Indiana cast-off Armon Basset, was sitting out the season as a transfer. Coach Mike Davis had gotten a verbal commitment from DeMarcus Cousins, one of the best big men in the 2009 recruiting class. It looked like UAB might be the best team in Alabama this year and in the future.
Then things started falling apart. In reverse.
DeMarcus Cousins refused to sign his National Letter of Intent (NLI) in the November early signing period. He wanted a specific clause freeing him from it if Mike Davis wasn't the coach of UAB. The UAB athletic director would only give a verbal promise that he would be given that freedom. Cousins refused to sign. Now, Cousins might still attend UAB even without the NLI, but he can entertain all offers up until that first day of class. It remains unclear whether Cousins will attend UAB or not.
The Blazers have struggled in the non-conference. They have lost important games to bolster an at-large resume to Oklahoma, Boston College and Cinci. Their best win came against Arizona when the Wildcats did all they could to help.
Yesterday the news started leaking that Armon Basset was returning home to Indiana and leaving the UAB program. Presumably, to try and play somewhere in his home state. While Basset had problems -- including failed drug tests at Indiana University -- he was still a talented guard. Another blow to the 2009 roster.
As if that wasn't enough, the 2008-09 season looks to be in doubt.
UAB's attempt to make Conference USA a two-bid league is about to take a hit because Jeremy Mayfield, Terrence Roderick and Ed Berrios will be ineligible for the second semester, a source close to the situation told CBSSports.com on Tuesday.That drops UAB to six scholarship players.
The source said all three are academic casualties.
Roderick (21.8 minutes per game) and Berrios (12.5 minutes per game) were key reserves, and Mayfield was supposed to join the team this month.
Mike Davis took a risk on a roster filled with academically shaky players and others with character issues. They were also very talented. It does little good if they never get on the court.
DeMarcus Cousins is looking very smart for not signing his NLI. With everything going wrong at once, it is the kind of implosion that could cost Mike Davis his job.