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Jeffers makes NBA debut

UTAH JAZZ SIGN EX-FLAMES STAR

March 9, 2010

Whoosh! photo

Othyus Jeffers is now a member of the Utah Jazz.

Othyus Jeffers is coming home on Tuesday night—as an NBA player.

When the Utah Jazz take the floor at the United Center against the Bulls, the former UIC star will be on the Jazz’s bench for his second NBA game.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound swingman was signed to a 10-day contract late last week and made his debut in Utah’s 107-85 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.

Jeffers scored his first career NBA basket on a layup in the final 2 minutes of the game. He finished with two points, a rebound and an assist.

Jeffers became the first former Flames player to see action in a regular-season game since Sherell Ford was with the Seattle Sonics in the 1995-96 season.

He was playing with the Iowa Energy of the NBA D-League and averaged 14.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest this season after playing briefly in Italy. He was also a D-League All-Star with Iowa last season, averaging 21.0 points and 9.0 rebounds.

Jeffers played for two seasons at UIC (his sophomore and junior seasons) before transferring to Robert Morris (Chicago) where he was the Sporting News’ NAIA Player of the Year.

He was First-Team All-Horizon League as a junior after averaging 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds. As a sophomore, he became the first and only player in UIC history to win a Newcomer of the Year award.

Jeffers is the cousin of Flames’ great and current assistant coach Mark Miller and played his high school basketball at Hubbard on Chicago’s Southwest side.

Bowen

BOWEN UPDATE: Another UIC alumnus is holding out hope for an NBA call-up. Justin Bowen, a former teammate of Jeffers, is currently playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League

The 6-foot-7 forward was traded from the Austin Toros on Feb. 28 after averaging 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in parts of three seasons with the team.

In his first five games with the Skyforce, Bowen has averaged 13.0 points and 4.4 rebounds. He is a teammate with former Loyola star David Bailey in Sioux Falls.

Banks

BANKS UPDATE: Former UIC star Cedrick Banks was recently named the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major All-Decade Team for 2000-09.

Banks, who is currently playing with Entente Orleans 45 in France, was one of 25 players selected.

The list includes several players who have made the NBA, such as J.J. Barea, Kyle Korver, Courtney Lee, Kevin Martin, Eric Maynor, Rodney Stuckey and Jason Thompson. San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and former Butler guard A.J. Graves also made the cut.

Banks is averaging 17.0 points per game for Entente this season.

2010-11 SCHEDULE NEWS: UIC will play in the 2010 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in a field that includes Illinois, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Texas as headliners. Other teams in the tournament are Charleston, Louisiana Tech, Navy, Rhode Island, Seattle, Toledo, and UC-Irvine.

The Flames are also slated to play the Fighting Illini at the United Center.

2010 HORIZON LEAGUE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

TUESDAY, MARCH 2 OPENING ROUND (at campus sites)

#3 Green Bay 81, #10 Youngstown State 67

#7 Detroit 89, #6 Valparaiso 82

#4 Milwaukee 73, #9 UIC 67

#5 Cleveland State 80, #8 Loyola 66

FRIDAY, MARCH 5 SECOND ROUND (at Butler)

#7 Detroit 62, #3 Green Bay 53

#4 Milwaukee 82, #5 Cleveland State 75

SATURDAY, MARCH 6 SEMIFINALS (at Butler)

#2 Wright State 69, #7 Detroit 50

#1 Butler 68, #4 Milwaukee 59

TUESDAY, MARCH 9 CHAMPIONSHIP (at Butler)

#2 Wright State (20-11) at #1 Butler (27-4)

In other recent news:
HORIZON TOURNEY: Time runs out on Flames’ season (at Milwaukee) (3/3/10)
Rough year continues: No Flames honored (Horizon awards) (3/2/10)
Panthers are party poopers (vs. Milwaukee, Senior Day) (2/28/10)
Flames ride 2nd-half crest (vs. Green Bay) (2/26/10)
Kreps, Stewart guide Flames to road win (at Evansville) (2/21/10)
Bulldogs just too much for Flames (at Butler) (2/18/10)
Very few highlights in another Flames loss (at Loyola) (2/14/10)
Road win evades Flames again (at Valpo) (2/9/10)
Flames exhale, snap 9-game skid (vs. Youngstown St.) (2/7/10)