Whoosh! Net News

Ex-Flame joins coaching ranks



Former Flames stalwart Kenny Williams has been named the head coach of the new American Basketball Association team, the Chicago Rockstars.

After several years of playing professional basketball – mostly overseas – and working in the private sector, Williams (pictured) will be roaming the sidelines when the team begins play in November.

“Taking this job is a dream because it is a way to give back to the city that gave me a venue to play in,” said Williams in press release.

“I’m a winner,” added Williams, who ranks second on the Flames’ all-time scoring list with 2,025 points. “I don’t want this to be known as the Chicago Rockstars, the losing team but the Chicago Rockstars, the winning team. I want people talking about us 10 to 20 years from now. I know what it takes to win. I will not have a team of stars but a team of winners.”

Williams teamed with former NBA first-round draft pick Sherell Ford in the mid-’90s to give UIC its greatest 1-2 scoring punch in team history.

Williams led the Flames to a 68-53 mark during his four years as a Flame (1990-94) and helped UIC reach three Mid-Continent Conference tournament championship games.

The Rockstars will play their home games at Chicago State’s brand-new Emil Jones Convocation Center, which is set to open in November.

In addition to Williams, another former UIC presence, Michael Harris, is an assistant coach and administrative assistant for the Rockstars. Harris was the administrative assistant in the early years of coach Jimmy Collins. Also, former DePaul guard Rashon Burno also works for the team.

Also, player tryouts will be held all day at the Flames Athletic Center on Saturday, April 22. For more information, visit www.rockstarbasketball.com.

Report: Granderson almost walked-on in hoops

According to a small feature recently in the Detroit Free-Press on former UIC baseball player and current Detroit Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson considered joining the men’s basketball team as a walk-on.

Granderson (pictured) would have played both sports at UIC and becoming the first athlete to play baseball and basketball with the Flames since Jimmy Sexton in the late-’90s.

However, Granderson could not make the tryout because he broke his wrist soon before the basketball practice was to begin. He would have been part of the Cedrick Banks-Martell Bailey teams.

Unfortunately for Flames fans, in the article, he states that Kansas is his favorite college basketball team.

Granderson is off to a solid start for the Tigers, batting .283 with three home runs, five RBIs and two stolen bases through Sunday’s action. He was second in the NCAA with a .483 average in the 2002 season for UIC.


RECRUITS HONORED: Three future UIC Flames have all earned accolades in the past few weeks.

Edwardsville guard Spencer Stewart, whose team finished 30-1 this season, finished eighth in the Chicago Tribune’s Mr. Basketball balloting, garnering four first-place votes. He was arguably the top senior from Downstate Illinois.

Stewart (pictured) finished with averages of 10.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.9 steals per contest as a senior. He was all First-Team Southwestern Conference, Second-Team All-State from the Associated Press, First-Team All-Area in the Belleville News-Democrat, Special Mention All-State in the Chicago Tribune, Second-Team All-Metro in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and among 10 players who were named First-Team All-State for Class AA by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

Cypress Springs (Texas) senior forward Jonathan Blake was named to the First-Team in District 17-5A. He led his team to third place in the district with records of 23-9 overall and 10-5 in district games.

Maroa-Forsyth junior guard Robert Kreps, who offered a verbal commitment to the Flames, was Special Mention All-State in the Chicago Tribune and part of the 10-member First-Team in Class A from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

ALUM SUCCESS CONTINUES: Cedrick Banks and Armond Williams are enjoying fine rookie professional seasons overseas.

Banks is a superstar for Besancon in the French Pro-B League, averaging 21.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals per contest and has helped the team to a four-game winning streak. Besancon is currently in first place with a two-game lead over Vichy and Orleans as the regular season winds down.

Williams wrapped up a successful campaign in Austria with Metafund Baskets Feldkirch. While the team was a mediocre 11-11, Williams didn’t disappoint, leading the team in scoring (19.9 per game), field-goal percentage (60 percent), rebounds (7.6), steals (1.8) and blocked shots (0.7).

Williams scored a career-best 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting, with 13 rebounds, against Mattersburg on Jan. 22. His single-game rebounding-high was 14. He also had eight point-rebound double-doubles and scored in double figures in 21 of 22 contests.

FLAMES FLICKERS: There is no word whether the Flames will sign anyone during the current spring signing period, although there have been reports that UIC was courting West Aurora swingman T.J. Marion. … Former Flames player and assistant coach Tracy Dildy has changed jobs once again. Former Indiana coach Mike Davis hired Dildy as an assistant at UAB. Dildy was an assistant at Mississippi for the last two seasons, but decided to leave the Rebels after Rob Barnes was not retained as head coach. … The first print Whoosh! will publish on Monday, Nov. 13 in the Chicago Flame and will preview the season … The Horizon League has two new head coaches in Brad Brownell at Wright State (replacing Paul Biancardi) and Gary Waters at Cleveland State (replacing Mike Garland).

In other recent news:
Stewart's next stop: UIC (3/21/06)
Kreps honored a Class A tournament (3/15/06)
Flames' prospects still doing well (3/10/06)
Stewart, Edwardsville stay hot (recruit, alum update) (3/7/06)
No matter how you say: Flames' season over (HL vs. UWGB) (3/4/06)
Green Bay awaits Flames in Milwaukee (preview) (3/2/06)
Rock solid effort by Collum (HL tourney vs. WSU) (3/1/06)
Flames looking stoked (HL tourney preview) (2/28/06)
Jeffers, Bowen, Mayo honored by league (2/27/06)