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Battle thinks highly of Collins, Coomes

(8/9/03)

Kenny Battle, a former member of the 1988-89 Flyin’ Illini team that made the Final Four, was named head men’s basketball coach at the Illinois Institute of Technology last week.

Battle played two years at Illinois after playing two seasons at Northern Illinois. He also had a four-year NBA career.

Battle was hired to help gain the IIT program, which is NAIA Division I, some notoriety, and more importantly some victories.

The soft-spoken 38-year old Battle said that he would use traits from all his coaching mentors, including UIC head coach Jimmy Collins and Flames assistant Mark Coomes, who coached Battle at Illinois, along with Lou Henson and Dick Nagy. He wouldn’t be afraid to consult the Flames coaching staff for advice as needed.

“I’d definitely talk to Coach Collins,” Battle said. “With all the resources I have [locally], I’m definitely going to reach out. Coach Collins and Coach Coomes at UIC are guys that I’m going to be taking to. Coach Collins was in the same situation at UIC five years ago, starting out fresh.”

Battle, ironically enough, takes the reins of the Scarlet Hawks program from former UIC coach Ed McQuillan. McQuillan coached the then-Chikas program (1972-76) and had a 120-312 record at IIT for the past 16 years.

McGEE ON FLAMES SUMMER ROSTER: Former Farragut star Marcetteaus McGee was included on the roster of the UIC summer basketball prospectus.

McGee signed a letter of intent with the University of Wisconsin in the spring of 2002, but left the Madison campus after being charged with second-degree sexual assault. The charge was pled down to third-degree assault and it will dropped from his record if McGee completes a one-year first-time offender program. He was released from his Wisconsin scholarship by Badgers coach Bo Ryan last summer.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 155-pound guard was an All-State special mention selection in the Chicago Tribune after helping to lead the Admirals, along current Flames teammate Elliott Poole, to a 22-10 record. McGee averaged 16 points and six assists per game in his senior season under the tutelage of coach William “Wolf” Nelson.

McGee enrolled for classes in the spring semester and was expected to be offered a scholarship, according to Nelson. No official word has been given on whether McGee will be a scholarship player or a walk-on.

He joins numerous other Chicago Public League alumni on the UIC roster, including Poole, Westinghouse’s Cedrick Banks and Martell Bailey, Austin’s Armond Williams, Lincoln Park’s Aaron Carr, Marshall’s Justin Bowen, and Young’s Josh Williams and Brandon Allen.

A summer roster can be reached by clicking here.

SCHEDULE NEARING COMPLETION: The Flames schedule is nearly complete as the team still needs to add one more non-conference game. The highlights including a “home” game against Illinois at the United Center on Dec. 30, a game at the Pavilion against Northwestern on Dec. 20, a Bracket Buster game at the Pavilion on Feb. 21, and an appearance in the season-opening Black Coaches Association Classic in Cincinnati.

The Flames also play in the Hawkeye Classic at the University of Iowa Dec. 5-6. UIC opens Horizon League play with Wisconsin-Milwaukee at U.S. Cellular Arena Dec. 23 and closes the regular season with a home game against Butler Feb. 28.

The complete schedule will be officially released in the coming weeks, but for a tentative schedule, click here.

Some of the times are also tentative and could change for television or radio broadcasts.

FARMER BATTLING FOR NFL LIFE: Former Flames walk-on Steve Farmer is in training camp with the Minnesota Vikings, looking to earn a roster spot as a back-up tight end.

Vikings coach Mike Tice often employs a two tight-end offense, so there is an opportunity for Farmer.

One likely starter, Byron Chamberlain, was suspended for the first four games of the regular season, because of a positive test for the banned stimulant ephedra.

Farmer, a Michigan City, Ind. native, was a back-up forward for the Flames in 1998-99 as the team went 7-21. He left UIC for Joliet Junior College before transferring to Tennessee State.

“With Byron’s situation, that’s an opportunity for me, so I’m trying to take advantage of it,” Farmer said last week in an Associated Press report. “Bottom line: Can you help this team win? That’s what I try to do.”

He will compete for time with veterans Jim Kleinsasser and Hunter Goodwin and fellow rookies Sean Berton of North Carolina State and Jeff Kostrewa of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

In other recent news:
Flames to open season at BCA Classic (7/08/03)
Q&A: Flames head coach Jimmy Collins (6/30/03)
McGee's future in question; schedule news; Horizon apology (5/08/03)
Year-end banquet celebrates accomplishments and awards (5/06/03)