SETTING THE SCENE
Date: February 18, 2012
Location: Jonesboro, Ark.
Tipoff: 7:05 p.m. (CST)
Arena: The Convocation Center
Arena Capacity: 10,038
TIPPING IT OFF
Arkansas State will host its final regular season home game of the 2011-12 campaign, when the Red Wolves host FIU on Saturday. Prior to game time the Red Wolves will recognize it’s graduating senior, Malcoln Kirkland in a special ceremony. Tip off against FIU is set for 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
FIU enters action on Saturday with a 7-18 overall record and own a 4-9 Sun Belt Conference record. FIU has dropped three straight against North Texas (61-68), Denver (63-77) and at Arkansas-Little Rock (64-78). The Golden Panthers have a 5-8 road record which includes a 4-3 Sun Belt Conference road record. Senior guard DeJuan Wright leads the Golden Panthers averaging 15.7 points per game while grabbing a team high 7.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Phil Taylor is second on the team averaging 13.8 points per game while leading the squad with 81 assists on the season. Senior guard Jeremy Allen is also averaging 13.8 points per game while leading the Golden Panthers with 67 steals. As a team, the Golden Panthers are averaging 62.2 points per game and giving up 66.3 to its opponents. They are rebounding 32.2 per game while surrendering 34.2 and shooting 41.2% from the floor rand 33.2% from three-point range. NBA hall or famer Isiah Thomas is in his third season as head coach at FIU
The Red Wolves own a 18-6 all-time series record over Florida International including a 9-1 record at the Convocation Center. The Golden Panthers picked up a 75-70 victory in the series in Miami last season.
SHOOTING LIGHTS OUT
ASU had its best shooting performance of the season Thursday night against Troy. The Red Wolves shot 56.4% from the floor (31-55) and were 52.4% from three-point range (11-21). Their field goal percentage was a season-best while their 11 made three-pointers tied their previous season-high. Trey Finn led all players and four Red Wolves in double-digits with 20 points, shooting 7-12 from the floor and 6-9 from three.
RED WOLVES IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
Entering this week’s action, A-State continues to be ranked in several NCAA statistical categories. Sophomore guard Ed Townsel is 27th in the nation in steals per game averaging 2.2. Junior guard Trey Finn is 185th averaging 1.5. Junior forward Brandon Peterson is now ranked 107th in the nation averaging 7.8 rebounds per game and as a team ASU is 18th in fewest fouls per game (15.5) and 61st in three-point field goal percentage (36.9).
With his first rebound of the game against ULM, junior forward Brandon Peterson became the 22nd player in Arkansas State history to record 500 career rebounds. Since then, Peterson has recorded 35 more rebounds and has moved into 18th place on the ASU career rebound list. John Belcher set the career mark for rebounds from 1968-72 when he amassed 1,166 rebounds for A-State.
Out of their 17 losses this season, seven of those games have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Of those seven, five of those games have been decided by five points or fewer and two have been in overtime.
STARTERS LEAD THE WAY
In the Red Wolves 28 previous outings this season, an ASU starter has led the Red Wolves in scoring in each of those contests. Hooten has led ASU a team-high eight times on the season, followed by Kirkland who has led ASU seven times, Townsel has led ASU six times, Peterson five and Finn thee times. Adam Sterrenberg is the only reserve to lead ASU in scoring this season when he scored 18 against ULM which was tied for the lead on the team with Townsel.
TRIO HAS CAREER NIGHT
ASU got some solid play from three of their guards Thursday night against ULM. Junior guard Adam Sterrenberg came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points on 5-10 shooting from the floor and 4-8 shooting from three-point range. Sophomore guard Ed Townsel had 18 points and had a career-high five three-pointers in the game. Freshman guard Rakeem Dickerson made his first start against ULM and scored 12 points with six assists, both career highs.
STERRENBERG IN DOUBLE-DIGITS
To go along with his performance against ULM, junior guard Adam Sterrenberg broke double-digits for the fourth time this season and 8th time during his career by scoring 13 at Seattle. This season, 4.6 points per game in 14.1 minutes of action.
Senior forward Malcoln Kirkland has become the Red Wolves most consistent scoring threat having scored in double digits 13 out of the last 16 games including scoring 14, 16, 14, 11, 19, 14 and 12 in seven of the last eight games. Kirkland is leading ASU averaging 12.1 points per game in all games and conference only games. Kirkland is shooting 57% from the floor and ranks second on the team averaging 5.9 rebounds per game.
After recording his 58th steal of the season Townsel is in sole possession of sixth on the single-season leaderboard at ASU. He now has 61 and needs just one more to move into a tie with Bo Brown for fifth. Dereke Tipler holds the single-season record for steals at Arkansas State with 76 during the 2005-06 season.
HITTING THE BOARDS
Junior forward Brandon Peterson has had double-digit rebounds in seven of the last 11 games, while also picking up three double-doubles over the last six games. Peterson had 19 points and 11 rebounds against Louisiana-Lafayette, 17 & 11 against North Texas and 10 & 10 against Seattle.
HOOTEN NAMED MID-MAJOR NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After his stellar performance against North Texas, Arkansas State junior guard Marcus Hooten has been named the National Mid Major Player of the Week by College Basketball Madness and was the Sun Belt Player of the Week selection by College Basketball Madness. Hooten hit the game-winning buzzer-beater to give the Red Wolves a 75-72 win over North Texas Saturday. He also led ASU with 24 points against the Mean Green and averaged 21.0 points in last week’s competition also leading ASU with 18 points against Denver.
HOOTEN STRIKES AGAIN
Junior guard Marcus Hooten was again the hero against the Mean Green when he hit the game-winning three-pointer which broke a 72-72 tie to give ASU a 75-72 win over North Texas. The play began when sophomore point guard Ed Townsel blocked Chris Jones’ shot in the lane with just under three seconds to play in regulation. Senior forward Malcoln Kirkland got the rebound and kicked the ball out to Hooten who was on a dead sprint down the floor. Hooten connected on the shot as time expired from 35-feet out.
KIRKLAND PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After leading Arkansas State last week averaging a double-double at 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, senior forward Malcoln Kirkland was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week for the competition week of Dec. 13-19, announced the league office Tuesday afternoon. Kirkland led the Red Wolves to a 2-1 record including leading A-State in a pair of career performances setting new career highs of 18 and 30 points against Seattle and Lyon College, respectively. Against Seattle, Kirkland posted the first double-double of his career with then career-highs of 18 points and 13 rebounds. He then followed up that performance with 12 rebounds and five points at Murray State. Kirkland broke out against Lyon College, scoring 30 points on 9-12 shooting and went 12-12 from the free throw line leading ASU against the Scots. He also had seven rebounds in just 24 minutes of action. The 30 points was the highest single-game scoring performance of the season for A-State.
GRISWOLD IMPRESSIVE IN DEBUT
Arkansas State freshman Darion Griswold looked impressive in his debut for the Red Wolves basketball team, scoring five points and pulling down seven rebounds in only 14 minutes of action. The Dumas, Ark. native joined the team after practicing all fall with the football team. Griswold played AAU basketball with teammate Rakeem Dickerson and led the Wings to an AAU national championship.
HOOTEN CAREER HIGH
Junior guard Marcus Hooten scored a career-high 27 points at Austin Peay. The junior-college transfer shot 9-16 and was 4-6 from FT range and 5-9 from the charity stripe. Hooten also had a career-high five assists. 27-points was the most scored by an ASU player this year.
FIRST TIME FOES
This year, ASU is facing a number of opponents for the first time in school history. Ohio, St. Bonaventure and Seattle appear on the Red Wolves schedule for the first time in the schools’ histories. ASU is also facing Kent State for only the second time. The first contest was held during the 1950-51 season.
The Red Wolves are traveling quite a distance this year and will be racking up the road miles traveling a total of 8,872 miles to their away contests this season. The three longest trips of the year will be to Seattle (2,256), Denver (984) and St. Bonaventure (925).
ON THE BENCH
For the second straight year, the Red Wolves will hold the distinction of being the only team currently playing in the NCAA with two former final four head coaches on the bench as assistant coach Richard Williams returns for his second season with ASU and Brady. The Red Wolves also hired Melvin Haralson as associate head coach in the offseason. Haralson was at Texas Southern last season after spending 10 years as an assistant and associate head coach at Houston. Jeff Clapacs also returns for his fourth season at Arkansas State as an assistant coach. Clapacs has been with Brady since his arrival at Arkansas State.
HEAD COACH JOHN BRADY
Now in his fourth year with the program John Brady was announced as Arkansas State’s 15th head men’s basketball coach by Director of Athletics Dr. Dean Lee at a press conference held in ASU’s Convocation Center on March 19, 2008.
In only three years at the helm of the program, Brady has turned the Red Wolves into a winner including capturing a share of the western division Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2010-11, posting double-digit Sun Belt Conference wins back-to-back for the first time in nearly 20 years and going undefeated at home with a 13-0 record.
During his first season with the Red Wolves, Brady helped lead ASU to one of the best starts in program history and achieved the No. 22 ranking on Collegeinsider.com’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll. As a team ASU greatly improved its defending and rebounding, finishing near the top of the conference in several statistical categories.
Brady took a step further in his second season with The Red Wolves, improving their record to 17-14 and the team advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Tournament finishing second in the west. Brady was named Sun Belt Coach of the Year and the District VII Coach of the Year by the USBWA. ASU led the league in three-point FG defense, rebounding offense and defensive rebounding.
ASU also posted an 11-7 SBC record this season which was its best league mark since the 2006-07 season when ASU achieved the same record. Its 11-wins was the seventh-time since ASU joined the Sun Belt that they have posted double-digit league wins.
Brady spent the last 10-plus seasons serving as LSU’s head coach, leading the Tigers to six postseason berths, two SEC championships and three SEC Western Division titles. Twice named the SEC Coach of the Year, Brady is a proven winner who has a well-documented record of success and a long list of accomplishments.
Brady’s 16-year tenure as a head coach at both LSU and Samford in Birmingham, Alabama, has been decorated with achievements. He has coached a combined 25 All-TAAC and SEC selections, 48 academic all-conference choices, posted 11 winning seasons and collected five division championships. Brady piled up the third most wins in LSU history with 192 and left Samford after the 1996-97 season as the Bulldog’s all-time leader in coaching victories (89) as well.
He quickly turned around an LSU’s men’s basketball program that had suffered four consecutive losing seasons prior to his arrival, leading the Tigers to a 28-6 record, an SEC championship and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in just his third season (1999-00) at the helm. Under Brady’s direction, the Tigers recorded six consecutive winning seasons from 2001-02 to 2006-07 while making three trips to the NCAA Tournament and two more to the NIT. The 2005-06 campaign saw LSU post a 27-9 record and advance to the Final Four for the first time in 20 years.
Not only did Brady coach the Tigers to 23 wins versus ranked opponents, he also led them to victories over two teams ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Poll (Arizona in 2002-03 and Duke in 2005-06). Additionally, he orchestrated a 19-game home winning streak over SEC opponents, the third longest stretch in LSU history.
While at LSU, Brady coached two NBA Lottery picks and six current NBA players. The Tigers signed nine Parade All-Americans and four McDonald All-Americans under Brady, who also coached three SEC Players of the Year, four players named SEC Freshman of the Year, one SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and 17 All-SEC selections.
Prior to taking over the reigns at LSU, Brady served as Samford’s head coach from 1991-92 through 1996-97. It didn’t take long for him to turn around a Samford program coming off six straight losing seasons, either, guiding the Bulldogs to a 17-10 record in his second season. He led Samford to three straight winning seasons (1995-97) for the first time since 1982-84, all leading up to a 19-9 record and division title in 1997. Samford won the TAAC West Division each of Brady’s final two seasons at the school for the first time in school history.
His four winning campaigns at Samford were the first for any coach at the school, and he led the Bulldogs to an 89-77 record after they went 27-83 the four seasons prior to his initial year. He coached eight All-TAAC and 14 Academic All-TAAC players over six seasons.
The McComb, Miss., native earned his bachelor’s degree in 1976 from Belhaven College, where he was three-year starter and scored over 1,000 points during his college playing career. Brady was a two-time All-Southern States Conference selection and was later inducted into his alma mater’s Hall of Fame.
He got his coaching start as a graduate assistant with the Mississippi State men’s basketball program while earning his master’s degree from 1976-77. Brady took his first head coaching position in Louisiana at Crowley High School in 1977 and led the basketball squad to a 129-49 (.725) record in five seasons. He was named the 1981 Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3-A Coach of the Year.
Brady returned to the college coaching ranks in 1982 as an assistant coach at Mississippi State. He spent the next eight years with the Bulldogs, the first four seasons under coach Bob Hoyt and the next four as a chief recruiter for coach Richard Williams. Following his tenure in Starkville, Brady returned to Louisiana for the second time, this time to serve as an assistant coach at the University of New Orleans. Brady helped lead UNO to the NCAA Tournament during his only season with the Privateers.