Sports Odds and Ends
The Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB) men’s basketball team will visit Williams Arena on November 21. The Golden Lions are the second SWAC team to play the Gopher men this season.
The two teams faced each other last December with host Minnesota winning 72-56, the first-ever meeting between the two schools. At this year’s meeting at The Barn, UAPB Coach Solomon Bozeman told the MSR, “I’m excited and ready to get back there, man.”
Minnesota is the second Power 5 opponent this season for UAPB. Junior Kylen Milton (34) and graduate student Joe French (30) combined for 64 points, but fell at Missouri 101-79 on November 6. The two guards, along with fellow graduate student Rashad Williams, gives UAPB a very potent backcourt, according to Bozeman.
“We got an explosive backcourt,” gushed the coach.
The 6-foot-4-inch Milton and the 6-foot-5-inch French were both named to the preseason all-SWAC 1st team and 2nd team, respectively. French transferred from Bethune-Cookman and was the SWAC player of the year last season. Williams sat out last season after transferring from Saint Louis.
“When you talk about a guy like Joe French, who’s a scorer and a shooter, and then Rashad Williams is a guy that was top five in the country with three-pointers made,” explained Bozeman. “Milton is a 6-foot-4-inch explosive point guard, a playmaker that can go to the rim at will. [He] can defend, can rebound, can pretty much do it all.
“Just super excited about these guys,” said the coach.
But the league coaches and sports information directors predicted UAPB to finish tenth in the 11-team SWAC this season. Last season, UAPB lost its final nine games and missed the SWAC tournament.
With nine players returning, including Milton, the team’s second-leading scorer from last season, Bozeman believes that his Golden Lions will have a different end-of-the-season finish this time around.
“We’ve got some guys,” the UAPB coach said. “I think fans are gonna be really excited to see us. We can’t wait.”
Last month, the SWAC announced its ESPN television schedule for the 2023-24 men’s basketball season.
Texas Southern is at Jackson State (January 22); Alcorn State is at Bethune-Cookman (January 29); Southern is at Jackson State (February 5); and Prairie View is at Florida A&M (February 12). All the games are primetime telecasts (8 p.m. CST) on ESPNU.
Former Minnesota WBB associate head coach Shimmy Gray-Miller will be one of three featured WBB game analysts on BTN this year.