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Today in Blazer History 4 For 40 - Celebrating 40 years of UAB Basketball - Episode 1
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Memphis Blazer Offline
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Post: #1
Today in Blazer History 4 For 40 - Celebrating 40 years of UAB Basketball - Episode 1
15 years ago, in honor of 25 years of UAB basketball, I started posting essays on Blazertalk called Today in Blazer History. For the 30th anniversary, throughout the season, I listed who I thought the 30 best players were, the 30 best games and I listed the best Blazer seasons from 1 to 30. At least I tried. I think I flamed out sometime around the first of March. For the record, I picked Steve Mitchell as the best player, the 1982 UAB - Virginia game as the best game and the 1981-1982 Elite Eight team as the best team.

I wanted Today in Blazer History to do something to commemorate UAB’s 40th basketball anniversary, but I didn’t want to do the same thing, a season long countdown. For one thing, I needed something a little more manageable and less time consuming. So I came up with 4 for 40, which will run through the 2018-2019 basketball season in honor of the 40th anniversary of UAB basketball.

4 for 40 will be 40 reports, running twice a week throughout the season, probably on Mondays and Thursdays. They will be lists of four, each mostly concentrating on a topic for a particular decade. I’m breaking it down by decade so that whether you have followed UAB from the start or became a fan later on, there will be someone or some game you can identify with. We will start with the Top scorers by decade. Some, such as this will be quantitative, some will be subjective, my opinion. My hope is that for long time fans like myself, these lists will bring back great memories. For newer fans, I hope you learn from UAB's rich basketball tradition.

And now
4 for 40

*a note: players will belong to the decade they finished in. So a player that played from 1985-1989 will be placed in the second decade which runs from 1988-1998.

Top scorers from the First decade 1978-1988

UAB basketball began November 24, 1978. By the fourth season, the Blazers were in the Elite Eight. UAB’s rise in the 1980’s was one of college basketball’s biggest story, according to Dick Vitale. Between 1981-1987, they appeared in every NCAA tournament. They appeared in two Sweet 16’s and an Elite Eight. They were led by the four players listed below, the top four scorers of UAB’s first decade.

1. Steve Mitchell (1982-1986)
With 1867 points, Steve Mitchell is the all-time leading UAB scorer. He was a three-time First Team All-Conference player in the Sun Belt, the only Blazer ever to be on the 1st Team for three years. His best year was his junior year when he scored 616 points, averaging 18.1 points a game. His best game came in his senior year against Arkansas State when he scored 33 points. Steve Mitchell was an Honorable Mention All-American in 1986. Mitchell was drafted by the Washington Bullets in the 1986 draft in the second round, 36th overall. He was not signed and played overseas for several years before returning to Birmingham, to go to work for UAB. He is currently the color analyst for UAB radio broadcasts.

2. Oliver Robinson (1978-1982)
Oliver Robinson was Gene Bartow’s first signee at UAB. He is UAB’s 5th leading scorer all time, scoring 1577 points during UAB’s first four years of existence. Robinson was a two-time First Team All-Conference player in the Sun Belt Conference. During the 1981-82 season, he was the Sun Belt Player of the Year and Tournament MVP. That year he led the Blazers to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament, narrowly missing the Final Four in UAB’s fourth year ever. Robinson scored 655 points that year, averaging 21.1 points a game. Oliver Robinson leads all Blazers in most points scored in the NCAA tournament, scoring 117 points in 6 tournament games. Robinson was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1982 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs. He played one year for the Spurs, averaging 2.9 points per game. He returned to Alabama where he was a state representative for many years.

3. Jerome Mincy (1982-1986)
Although Steve Mitchell had the better career at UAB, Jerome Mincy was the prize recruit out of Memphis in 1982 when Gene Bartow signed him and Mitchell to come to play at UAB. They were rivals in high school, but together at UAB, they were an unstoppable duo. Mincy, a power forward scored 1473 points for UAB and is 9th on the All-time scoring list. He often took over scoring when Mitchell was double or triple-teamed. His best game was a 27 point outing against Charles Barkley and Auburn in his sophomore year. During his senior year, he was 1st Team All Sun Belt and was named an Honorable Mention for the All-American Team. Mincy was drafted by New York Knicks in the 1986 NBA draft, but did not make the active roster. He returned to Puerto Rico, where he was born and played professional basketball. He also joined the Puerto Rican National Basketball team and led the team to four Olympic Games as well as other international competitions, including a landmark defeat of the United States National team in the 1992 Pan-American Games.

4. James Ponder (1983-1987)
The fourth top scorer in UAB’s first decade was James Ponder, who scored 1363 points and is 14th on UAB’s All-Time top scorers list. During Ponder’s four years at UAB, the Blazers won 94 games, the most ever over a four year period, making Ponder UAB’s winningest player ever. He played in the shadows of Mitchell and Mincy his first three years at UAB, but had a standout senior year, averaging 15.5 points a game and leading the Blazers to an upset victory over Western Kentucky to win the 1987 Sun Belt Tournament. He was 2nd team All Conference for the 1986-87 season.
11-05-2018 08:20 AM
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BlazrDawg Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Today in Blazer History 4 For 40 - Celebrating 40 years of UAB Basketball - Episode 1
Thanks for all your articles in the past and THANKS for continuing for Yr 40!
11-05-2018 01:00 PM
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the_blazerman Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Today in Blazer History 4 For 40 - Celebrating 40 years of UAB Basketball - Episode 1
I probably wouldn't have guessed that Ponder was the most winningest player in our history. Makes sense though.
11-05-2018 01:38 PM
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UAB Schnauzer Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Today in Blazer History 4 For 40 - Celebrating 40 years of UAB Basketball - Episode 1
(11-05-2018 08:20 AM)Memphis Blazer Wrote:  15 years ago, in honor of 25 years of UAB basketball, I started posting essays on Blazertalk called Today in Blazer History. For the 30th anniversary, throughout the season, I listed who I thought the 30 best players were, the 30 best games and I listed the best Blazer seasons from 1 to 30. At least I tried. I think I flamed out sometime around the first of March. For the record, I picked Steve Mitchell as the best player, the 1982 UAB - Virginia game as the best game and the 1981-1982 Elite Eight team as the best team.

I wanted Today in Blazer History to do something to commemorate UAB’s 40th basketball anniversary, but I didn’t want to do the same thing, a season long countdown. For one thing, I needed something a little more manageable and less time consuming. So I came up with 4 for 40, which will run through the 2018-2019 basketball season in honor of the 40th anniversary of UAB basketball.

4 for 40 will be 40 reports, running twice a week throughout the season, probably on Mondays and Thursdays. They will be lists of four, each mostly concentrating on a topic for a particular decade. I’m breaking it down by decade so that whether you have followed UAB from the start or became a fan later on, there will be someone or some game you can identify with. We will start with the Top scorers by decade. Some, such as this will be quantitative, some will be subjective, my opinion. My hope is that for long time fans like myself, these lists will bring back great memories. For newer fans, I hope you learn from UAB's rich basketball tradition.

And now
4 for 40

*a note: players will belong to the decade they finished in. So a player that played from 1985-1989 will be placed in the second decade which runs from 1988-1998.

Top scorers from the First decade 1978-1988

UAB basketball began November 24, 1978. By the fourth season, the Blazers were in the Elite Eight. UAB’s rise in the 1980’s was one of college basketball’s biggest story, according to Dick Vitale. Between 1981-1987, they appeared in every NCAA tournament. They appeared in two Sweet 16’s and an Elite Eight. They were led by the four players listed below, the top four scorers of UAB’s first decade.

1. Steve Mitchell (1982-1986)
With 1867 points, Steve Mitchell is the all-time leading UAB scorer. He was a three-time First Team All-Conference player in the Sun Belt, the only Blazer ever to be on the 1st Team for three years. His best year was his junior year when he scored 616 points, averaging 18.1 points a game. His best game came in his senior year against Arkansas State when he scored 33 points. Steve Mitchell was an Honorable Mention All-American in 1986. Mitchell was drafted by the Washington Bullets in the 1986 draft in the second round, 36th overall. He was not signed and played overseas for several years before returning to Birmingham, to go to work for UAB. He is currently the color analyst for UAB radio broadcasts.

2. Oliver Robinson (1978-1982)
Oliver Robinson was Gene Bartow’s first signee at UAB. He is UAB’s 5th leading scorer all time, scoring 1577 points during UAB’s first four years of existence. Robinson was a two-time First Team All-Conference player in the Sun Belt Conference. During the 1981-82 season, he was the Sun Belt Player of the Year and Tournament MVP. That year he led the Blazers to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament, narrowly missing the Final Four in UAB’s fourth year ever. Robinson scored 655 points that year, averaging 21.1 points a game. Oliver Robinson leads all Blazers in most points scored in the NCAA tournament, scoring 117 points in 6 tournament games. Robinson was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1982 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs. He played one year for the Spurs, averaging 2.9 points per game. He returned to Alabama where he was a state representative for many years.

3. Jerome Mincy (1982-1986)
Although Steve Mitchell had the better career at UAB, Jerome Mincy was the prize recruit out of Memphis in 1982 when Gene Bartow signed him and Mitchell to come to play at UAB. They were rivals in high school, but together at UAB, they were an unstoppable duo. Mincy, a power forward scored 1473 points for UAB and is 9th on the All-time scoring list. He often took over scoring when Mitchell was double or triple-teamed. His best game was a 27 point outing against Charles Barkley and Auburn in his sophomore year. During his senior year, he was 1st Team All Sun Belt and was named an Honorable Mention for the All-American Team. Mincy was drafted by New York Knicks in the 1986 NBA draft, but did not make the active roster. He returned to Puerto Rico, where he was born and played professional basketball. He also joined the Puerto Rican National Basketball team and led the team to four Olympic Games as well as other international competitions, including a landmark defeat of the United States National team in the 1992 Pan-American Games.

4. James Ponder (1983-1987)
The fourth top scorer in UAB’s first decade was James Ponder, who scored 1363 points and is 14th on UAB’s All-Time top scorers list. During Ponder’s four years at UAB, the Blazers won 94 games, the most ever over a four year period, making Ponder UAB’s winningest player ever. He played in the shadows of Mitchell and Mincy his first three years at UAB, but had a standout senior year, averaging 15.5 points a game and leading the Blazers to an upset victory over Western Kentucky to win the 1987 Sun Belt Tournament. He was 2nd team All Conference for the 1986-87 season.

thanks
11-06-2018 07:54 AM
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