University at Buffalo basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon would appreciate a little stability for a change.
The program had little last year. Embattled coach Tim Cohane resigned under pressure in December, leaving for Witherspoon a team in disarray. Only five players from that squad have stuck around since Witherspoon came aboard, and one of those was hurt all year.
Witherspoon's first recruiting class also has gone through upheaval. Four of his original seven signees didn't academically qualify and are not enrolled at UB.
UB on Friday announced 6-foot-7 forward Carlos Gill and 6-2 guard Brian Kennedy won't play for the Bulls. Three new players, however, have been brought aboard.
The school also revealed its self-imposed sanctions stemming from alleged violations while Cohane was coach and announced its 2000-01 season schedule.
Gill was a transfer from Brown Mackie (Kan.) Junior College, where he averaged 18.5 points and 10.1 rebounds a game.
Kennedy, considered possibly the best recruit of the group, picked UB over several other Mid-American Conference schools, including Kent. The Wisconsin native sat out much of his senior year of high school because of transfer rules, but averaged 17 points and nine rebounds as a junior.
"Our challenge," Witherspoon said in a press release, "was to recruit student-athletes who could not only qualify in the Mid-American Conference, but who could also meet the high academic standards of the University at Buffalo and do that while getting a late start in the recruiting process.
"In the end, our coaching staff is very pleased and excited about the team we have assembled."
Previously dropped from the Bulls' roster were would-be freshmen Amadou Koundoul, a 6-7 center from Senegal, and Carlton Dotson, a 6-7 forward from Hurlock, Md.
The departures allowed for the late addition of freshman Jason Walcott from Toronto. The 6-5 swingman averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds and three assists a game as a senior at Vaughn Secondary.
"Jason brings to us a player with tremendous athletic ability and a great (work) ethic," Witherspoon said. "He will have an opportunity to contribute to this team right away."
Also added to the team were a pair of local walk-ons.
O'Tes Alston, a 6-6 forward from Lackawanna High, most recently played at Morgan State. The former All-Western New York performer has one season of eligibility and can play immediately.
Karl Rainey, a 6-4 freshman forward from Riverside High, averaged 26 points and eight rebounds as a senior.
In addition to the aforementioned, Witherspoon's first enrolled recruiting class includes Robert Brown, Gabe Cagwin, Jason Robinson, Kevin Swoffer, Joe Veal and Darcel Williams, all of whom are transfers, making Walcott the lone freshman on scholarship.
Williams is the only new face who cannot play this season. The Traditional grad who played for Witherspoon at Erie Community College before moving on to Eastern Kentucky, has one season of eligibility left after sitting out 2000-01.
The returning Bulls are Louis Campbell, Damien Foster, Davis Lawrence, Maliso Libomi and Clement Smith. Libomi redshirted last season because of a knee injury.
As reported, UB has placed constraints on its next recruiting class while an NCAA investigation is pending.
The Bulls have forfeited a scholarship for the 2000-01 season. It has cut the number of official campus visits potential recruits can make and has reduced from two to one the number of coaches who can be on the road recruiting at any given time during the current academic year.
The program also delayed practice by two weeks, postponing individual workouts until Sept. 15 and full team workouts until Nov. 1.
That gives little time to prepare for its Nov. 17 season .opener against Niagara at Alumni Arena, which tops off a doubleheader featuring a women's game between UB and North Carolina.
Other highlights on the men's 27-game regular-season schedule: a home-and-home series with Canisius Nov. 20 (Koessler Athletic Center) and Nov. 30 (Alumni Arena); a Dec. 5 meeting with Duquesne to be held in conjunction with a Dick Vitale speaking engagement; and a Dec. 17 game at Final Four entrant North Carolina.
UB's conference slate tips off Dec. 30 at Marshall.