UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
2009 Men's Basketball Season Preview
The University of the District of Columbia Firebirds Men's Basketball team returns to action for the 2009-2010 season under new Head Coach Jeff Ruland. The Firebird Men tip-off their season on November 15, at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York. View the progress of the game through the live stats link on the calendar on the Home page. They hit the court for their home season opener on December 9, against the Kutztown University Golden Bears.
Ruland is a former NBA basketball player, better known as a member of the "Bruise Brothers" duo of Mahorn and Ruland of the Washington Bullets. During his playing days, Ruland was among the NBA leaders in rebounding and shooting percentage. He earned a spot on the NBA All Star Game in the 82-83 season and his career was cut short due to injuries.
Ruland coached where he played collegiately at Iona College for nine years. The Gaels won three Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles and made three NCAA tournament appearances during his tenure. He was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers last year and brings more than 30 years worth of professional and collegiate playing and coaching experience to the game.
In speaking of the men's schedule, Coach Ruland said, "Under the circumstances, we have put together a very competitive schedule here at UDC. Obviously this is my first year and being hired the first week of classes, has not made it an easy process. I owe a debt of gratitude to my assistant coach Terrell Stokes for his perseverance and support to get us to where we are. We are trying to rebuild a great program."
The Firebirds return five players to the roster from last season, including guards Justin Smith (sophomore -3.4ppg/1.7rpg), Alex Frempong (sophomore-0.8ppg/0.9rpg) and Tim Ellison (junior-16.6ppg/3.0rpg). Forwards Gani Cole (junior-2.7ppg/5.0rpg) and Chris Leach(sophomore-3.3ppg/2.1rpg) also return to the team.
Newcomers to the Firebirds this season are forwards Dyrek Jones (freshman), transfers Purvis Rollins (sophomore) and Omar Blair (junior). Guards joining the team this year include Kenneth James (RS-freshman), former DeMatha All-Met transfer Nigel Munson (sophomore), and Keith Brooks (freshman).