Team preview: Jacksonville
Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)COACH AND PROGRAM
When Cliff Warren met his mentor Paul Hewitt at halfcourt after Georgia Tech's 92-67 drubbing of Warren's Jacksonville squad last season, Hewitt had some words of advice for his protégé: Get some players.
Times were indeed lean for the Dolphins last year. A season-ending injury to starting point guard Jesse Kimbrough (13.6 ppg, 5.9 apg) early in the year proved to be too much for the young squad to overcome. After capturing Warren's first career win early in the season against North Florida, Jacksonville failed to win again the rest of the way.
But if you think last year's struggles have Warren worried, think again.
There's an old saying among college basketball coaches: It's not about the Xs and Os, it's about the Jimmys and Joes, and Warren has proven that he can go out and get quality players.
Warren was instrumental in recruiting the Georgia Tech team that made it to the national championship game in 2004 and was consistently chosen one of the game's top recruiters in his time as an assistant coach.
So even after a 1-26 season, the worst mark in school history, Warren said he has felt nothing but encouragement from the administration.
"They were very, very supportive all throughout the year last year," he said.
While the Dolphins will be even younger this year than they were last season, there has been some good news as Jacksonville looks to the future.
First off, plans were announced for Jacksonville to play 11 home games downtown at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
Warren said the move to the state-of-the-art facility that hosted NCAA Tournament games last year helps his program in a multitude of ways.
"It will help showcase our current players, help us recruit new players and get the Jacksonville community more involved with our program," he said. "It puts us on an even playing field against the schools we recruit against."
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