UALR will play SMU, Milwaukee, Jacksonville in Puerto Vallarta tournament

Two familiar teams have jumped onto UALR's 2012-2013 basketball schedule.

UALR will host Wisconsin-Milwaukee and play SMU in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as part of the Hoops for Hope Classic. Burn The Horse previously reported that Jacksonville would visit UALR as part of the event.

SMU and Milwaukee were both part of last year's UALR schedule as both came to the Jack Stephens Center and beat the Trojans. Milwaukee was a 59-54 winner while SMU was a 69-63 overtime winner.

UALR will host Milwaukee on Nov. 19 at the Jack Stephens Center. Two days later, on Nov. 21, UALR will host Jacksonville.

The event will then shift to Puerto Vallarta for a more traditional tournament. South Carolina will play Missouri State in one semifinal on Nov. 24. UALR will play SMU in the second semifinal. The winners and losers will then meet on Nov. 25.

In addition to Jacksonville and Milwaukee, the other teams participating in the other four team tournament are Alcorn State and Rider.

What combination of players do you expect to start UALR's season opener?

Thanks to our 10 friends from North Texas who voted in the last poll. It's time for a new one.

Assuming junior Will Neighbour starts the season opener, who will fill the remaining four spots in the UALR starting lineup. This year's roster features 1 senior, 1 junior, 4 sophomores and 8 freshmen.

Vote in the left column of this page.

Jacksonville to visit JSC as part of Hoops for Hope Classic

We're learning a little more about the 2012 Hoops for Hope Classic in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
UALR is playing two home games and two games in Mexico as part of the event.

One of UALR's home games will be against Jacksonville University on Nov. 21. The other home game will be played against Alcorn State, Rider or one still-to-be-named team.

In Mexico, UALR will play two games against either SMU, Missouri State or South Carolina.
Jacksonville is a former member of the Sun Belt Conference. The Dolphins play in the Atlantic Sun and finished 8-22 last season. Jacksonville is also playing Missouri State on Nov. 19 in Springfield and Rider on Nov. 24 in Puerto Vallarta.

UALR freshman Gillon fits successful Trojans profile


We think freshman guard John Gillon will be successful at UALR.

It’s not because we’ve got a crystal ball. It’s because he fits the profile.

He’s an undersized point guard with a good three-point shot who has a high basketball IQ and enough quickness to penetrate into the lane to score.

Sounds a lot like Solomon Bozeman. Or maybe even D’Andre Williams. Both were first team all-Sun Belt Conference players during their senior seasons. And while there’s no way to know whether or not Gillon can achieve those accolades, his game gives him a shot.

Gillon is the third Trojan profiled in our Burn The Horse summer series on incoming UALR players.

He’s a 5-11 guard (we’ve also seen him listed anywhere from 5-8 to 6-0) from Houston Strake Jesuit in Texas who helped his team to a 26-4 record last season. And he might be best known for being the teammate of Duke signee Rasheed Sulaimon. But if you watched Strake Jesuit closely last season, there were times when Gillon took over those games.

For what it’s worth, Gillon was named the District 19-5A offensive player of the year.
ESPN graded him a 75 and called him “an undersized point guard. He has range out to 23 feet and has a good release point to get his shot off over bigger defenders. Gillon has a good basketball IQ and feel for the game.”

“John is someone who is very difficult to keep in front of you as a defender. He’s very quick and can get the ball from one end of the floor to the other extremely fast,” UALR Coach Steve Shields said. “He’s a very versatile player with his ability to get it to the paint and stretch it to the three-point line. He is very explosive from that standpoint.”

UALR also has another freshman point guard on campus in Josh Hagins. You’d think there might be some animosity between the two. Instead, it appears the opposite has happened. Both visited UALR the same weekend, committed to UALR the same week and are roommates this summer.

Shields said Gillon and Hagins are “two guys that we can play together and really solidify the point for us in the future.”

Both figure to plenty of opportunity to play. The only other point guard on campus right now is redshirt freshman walk-on Casey Wilmath.

Upside: Gillon is a streaky scorer who can light it up when he gets hot. We’ve seen a lot of film on him and it looks like he plays really hard. That can only help him transition to Division I.

Downside: Gillon is another small guard, the type that UALR used to have a fleet of.

Outlook: Gillon’s a different type of point guard than Josh Hagins. And that would seem to work in his favor. He’s definitely going to get an extended look throughout the fall. And his ability to score the ball might create some situations where he and Hagins play together (a la D’Andre and Solomon in ’11).

North Texas fans respond, attempt to fix the poll vote

Appears our green friends to the south are a bit sensitive today. And they're taking out revenge by voting "Fewer than 12" in the BTH poll. Seven in the past 24 hours.

Ouch. That hurts.
Here's a thread where they discuss, calling it a "dick move."

You'd think we were the ones who slapped a big CUSA logo on the front of our summer prospectus (while we were still in a different conference).

No worries. Summer page views are on the rise.


North Texas doesn't recognize Sun Belt in summer prospectus

Check out the cover of North Texas' summer basketball prospectus. It tells us where the Mean Green is playing next year. But what about this year? Is North Texas still in the Sun Belt this year?

It's classless and disrespectful to your current conference mates. Want to know why other conferences ban teams from postseason that are already leaving? This is one reason.

New numbers for UALR's newest players

The first team meeting will be held July 4, but most of the UALR roster has already reported. On Monday, UALR posted the new roster. That means we get our first look at what numbers the new players will wear for UALR.
  • 2 John Gillon
  • 3 Josh Hagins
  • 5 Kemy Osse
  • 15 Stetson Billings
  • 21 Mareik Isom
  • 50 Andrew Poulter
Redshirt freshman walk-on Casey Wilmath gets his No. 1 jersey back this year. It went to student manager turned walk-on Ted Crass late last season. Crass, the team's only senior, will wear No. 11.

UALR junior Will Neighbour talks about the upcoming season

UALR junior forward Will Neighbour is serving as the Athletic Department's ambassador this summer. In this UALR video, Will talks about that and the upcoming season and some other stuff.