November 12, 1998
GREELEY, Colo. - The 1998-99 version of the University of Northern Colorado mens basketball team opens play this weekend at the Fort Lewis College Tournament in Durango. Friday (Nov. 13), the Bears face the tourney-host, while Saturday (Nov. 14), UNC is matched against Adams State. Fridays tipoff is slated for 7 pm, while Saturday is a 5 pm start. The Bears and head coach Ken Smith are coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent years. In 1997-98, the Bears posted a 16-11 record and a 9-9 mark in North Central Conference play. The fifth-place showing in the NCC was the best finish under Coach Smith and the 16-11 mark was the best record since 1988-89 when the Bears went 24-6.
UNC returns four of its five starters. However, the one loss is a big one -- first team all-NCC selection Antwine Williams, who averaged 21.9 points for the Bears last year and is currently in a Continental Basketball Association (CBA) camp. Coach Smith will look to the returning starters and a few key newcomers to fill the void left by Williams departure.
Leading the list of returnees are seniors Mickael Allen and David Britt. Allen, a 6-2, 170-pound small forward is the Bears top returning scorer as he averaged 11.0 points per contest in 97-98, while Britt (6-5, 210 pounds) led the team in rebounds a year ago with 8.5 per game. Also returning for the Bears are junior center Ryan Adle (6-7, 268) and junior point guard Carlos Martinez (5-8, 162). Adle averaged 10.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 27 games, while Martinez tallied 9.0 points and 3.7 assists per outing. Junior guards Sean Von Roenn (6-4, 175) and Dean Grable (6-0, 212) will also provide experience in the backcourt.
Of the newcomers, junior college transfer Pierre Elize looks to make the biggest immediate impact. A 6-2, 205 pounder, Elize looks to open the season as the starting shooting guard. Other newcomers that could see significant action are junior forward Kurt Hansen (6-8, 215), sophomore forward Mike Sehringer (6-7, 220) and freshman guard Kevin Knudsen (6-2, 175), who has been the biggest surprise of the preseason.
After opening the season at the Ft. Lewis Invite, the Bears travel to Colorado Mines next Tuesday (Nov. 17) before returning to Butler-Hancock Hall to open the 1998-99 home season Nov. 21 versus Ft. Lewis.
The Coach: UNC head coach Ken Smith enters his seventh season with the Bears. During his tenure, the 1976 graduate of San Diego has a record of 68-94 (.420). After assistant coaching stints at San Francisco, Montana State and Washington, Smith most recently served on the Oregon staff, where he helped recruit Terrell Brandon, a 1991 NBA lottery pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers. During his college playing days at San Diego, Smith played under Bernie Bickerstaff (head coach of the NBAs Washington Wizards).
The Series: Fridays contest will be the 15th meeting between Northern Colorado and Fort Lewis with the Bears having won the previous 14 contests dating back to the 1963-64 season. The 14 wins are the most against one opponent without a loss for the Bears. The teams last meeting was an 83-66 UNC win in the 1988-89 season. Saturdays game will mark the 69th time that UNC and Adams State have met. UNC has posted a 47-21 mark versus the Grizzlies, however Adams State was victorious in the last contest between the schools (91-89 in 1987-88).
Probable Starters: Listed below are the probable starters and key reserves for this weeks season opener:
Starters No. Pos. Name 1997-98 ppg 1997-98 rpg 25 F Mickael Allen (6-2, 170, Sr.) 11.0 5.7 31 F David Britt (6-5, 210, Sr.) 8.5 8.5 55 C Ryan Adle (6-7, 268, Jr.) 10.4 5.0 21 G Carlos Martinez (5-8, 162, Jr.) 9.0 2.5 24 G Pierre Elize (6-2, 205, Jr.) -- -- Key Reserves 20 G Sean Von Roenn (6-4, 175, Jr.) 3.9 0.7 44 G Dean Grable (6-0, 212, Jr.) 3.6 1.5 41 F Kurt Hansen (6-8, 215, Jr.) -- -- 45 F Mike Sehringer (6-7, 220, So.) -- -- 42 G Kevin Knudsen (6-2, 175, Fr.) -- --
For Openers: All-time, the Bears are 41-53 (.436) in season openers and have lost the three. Under Coach Smith, the Bears have posted a record of 2-4 in the first game of the season.
Blue & Gold Luncheon: Head coach Ken Smith, as well as all in-season coaches, will speak at the weekly Blue & Gold Luncheon. The luncheon, held every Monday at Old Chicago (2349 W. 29th Street), begins at noon.