UAB is losing rising sophomore guard Jarvis Calhoun to transfer, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 6-foot-0 native of Alabama didn’t see much playing time during the 2014-15 season and with the Blazers returning all five starters, playing time would have been tough to come by this season.
Calhoun scored a season-high three points against UCLA this season and had a total of five points and two rebounds during the season. This is probably the best move for both parties, as Calhoun can get a fresh start at another school with more playing time, while the Blazers get another scholarship to use on the recruiting trail.
A prolific high school scorer from the Birmingham area, in Trussville, Alabama, Calhoun missed some time during his senior year with injury and has never received enough playing time to regain his form.
For the blue bloods of college basketball putting together a non-conference schedule isn’t a particularly arduous affair. While there may be an opening or two to fill in the spring/early summer period, that status generally makes it easy to put together a slate that works to the program’s advantage.
That isn’t the case for some programs that don’t have that kind of cache, especially if they’re hoping to get a home game out of a series. For UAB head coach Jerod Haase, who’s team not only reached the NCAA tournament last season but knocked off Iowa State once there, getting a fair scheduling agreement has proven to be a bit difficult.
And according to AL.com, the need to put together a solid slate of home games means that Haase will only go so far in scheduling games against higher profile opponents.
Haase, however, wants to fill Bartow Arena too. And he’s not willing to sacrifice his team’s record or morale just to play more attractive schools.
“I’m not going to go 47 times to Alabama (and we play) and one time at UAB,” Haase said. “I have to do what’s best for our program too. And to be honest with you, we think pretty highly of our program right now.”
It should be noted that while UAB begins a four-game series with Auburn this coming season, with the Tigers hosting two of the meetings (UAB will host one at Bartow Arena in 2016, and the 2018 meeting will be played at Legacy Arena in Birmingham), UAB and Alabama have only played once in the history of the two programs. Hence Haase’s comment regarding scheduling, as he’s looking to put power conference opponents on UAB’s schedule in hopes of boosting his team’s profile come March.
In recent years Conference USA hasn’t been a major player when it comes to at-large bids to the NCAA tournament, so at the very least a quality schedule can help its automatic bid recipient seeding-wise. But that doesn’t mean the league’s coaches should agree to unfair scheduling agreements in their non-conference games, because they need to generate home ticket sales as well.
Friday afternoon Conference USA announced that its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will once again be held in Birmingham next season, marking the second straight year in which the city has hosted the events. While the men’s tournament is played at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, the women’s tournament is played on the UAB campus at Bartow Arena.
“Birmingham is a wonderful location for our basketball championships,” conference commissioner Britton Banowsky said in the release. “We appreciate the two great arenas and the city’s proximity to many of our fans. The downtown development is impressive, but most of all, we appreciate the spirit of the community. We look forward to another great tournament week in 2016.”
Also of note in Conference USA’s announcement is that all 14 teams will participate in the tournament. Last season only the top 12 teams qualified, meaning that Southern Miss (already ineligible due to a self-imposed postseason ban) and FAU missed out on the men’s tournament with North Texas and FIU not qualifying for the women’s tournament.
UAB, led by head coach Jerod Haase, won the men’s tournament as the four-seed last season and top seed Western Kentucky won the women’s tournament last season.