The good news for Arkansas-Pine Bluff is that it starts the men’s basketball season tonight in paradise.
The bad news is Daniel Broughton won’t be in the lineup.
The junior from Watson Chapel, who’s the first-team Preseason All-SWAC center, is still recovering from a surgical procedure he underwent to clean up his injured knee, so he won’t be on the floor when the Golden Lions open their season against Houston Baptist in the first game of the University of Hawaii’s Rainbow Classic.
The Classic is a four-team round robin event that also includes host Hawaii and Maryland-Eastern Shore. It’s the 48th renewal of the event and first after going on hiatus last year.
None of the Classic teams posted a winning record in the 2011-12 season. Hawaii had the winningest mark at 16-16, followed by UAPB’s 11-21, Houston Baptist’s 10-20 and Eastern Shore’s 7-23.
So the Lions are hoping to come out of the gate faster than the Huskies tonight.
“They’re kind of a team that likes to get up and down,” UAPB coach George Ivory said of Houston Baptist. “I think we match up pretty good with them.”
Houston Baptist is a Division I team entering its final season in the Great West Conference before moving to the Southland Conference. Four starters are returning for the Huskies, who enter their 22nd season under head coach and former Arkansas assistant Ron Cottrell.
Sophomore guard Tyler Russell led the Huskies in their only exhibition game, a 108-47 win over Hillsdale Baptist on Saturday, with 16 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Marcus Davis and junior forward Art Bernardi also scored in double figures.
UAPB goes into the season without having played an exhibition, which Ivory doesn’t think will be a negative factor.
“You’ve got a veteran club almost,” he said. “I just think if we constantly keep playing, we’re going to get better throughout the season.”
For UAPB, senior Terrell Kennedy will start at center in his first game since redshirting last season with a broken hand. He’s one of three Lions starters for tonight who’ve been with the program but did not play last year.
Junior forward Davon Haynes, the 6-foot-8 transfer from Bowling Green, sat out all of last season due to NCAA rules but is expected to turn heads for UAPB. Sophomore Tevin Hammond of Little Rock also redshirted last season after a year at Holmes Community College in Mississippi, but will run the point.
Preseason All-SWAC second-teamer Mitchell Anderson and senior classmate Lazabian Jackson round out the starting five at the 2- and 3-guards.
UAPB vs. Houston Baptist
• What: Men’s basketball season opener for both teams in Rainbow Classic
• When: 8:30 p.m. Central today (4:30 p.m. Hawaii time)
• Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu
• Next in Classic UAPB at Hawaii, 9 p.m. Central Sunday; UAPB vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore, 8 p.m. Monday