GM1 // UALR (0-0) vs. UT Martin (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 • 7 PM (CST)
Little Rock, Ark. • Jack Stephens Center (5,600)
Radio: KHLR - 106.7 FM
Radio Talent: Ray Tucker (PXP) and Pat Bradley (Analyst)
Live Audio/Video: UALRTrojans.com
Live Stats: UALRTrojans.com
2011-12 Record: 15-16
SBC Record: 12-4
Head Coach: Steve Shields (10th year)
Record at UALR: 147-128
Career Record: Same
Returning Statistical Leaders
Points: Will Neighbour (10.5)
Rebounds: Will Neighbour (5.3)
Assists: Ben Dillard (0.8)
Steals: Will Neighbour (0.9)
Blocks: Michael Javes (1.5)
UT Martin Skyhawks
2011-12 Record: 4-27
OVC Record: 0-16
Head Coach: Jason James (4th year)
Record at UT Martin: 20-73
Career Record: Same
Returning Statistical Leaders
Points: Mike Liabo (15.2)
Rebounds: Myles Taylor (5.2)
Assists: Omari Minor (2.8)
Steals: Omari Minor (1.2)
Blocks: Myles Taylor (0.8)
• The 2012-13 UALR Trojans return four letterwinners and two starters off a team that finished the 2011-12 season with a 15-16 overall record and a 12-4 mark in Sun Belt Conference play.
• The Trojans' roster features a Preseason First Team All-Sun Belt selection in Will Neighbour, as well as a group of three sophomores (Ben Dillard, Michael Javes and Taggart Lockhart) that combined to start 43 games last season.
• UALR welcomes eight newcomers to the roster, including, six freshmen and two junior college transfers, and brings back three redshirt players.
About UT Martin
• The Skyhawks finished the 2011-12 season with a 4-27 overall record and went winless (0-16) in Ohio Valley Conference play.
• UT Martin returns eight letterwinners and four starters off last season's team, led by junior Mike Liabo, who averaged a team-best 15.2 points per game and knocked down 68 treys (2.3 per game).
• Head coach Jason James is beginning his fourth season in Martin and thus far has compiled a 20-73 record in his first three seasons.
• The Skyhawks beat Illinois College in an exhibition matchup by a 109-79 score on Friday, Nov. 2.
• Bobby Jones led UT Martin with 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the exhibition win. Myles Taylor added 19 points and 10 rebounds.
All-Time Against the Skyhawks
• UALR holds a 3-0 advantage in three meetings against UT Martin. All three meetings have taken place in Little Rock, Ark.
• The last time these two teams played, UALR edged out a 58-56 win over the visiting Skyhawks on Nov. 25, 2006 at the Jack Stephens Center. The Trojans were led by a 13-point, 15-rebound effort from Rashad Jones-Jennings and overcame a seven-point deficit with less than seven minutes to play to pull out the win.
• Junior Will Neighbour was recently named Preseason First Team All-Sun Belt in a vote of the league's coaches.
• Neighbour earned Second Team All-Sun Belt honors as a sophomore in 2011-12 despite battling a torn labrum in his shoulder throughout the second half of the season.
• The 6-10 forward played in 29 games with 18 starts during the 2011-12 season, ranking second on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg), while leading the Trojans in three-point shooting (.413) and made three pointers (43).
• Neighbour ranked seventh in the Sun Belt with a .413 three-point field goal percentage and an .815 free-throw percentage.
• The Grayshott, England-native was named Sun Belt Player of the Week on Jan. 2, 2012 after averaging 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in road wins at North Texas and Denver.
• Had two double-doubles on the year: an 11-point, 12-rebound effort at Michigan State (Nov. 20), and 19 points and 11 rebounds in a win at North Texas (Dec. 29).
• Scored in double figures 15 times on the year and led the Trojans in scoring on nine occasions.
• Sophomore Michael Javes ranked sixth in the Sun Belt and led the Trojans with 44 blocked shots (1.5 bpg) in the 2011-12 season.
• The Cali, Colombia-native had six games with three-or-more blocked shots, including a season-high five against IUPUI (Nov. 15) and Arkansas State (Jan. 14).
• Javes played in 30 games with 23 starts as a true freshman, averaging 5.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
• He made 14 starts in league play and saw his numbers rise to 5.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game over 21.9 minutes against conference opponents.
• Sophomore Gus Leeper returns to the Trojans' lineup in 2012-13 after sitting out all of last season with a knee injury suffered in an offseason pickup game.
• Leeper played in 29 games with eight starts as a true freshman, averaging 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds over 10.0 minutes per game.
• Took on a larger role at the end of the season, starting eight of the team's final nine contests, including all four games at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
• The Austin, Texas-native averaged 4.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game with a .471 field goal percentage and a team-high four blocks (1.25 per game) in the Trojans' 2011 SBC Tournament run.
• Averaged just 6.2 minutes per game over his first 20 appearances, but saw that number rise to 18.6 minutes per game over the final nine contests of the 2010-11 season.
Size to Spare
• In addition to Neighbour, Javez and Leeper, all of which stand 6-10, the Trojans' roster features four more players standing 6-7 or taller.
• Freshman Andrew Poulter (6-11, 282 lbs.), redshirt freshman James White (6-8, 215 lbs.), junior Mike Evans (6-8, 215 lbs.) and freshman Mareik Isom (6-7, 193 lbs.) give the Trojans a total of seven players that measure 6-7 or taller on their current roster.
• A major task for the Trojans this season will be replacing the play of All-Sun Belt point guard D'Andre Williams, who graduated last year after averaging a team-best 13.2 points and totaling 122 assists and 52 steals in his senior season.
• Options for replacing Williams include freshmen John Gillon and Josh Hagins, two freshmen who committed to UALR on the same day and join the Trojans following decorated high school careers.
• Gillon was a two-time First Team All-District selection at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Texas. He was named the District 19-5A Offensive Player of the Year as a senior, when he averaged 21 points and four assists per game as the Crusaders went 26-4 and 14-0 in district play.
• Hagins was an All-State selection at Airline HS in Bossier City, La., where he averaged 14.4 points, 6.6 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game as a senior.
No Place Like Home
• Friday's opener against UT Martin will mark just the fourth time in his time as head coach at UALR that head coach Steve Shields has played his season opener at home.
• Shields is a perfect 3-0 in season openers played at home. The Trojans' last opened at home to start the 2007-08 season, when they beat University of the Ozarks, 92-54., in the Jack Stephens Center.
• Overall, Shields is 5-4 in season openers in his nine seasons as head coach at UALR.
• Shields sports a 92-40 home record in his tenure with the Trojans.
The Small Screen
• The 2012-13 Sun Belt television package includes a potential ESPN2 game for the Trojans. UALR's game at North Texas on Jan. 26 has been selected as a Wildcard game by ESPN. As the date draws closer, ESPN will elect to televise either the game between UALR and North Texas, or Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee.
• The Sun Belt Network will visit the Jack Stephens Center on Jan. 12 to televise the game between UALR and FIU at 3:30 p.m.
• Sun Belt Network games are carried by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) and Cox Sports Television (CST), and will likely be available through ESPN3 and ESPN's FullCourt package.
• The Trojans also have a television game lined up at Cincinnati on Dec. 6 (Fox Sports Ohio), as well as an ESPN3 game against Middle Tennessee on Jan. 17 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
• UALR has been picked to finish third in the Sun Belt's West Division in a preseason poll of the coaches.
• Sophomore Will Neighbour was selected to the Preseason All-SBC First Team.
• North Texas received all 11 first-place votes as the preseason pick to win the West. Middle Tennessee received all 11 first-place votes as the choice to win the East Division.
• Sophomore Tony Mitchell from North Texas is the Preseason Player of the Year.
• The Trojans will play a pair of road matchups at Louisiana Tech (Nov. 14) and Ole Miss (Nov. 16) following Friday night's game against UT Martin.
• UALR will next play in the Jack Stephens Center on Monday, Nov. 19 against Milwaukee as part of the Hoops for Hope Classic.
• The Trojans open conference play on Thursday, Nov. 29 against Troy at the Jack Stephens Center.