Highlights from the Huskies 60-49 victory over Miami (Ohio). Freshmen Kelly Smith and Renee Sladek each recorded double-doubles as NIU limited the RedHawks to less than 50 points, the fifth different opponent to score in the 40s.
Highlights from NIU's season-opening win over Illinois State, 55-51. Freshman Kelly Smith scored 17-points to lead the Huskies in scoring. It was NIU's first season-opening win since 2009.
Latrell Fleming comes to Northern Illinois after spending the 2012-13 season as the video coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Prior to joining the Panthers' staff, Fleming spent six years coaching the WBA Prestige of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), where he assisted in the development of some of the top players in the state.
Entering his second season in 2014-15, Fleming helped the Huskies finish with the second-best defense in the Mid-American Conference as NIU surrendered 64.0 points per game, trailing only regular season champion Bowling Green. Helping Assistant Coach Kevin McManaman work with the guards, the Huskies starting back court (Amanda Corral, Danny Pulliam and Ally Lehman) record an assist/turnover ratio of 1.24 last year.
As a team last season, the Huskies had four more conference wins than in 2012-13 and won their first round matchup at Eastern Michigan in the Mid-American Conference Tournament as NIU sank the Eagles in overtime, 81-76. It was the second of two overtime wins for NIU, the most since the 2009-10 season.
"Latrell is a great hire for us because of his work ethic, his terrific ability to relate to our players, his energy, and his ability to coach and get the absolute best out of players," said Head Coach Kathi Bennett. "It is also a great situation because my dad recruited him to Wisconsin and he has been part of the Bennett family for a long time. I am so happy to bring him aboard and so is the rest of our staff. It is a great feeling knowing how well we work together."
"When coach Bennett offered me the job, I thought it was a great opportunity to work with a great group of people at a great university," said Fleming. " I spent four years under Bo Ryan as a student assistant at Wisconsin before coaching one of the top AAU teams in the Midwest. I was able to develop ties with AAU and high school coaches in the area and I think that will help me on the recruiting trail."
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Fleming was recruited by Bennett's father, Dick, however, his playing career at Wisconsin ended before it began when he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disorder generally characterized by the enlargement of the heart muscle and the thickening of the walls of the left ventricle.
Following his diagnosis, Fleming remained with the Badgers, serving as a student assistant under Head Coach Bo Ryan from 2001-06. Wisconsin won three Big Ten Championships in that period of time, including UW's first championship since 1947, advancing to the NCAA Tournament five times in that span. The Badgers advanced to the tournament's Elite Eight in 2004-05.
As a high school player, Fleming won a state championship at John Marshall High School in 2001, where he was also a McDonald's All-American nominee. He was named as one of the Top-50 seniors in the country by The Sporting News in that same season as well.
Off the court, Fleming is a spokesman for the American Heart Foundation, is a junior board member of the YMCA of greater Milwaukee and member of the NAACP. He also spent five years as a banking analyst in Milwaukee at Marshall and Ilsley.