, November 4, 2013
For Gregory, a new knee, a new perspective Sophomore guard/forward gains perspective from season-ending injury JEFF PLACITO
Before most students are awake, Rachael Gregory is working out and putting up shots to improve her basketball game. Unlike the rest of her teammates who start their season on Friday, Gregory is working hard to play in December or January when the women’s basketball team is almost halfway through its season. Even after the Bulls won their first exhibition game, Gregory – a sophomore guard/forward on the women’s basketball team – was not celebrating with her teammates or going home to rest for her early workouts the next morning. She was at the freethrow line taking shots, trying to get better in any way possible. For the past seven months, Gregory has been rehabbing her knee after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), lateral meniscus and medial meniscus. Before Gregory suffered her injury last year, she led the Bulls in scoring as a freshman. She recorded double-digit scoring games 10 times in 17 games and ranked second in minutes. She said this has been the biggest challenge she has ever had to endure, but she believes she will come back an even better player. “You have to keep a positive attitude,” Gregory said. “When you first blow your knee out, it’s hard to stay positive, but I’ve grown so much from this experience on and off the court.” Gregory is used to leading her team on the court. She helped North Central High School win
the Indiana State Championship her senior year. “That was definitely one of the best feelings,” Gregory said. “It was nice to leave on top and know that there is no other game to play after that.” Her team was loaded with talented players that year, as some of her teammates went to highprofile universities like Purdue, Georgia Tech and Dayton. Gregory had only four points in the championship game, but her lack of scoring didn’t bother her. “It doesn’t matter how many points you get,” Gregory said. “The only thing that matters is if you win.” Gregory’s determination pushes her to compete at the highest level every night. She doesn’t let her individual goals deter her from the team’s goals. “It bothers a lot of coaches when you have to light a fire underneath a kid’s feet to motivate them,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “You don’t have that in her. She’s always ready to go.” Gregory is hungry to get better and to win – an attitude she has had her whole life, and it goes beyond just the hardwood. Gregory grew up in Indianapolis, Ind., where basketball is more than a sport – it’s a way of life. Indiana’s basketball-loving culture combined with Gregory’s work ethic to motivate her to excel on the court and in the classroom. Gregory wants to play professional basketball after she graduates from UB with a degree in communication. If she doesn’t make the pros, she wants to pursue a career in sports broadcast-
ing or sports management. Her love for the game runs too deep not to pursue basketball in the next stage of her life. Because of that love, she wakes up early every morning to put in the extra effort so she can come back this season – even if that means breaking down the parts of her game that need improvement. She takes criticism well – something other athletes can struggle with, especially those like Gregory who are so physically gifted. Gregory believes the injury has helped her mature in basketball and life. “Physically, it was hard at first because I had to basically relearn how to walk,” Gregory said. “You don’t really think about that stuff, so I’ve learned to trust my body more. Mentally, I’m just tougher. You can’t think about the injury or getting hurt again, so I think I’m stronger mentally.” Gregory was able to get advice from seven-time all-star and the 2011 WNBA Most Valuable Player Tamika Catchings. Gregory reached out to Catchings for advice on her injury. While at the University of Tennessee, Catchings tore her ACL. She shared her story with Gregory and told her to stay positive and learn as much as possible while recovering. Gregory’s rehabilitation has made her more compassionate toward people with disabilities. Her mother, Cheryl StrodeGregory, said her daughter would struggle with simple tasks like getting out of the car because of the injury. SEE GREGORY, PAGE 14
Aline Kobayashi, The Spectrum
Rachael Gregory can often be found at the foul line following Buffalo practices and games, as she is still rehabbing from the ACL injury that cut her freshman year short.
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Continued from page 10: Rickan grad student, she has faced new academic challenges, like balancing research projects and a heavier workload with practices. Rickan admits it’s been a bit of an adjustment transitioning back to basketball. Her arms and shoulders hurt after the first few practices because she isn’t used to using them. “Working hard is the only thing I’m worried about,” Rickan said. “I can miss a shot or do something wrong, but if you hustle back, that’s the most important thing. I’ve learned that at Syracuse and here that it doesn’t matter, everyone’s going to make mistakes, but it’s how you react after.” Rickan is happy to be back home in Buffalo with the support of her family. She enjoys coming home to her parents, Jeff and Michelle, and her two sisters after practice. She said it’s been great to get back to doing even the simplest activities with her family, like cooking and watching football. It is not just Rickan’s athletic ability that impresses people; it’s also her qualities as a person. Her former teammates and coaches call Rickan positive and humble. Licata said Rickan made friends with every player on her high school basketball team and took the time to coach and counsel each teammate individually. Legette-Jack now sees Rickan as a leader for the Bulls. She was impressed that Rickan worked out on her own this summer because transfer rules prohibit-
ed her from practicing with the team. Legette-Jack hopes Rickan’s work ethic and four years of experience as a student-athlete can rub off on her teammates. Licata thinks Rickan will have as big an impact on the team through her leadership abilities as she will on the court. “I can guarantee that coach Legette-Jack – once they get into the season – will be equally, if not more, impressed with Jenna’s influence in that locker room than what she sees on the court,” Licata said. Rickan does not feel like she has to prove that she can transition back to basketball to anyone but herself. She believes the game is not enjoyable once you start playing for other people. Rickan’s goal is to help turn around the women’s basketball program like she did the Syracuse women’s soccer team. “I really just want to enjoy this time with my teammates and just be able to try as hard as I can to make the program a little bit better in the one year I have,” Rickan said. “I know that UB Athletics is on the rise, so it’s pretty cool to be a part of it.” Rickan is focused on improving her game and having an impact for the Bulls on the court this season. But first, she will try and remember she is allowed to use her hands when a pass comes her way. email: email@example.com
Monday, November 4, 2013
Continued from page 13: Gregory Gregory continued to feel for the disabled even after she healed enough to walk. She became emotional when seeing others have difficulties doing everyday chores. Every time she sees someone struggling with simple tasks now, Gregory does her best to go out of her way to help. “I have two functioning arms and legs,” Gregory said. “I’m getting better but some people have to live with that the rest of their lives, so it’s just given me a greater understanding.” Since high school, the only speed Gregory has known is full speed. Whether playing basketball or competing for state titles as a sprinter, Gregory only wanted to go fast. “She’s 100 miles an hour,” Legette-Jack said. “She’s not the best at free throws because it’s too slow. She’s an active person and needs to be moving and I love that about her, but we have to slow her down.” Speed is something that can’t be taught, but Legette-Jack wants Gregory to be in control and have patience – not just on the basketball court, but also rehabbing her knee. If she tries to rush the process, her knee could become more damaged and her return could be further prolonged. Gregory’s patience has forced her to take the recovery process one step at a time. Legette-Jack knows how hard the process can be, as she suffered the same injury during her college years. “Sometimes injuries are a blessing, and for her I think it was,” Legette-Jack said. “I think with this surgery, she realized that she’ll continue to give it her
Aline Kobayashi, The Spectrum
Gregory led the Bulls with 10.7 points per game at the time of her injury last season.
best effort. But, at the end of the day, she’s just got to enjoy the journey.” Now that Gregory has had to slow down, Legette-Jack said she has “stopped to smell the roses.” From the bench, Gregory has gained a totally different view of the game. She is getting better at reading defenses and grasping where other players should be at different times. It has given her a new outlook on the basketball court and outside of Alumni Arena.
“I’ve learned just to be yourself and express who you are,” Gregory said. “You should be the individual who you want to be.” Gregory’s injury might have slowed her down for the moment, but it has also given her an advantage she never expected. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Crossword of the Day
HOROSCOPES Monday, November 4, 2013 FROM UNIVERSAL UCLICK
ACROSS 1 “Encore presentation” 6 Oven setting 10 Unsightly fruit? 14 Appearance, as in a mirror 15 Top service provider? 16 Welfare state? 17 Pot cleaner 19 Reclusive 20 “The Racer’s Edge” Indy sponsor 21 Sword material 22 Minuscule amounts 23 Classification system for blood 24 Foot twelfth 25 Tax return category 31 Breakdown of societal norms 32 Camel’s South American cousin 33 Poetic music genre 35 Tollbooth approach 36 One way to attain new heights 37 “Lucky Jim” author Kingsley 38 Snap, Crackle or Pop, e.g. 39 Historic city of Tuscany 40 Denizen of a certain sultanate 41 Storm striker 44 Colonel Mustard’s game
45 Inquire 46 Ceremonial Mass plate 48 Purple hue 51 Court evidence, sometimes 54 Mozart’s Trojan princess 55 It may need polishing 57 Place for a warp and a heddle 58 The golden calf, infamously 59 Light, semitransparent fabric 60 Headlight component 61 Infinitesimal 62 Vintage auto
DOWN 1 Makes free (of) 2 Discharge, as radiation 3 Hoarse voice quality 4 Disgusted reply 5 Times tosser 6 Infield post 7 Need a massage 8 Ship stabilizer 9 Make a mistake 10 Use a key on 11 Home heating and cooling option 12 “Havana” actress Olin 13 Roman mid-month
Edited by Timothy E. Parker November 4, 2013 HARDWARE STORE By Henry Quarters
18 What the winged woman is holding in the Emmy statuette 22 Foe of Pizarro 23 Peak of perfection 24 Poetic foot 25 Excluding nothing 26 Best-seller category 27 Television personality DeGeneres 28 Russian pancake 29 Physics Nobelist Sir C.V. ___ 30 Tarnish, as a reputation 31 Pub pintful 34 Tire letters 36 Mention in a footnote, say 37 Run ___ (lose self-control) 39 Give the cold shoulder to 40 “Watch closely, now ...” 42 Glistens 43 Wasn’t sturdy 46 Aspirin tablet 47 Tissue softener 48 Calf-length skirt 49 Soon, to Shelley 50 “The ___ Duckling” 51 Place for roasting 52 “Cleopatra” river
53 Author Haley 55 Working out just fine? 56 Definite denials
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) -- Take the time to look over your plans with care. A rehearsal of sorts, if you have the time for it, can serve you quite well. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) -You're likely to misunderstand what you are told, and that in turn will result in behavior that may not be appropriate. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) -A friend or teammate may have you believing that you have hurt him in some way, when in fact you've done nothing of the kind! AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) -- Take care that what you say is what you mean. Even the slightest misunderstanding can put you at a disadvantage.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) -- You will be waiting longer than expected for the opportunity to do what you know how to do so well. You'll shine when your turn comes. ARIES (March 21-April 19) -- You can do more than one thing at a time, but your preferred approach is to focus on one and then another in succession. TAURUS (April 20May 20) -- You can give a whole new meaning to "lending a helping hand," but take care you're not simply doing everything yourself. GEMINI (May 21-June 20) -- You won't be satisfied with sitting on the sidelines, but the opportunity to get on the field may have to be manufactured in some way.
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CANCER (June 21July 22) -- Don't be so eager to finish a project that you do not enjoy the final steps of the overall process. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) -- You may not be looking forward to doing what is required of you, but once you get it done, you can enjoy a great deal more personal freedom. VIRGO (Aug. 23Sept. 22) -- One or two false starts are to be expected, but once you hit your stride, you're likely to lead the pack from wire to wire. LIBRA (Sept. 23Oct. 22) -- You are likely to attract more than enough criticism for any one individual, but you have a way of reacting to it that wins you admiration.
Monday, November 4, 2013
LEARNING FROM THE PAST In Legette-Jack’s second season, Bulls look to build a winning identity
OWEN O’BRIEN Sports Editor
Nick Fischetti, The Spectrum
Junior guard Sloane Walton led her squad in three-point goals last season. The women’s basketball team will count on her reliable outside shooting again this year.
Women’s basketball head coach Felisha Legette-Jack didn’t want her team to forget about last season. After losing to Akron by 18 and 17 points in the regular season, the Bulls were just minutes away from upsetting the Zips in the MidAmerican Conference quarterfinals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Buffalo lost 83-79 and the Zips went on to play in the MAC championship game. This offseason, Legette-Jack posted Akron’s name all over the locker room to remind her team who ended their 2013 season. “They knew that we let that one get away from us,” LegetteJack said. “I thought that we walked into gyms and felt defeated before we even played them. That [game] kind of empowered us because we wished we had just one more.” The Bulls enter 2013-14 off an eight-win conference season – just the third time they have won at least eight conference games in the past 10 years. Last year’s success has brought increased expectations. Buffalo is predicted to come in third place in the MAC East, according to the MAC preseason polls.
Spectrum File Photo
Second-year head coach Felisha Legette-Jack has higher expectations for her team this year, after it finished 12-20 last season.
Nick Fischetti, The Spectrum
Sophomore guard Mackenzie Loesing was named the Preseason Big 4 Women’s Player of the Year after averaging 11.6 points per game her freshman campaign.
Legette-Jack started this season like she has at previous jobs at Indiana and Hofstra, with a team viewing of Remember the Titans. She believes the film portrays important messages – unity, intensity – to her team. The Bulls also chose an offseason book to read as a team. Junior forward Kristen Sharkey selected Toughness by former Duke player and current ESPN analysis Jay Bilas. The Bulls tried to understand what it was about Bilas’ career that made his teams successful. In Bilas’ senior year, he helped the Blue Devils to the 1986 national championship game. He was also an assistant coach at Duke for two of its national championships. In addition to the new expectations, this year is different for Buffalo because the players know exactly what to expect from Legette-Jack and she knows how to better reach her team. “Last year, we were just so forced into it like, ‘I’m your new coach, you have to take me and I’m all you have and you’re my new players and I have to take
The biggest factor this season could be the health of sophomore guard/forward Rachael Gregory, who was leading the Bulls with 10.7 points per game when she tore her ACL. Gregory suffered the injury 17 games into her freshman year and is still rehabbing. Last year, the Bulls lost their season-opening exhibition game, but this season they demolished Mansfield 94-50. Nine players scored for Buffalo and LegetteJack is still unsure how many players will be in the rotation because she believes her roster is deep with talent. She says all 14 players can contribute on the court. Last year’s 12-20 season, with a .500 conference record, was viewed as an incredible accomplishment. This season, the Bulls are eyeing a championship. Buffalo opens its season on the road to play Binghamton on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The Bulls’ home opener will take place Saturday, Nov. 16, against Cornell. Tip is set for 12:30 p.m.
you because you are all I have, so let’s figure this out,’” LegetteJack said. “It was kind of like who’s going to blink first.” Preseason All-MAC selection and preseason Big Four Player of the Year sophomore guard Mackenzie Loesing leads the Bulls. In 2012-13, Loesing was Buffalo’s leading scorer with 11.6 points per game and recorded the most steals on the team (66). Loesing and junior forward Christa Baccas earned honorable mention All-MAC honors last season. Senior forward Cherridy Thornton – who played only the final 22 games of last season due to transfer rules – continues to impress Legette-Jack at practice with her ability to score. She averaged 10.8 points last season. Senior point guard Margeaux Gupilan started 28 of 32 games and led the Bulls with 131 assists. Legette-Jack expects her to increase that number with a better understanding of the offense this season.
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