2002-03 men's basketball season recap
When the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball team beat Colorado Christian in its first game of the 2002-03 season, there was reason to hope that coach Ed Pipes' chemistry experiment was going to be a great success.
Pipes had recruited smarter, more savvy players instead of the more-athletic-but-less-refined players he had always relied upon. He then installed more offensive and defensive schemes than he had ever used previously. The 65-62 season-opening win seemed to validate the approach.
Like chemistry experiments often do, though, the mixture blew up.
The Mountain Lions lost 10 straight games. After defeating winless Western State in overtime, CU-Colorado Springs dropped seven of its next eight.
Sporting a dismal 3-17 record, the Mountain Lions couldn't be blamed for packing it in. Instead, they turned it on. Dustin Kelver scored 29 points in a 69-67 victory over cross-town rival Colorado College, then added 19 in a close loss at Southern Colorado. Casey Gutting and Shervon Ceromain carried the load the next game, an 89-78 win over New Mexico Highlands. They turned it back over to Kelver against Western State, and the guard poured in 27.
Just like that, a team on the ropes had won three out of four.
During that stretch, Jack Bain was dominant. The power forward averaged 13 points and 10.5 rebounds. He also frustrated opponents with his tenacious defense and uncompromising toughness.
The Mountain Lions lost a close game to Mesa State to close the season at 6-19, 4-15 in the RMAC. While the record was modest enough, the strong close gives a team with no seniors great optimism for future success.
That success will have to come without Pipes, who announced his resignation on May 1. Pipes coached CU-Colorado Springs for seven seasons, guiding the team to its only winning record in 2000-01. That season also marked the program's only postseason appearance.
Kelver finished the season sixth in the RMAC in scoring at 16.4 points per game, first in 3-pointers made with four per game and fourth in 3-pointer accuracy at 45.3 percent. Bain's 8.1 rebounds per game was the RMAC's sixth-best mark.
The task of turning the program around now falls upon Marty Fletcher, a veteran of 19 years as a Division I head coach, and the coach of the CU-Colorado Springs womenâ€TMs team this past season. Fletcher, who will have the unique triple role of men's basketball coach, women's basketball coach and assistant athletic director, will retain assistant coaches lance Hammond and Matthew Koscove.
The coaching staff should have ample talent from which to draw, since last year's team had no seniors and an exciting recruiting class is already being assembled.
Fletcher and his staff will provide next year's team expert, experienced leadership. Armed with a solid returning core and a good recruiting class, the Mountain Lions will also have talent and character.
Leadership, talent and character. Sounds like good chemistry.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured