DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's basketball team wraps up its exhibition campaign as they welcome Augustana College, the No. 5-ranked squad in Division III, to the NIU Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off on Monday (Nov. 5) night.
New Sheriff In Town: First-year Northern Illinois head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton takes over the Huskies after spending the last 11-plus seasons as the head coach at the University of Colorado. During his tenure, Patton led the Buffaloes to 184 wins, including six trips to the postseason and two berths in the NCAA Tournament.
Exhibition Opener: Senior forward Shaun Logan (9 rebounds) and junior guard Jarvis Nichols (3 treys) each scored 14 points, as Northern Illinois upended Aurora, 87-70, in the Huskies' exhibition opener on Friday (Nov. 2) night at the NIU Convocation Center.
Taking Care Of The Rock: The Northern Illinois point guard tandem of senior Ryan Paradise and sophomore Cody Yelder performed admirably in the Huskies' exhibition opener, as they combined for 11 assists with only three turnovers. Paradise had six dimes while Yelder added five helpers .
Huskies By The Numbers: The NIU men's basketball team has 19 players on its roster, 17 of whom are roster eligible, nine newcomers, one redshirt junior, one redshirt freshman and eight players that saw game action for the Huskies in 2006-07.
Lost Long Range: Senior Zach Pancratz will sit out the 2007-08 season after undergoing left shoulder surgery to correct continued instability in his non-shooting arm. Last season, Pancratz led NIU with 51 trifectas.
Piece of the Boulder: Sophomore center Sean Kowal made the trip to DeKalb along with head coach Ricardo Patton after appearing in 27 games for Colorado as a rookie last season. Kowal must sit for the 2007-08 season, as per NCAA Transfer Guidelines.
Traveling Men: While there are 17 roster-eligible players on the Huskies, Coach Patton is expected to travel anywhere from 13 to 15 players on the road.
They Call Me: NIU freshman guard Darion Anderson also goes by the nickname "Jake".
Season Opener: The Huskies begin the 2007-08 season on Friday, November 9, as they travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa to participate in the BTI Tip-Off Tourney, hosted by Northern Iowa. The Huskies face the host Panthers on Friday (8:15 p.m.), followed by UMass on Saturday (5:45 p.m.) and Cal-Poly on Sunday (2 p.m.).
Home Opener: Northern Illinois will open its home campaign on Saturday, November 24, as they will welcome Stephen F. Austin to the NIU Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Patton's Prodigy: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton has a familiar face on the squad as his son, Michael, is a walk-on freshman point guard for the Huskies. Patton's other son, Ricardo Jr., is a sophomore defensive back for the Huskie football team.
Recruiting Class: Patton's first recruiting class includes 6-5 sophomore forward Najul Ervin (Memphis, Tenn. / Kankakee C.C.), 6-2 freshman guard Jeremy Landers (Milwaukee, Wis. / Murphysboro (Ill.) / Genesis One (Miss.) and junior forward Sean Smith (Gary, Ind. / Westside / Vincennes J.C.).
Big Hart: Senior walk-on Michael Hart had been dominating the NIU Recreation Center for the past three years, but decided to test his mettle and joined the Huskie basketball team at the beginning of the school year. Hart, who stands 6-foot-7, had a chance to strut his stuff at the recent `Huskie Hoopla' where he won the slam dunk contest, defeating Lee Fisher, Jarvis Nichols and Cody Yelder on the way to the title.
Coach Gaters: Redshirt freshman forward Darrius Gaters is the grandson of legendary high school basketball coach Dorothy Gaters. Gaters is the winningest girls basketball coach in Illinois history, totaling 794 victories at Chicago Marshall.
Non-Conference Slate: There is no easing into the Mid-American Conference schedule as the Huskies' non-conference opponents, led by 2007 `Sweet 16' participant Southern Illinois, averaged 19.6 wins during the `06-'07 campaign.
The Butler Did It: Assistant Coach John Anderson's son, Jerametrius Butler, is a cornerback for the Buffalo Bills. Butler recorded his first career collegiate interception for Kansas State against Northern Illinois.
Top 25: Augustana is the second Division III top-25 team that the Huskies have faced in the past week, as they were picked 5th overall in www.d3hoops.com. Last Friday's opponent, Aurora, was ranked 13th in the preseason poll.
Martial Artist: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton has a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Full Strength: NIU senior swingman Ben Rand looks to be at full strength after undergoing two knee surgeries and missing 19 of the Huskies' last 33 contests since the 2005-06 campaign.
Where Are They Now?: Last year's senior class of James Hughes and Mike McKinney are continuing their basketball careers professionally as both are playing overseas. Hughes is currently playing for Energa Czarni in Poland, while McKinney is competing for Maccabi Haifi in Israel's National League.
Paradise Found: If senior guard Ryan Paradise had played in 75% of the Huskies' games last season, the Naperville, Illinois native would have been the third-leading returning three-point field goal percentage shooter in the Mid-American Conference this season. As a junior, Paradise knocked down 42.5% (37-for-87) of his long-range attempts.
Familiar Face: Augustana sophomore guard Kyle Waller is the son of Northern Illinois All-Century Team selection Brad Waller (1982-85). Waller was a three-time Academic All-MAC selection and Academic All-America for the Huskies during his tenure.