Newsroom

Excerpt:
The following is from the July 15, 2007, edition of The Dallas Morning News.


SMU’s fortune might be riding on 7

Doherty's freshman class wants to revive basketball at SMU

By KATE HAIROPOULOS
The Dallas Morning News

UNIVERSITY PARK – The odd couple of Bennie Rhodes, the self-described city guy from Oakland, Calif., and Tomasz Kwiatkowski, the 7-1 native of Poland, roomed together in the dorm.

And from morning till night during June summer school, they hung out on the SMU campus with the rest of the diverse, seven-player basketball recruiting class.

They got to know Papa Dia, a highly recruited power forward from Senegal. Mike Walker and Ryan Harp, coaches' sons from Iowa and West Texas, and Robert Nyakundi and Alex Malone, locals from Arlington and Mansfield, rounded out the crew.

SMU coach Matt Doherty would see them together and smile. They make up essentially his first recruiting class here. And even as the recruiting craze for next year's players endures this month, it's likely these freshmen will define the second-year coach's tenure on the Hilltop.

When they return to school full time in August, they'll be trying to turn around a program that hasn't won a conference title since 1993, hasn't had a winning record since 2003 and drew an average of only 1,838 fans in 2006-07.

"Seven, that's a lot of freshmen," said Harp, a 6-4 guard from Abilene Cooper. "Seven players is enough to change a whole program. We can really make an impact on this school and this basketball program.

"We can do something pretty cool."

Read the full story.

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