Nov. 4, 2002
STOWERS-LED NKU AIMS FOR NCAAs
Norse senior guard keys 2002-03 team
By Chris Cole, NKU Media Relations Director
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Northern Kentucky University senior guard Brenden Stowers knows all about greatness. He understands the complexities of college basketball, and he knows what it takes to win.
It all comes naturally to him. Its in his blood.
In fact, Stowers enters the 2002-03 basketball season hoping and fully expecting to carry on a family tradition. Like his father before him, Brenden has become the key to the NKU basketball program.
Jeff Stowers, Brendens dad, was one of the first great Norse basketball players from 1972-76. Today, 26 years after his departure, Jeff is a member of NKUs Athletics Hall of Fame and remains one of the schools Top 10 all-time scorers. He is the only player in that group who shot better than 50 percent from the field during his career.
Brenden Stowers enters his senior season with high hopes and even higher expectations of replicating his fathers performance. After a junior season in which he scored 13.2 points per game and led the team with 89 assists and 53 steals, Stowers has become the go-to guy for head coach Ken Shields.
Brenden really found his game last season, Shields said. He has improved in every aspect of his game. He is such a good shooter, but he also controls the offense.
Gone are Craig Sanders (20.3 ppg and NKUs all-time leading scorer) and Carl Mitchell (13.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg), who helped lead the Norse to a 19-8 record and the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament last season. Stowers, however, will not be alone in his quest to return the Norse to the NCAA Tournament. He is joined by a strong cast of returners and a number of key newcomers.
Senior forward Bobby St-Preux appeared in all 27 games last season and started 23. He shot an impressive 57.1 percent from the field and averaged 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. St-Preux also added 40 assists, 39 steals and 21 blocked shots for the Norse.
Bobby possesses outstanding leaping ability and driving expertise, Shields said. The 6-6 forward can score from outside or penetrate for one of his crowd-thrilling signature dunks. He will be a big part of our offense this year, Shields added.
Mike Kelsey stepped in as a freshman last season and immediately challenged for a starting spot. He appeared in every game and started 17 times. Kelsey averaged 7.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest and tallied 46 assists. He connected on 42 three-point attempts and also added 18 steals.
Mike played so well as a freshman last year, Shields said. For a freshman to be able to come in - especially in this league - and produce is really tremendous.
Jesse Rupe returns after a sophomore campaign in which he averaged 5.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. At 6-10, Rupe joins newcomer Chris Seabrooks as the teams tallest presence under the basket.
Rupe shot 58.4 percent from the floor last year and blocked 13 shots. His 12 points and 10 rebounds helped the Norse secure a critical overtime victory against Southern Indiana in December.
The Stowers impact will not end with Brenden this year. Younger brother Jordan also returns after a freshman campaign in which he shot a team-high 65.4 percent from the field.
Jordan played in every game last year and started three times. He scored 1.7 points and added 1.6 rebounds per contest. He also dished out 33 assists and added 14 steals.
Jordan is the purest point guard we have on this team, Shields said. He gave us very valuable minutes as a freshman and will contribute more this year.
Sean Rowland (0.6 ppg, 0.6 rpg) and Josh Murphy (0.5 ppg, 0.7 rpg) also return for the Norse this season. Both gave the team solid minutes off the bench a year ago and will add tremendous depth this season.
If youre talking about pure size and strength, NKU may have never had anyone like Chris Seabrooks. The transfer from the University of Pittsburgh is 6-foot-10, 250-pounds of pure muscle. He will give the Norse a presence in the paint that opponents should struggle against.
While at Pitt in 1999-2000, Seabrooks averaged 10.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and had 30 blocked shots. In 2000-01, Seabrooks averaged 6.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in seven games for the Panthers. He also shot 64.3 percent from the field that season. He sat out as a redshirt last year.
Chris is as big and strong as anyone in the GLVC, Shields said. Once he gets going, he's going to be hard to stop.
Quentin Smith (6-5, 225 pounds) transferred from Morehead State, where he averaged 5.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in 1999-2000. Prior to Morehead State, Smith averaged 17.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game at Cincinnati State in 1998-99. He was named the Region 12 Most Valuable Player in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference and was a member of the All-Region 12 first team.
His strength and scoring ability will make him one of NKUs top weapons this season. He, along with Seabrooks, could challenge for All-GLVC honors.
I really look for Quentin to have an excellent season," Shields said. He can do so many things on the floor.
Adam Howell (6-3, 195 pounds) gives NKU a solid scoring threat from the outside. In one season (1999-2000) at Ohio University, Howell connected on 7 of 20 three-point attempts to average 1.0 point per game.
Adam is a very solid player, and I expect him to be a valuable addition to this team, Shields said. He can really shoot from the outside, and he is going to help us.
Chris Ruther (6-7, 230 pounds) will give Shields yet another option at the post. A transfer from Wabash Valley, Ruther averaged 9.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 65.4 percent from the floor in one season at Wabash.
Pat Cary (6-9, 250 pounds) averaged 12.3 points per last season at Wilmington (Ohio) College. The junior center can also shoot from outside.
NKU also brought in three freshmen - Brian Lewin, Kevin Schappell and Kevin Reinhardt - this season. Lewin is a Covington Catholic High School graduate who averaged 16.8 points as a senior. He was named to the Northern Kentucky Coaches Association Division I All-Star Team.
Schappell, a graduate of Loveland High School, averaged 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He was a two-time All-State performer in Ohio.
Reinhardt is the all-time leading scorer in Campbell County High School history. He averaged 23.5 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Camels, leading them to a pair of district crowns and a regional title.