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Getting to know: UC Davis basketball

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UC Davis head coach Jim Les fires up his players as he prepares to cut the net after his team's 50-47 win against UC Irvine in an NCAA college basketball game for the championship of the Big West tournament Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

UC Davis head coach Jim Les fires up his players as he prepares to cut the net after his team's 50-47 win against UC Irvine in an NCAA college basketball game for the championship of the Big West tournament Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

It took a few extra days, but the Kansas basketball team finally learned of its first-round opponent in the NCAA Tournament: UC Davis.

The Big West champions advanced to the 64-team bracket with a 67-63 victory over N.C Central in their First Four matchup Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.

“I think our guys are great about, as we prepare for a team, respecting all of our opponents,” UC Davis coach Jim Les said. “And we'll do that. But we also like our competitiveness, and feel like in a one-game situation, we're going to come, we're going to play hard, we're going to compete and let the chips fall where they may. So we're excited for this opportunity. And we'll concede nothing. But we'll be ready.”

Les coached Bradley, his alma mater, to an upset victory in 2006, propelling the Braves to a Sweet 16 run.

“When that ball goes up on Friday, I'm not going to be thinking about what seeds — we're going to be playing basketball, competing at basketball,” Les said. “And, like I said, the chips will fall where they may. But we're glad to be here, but we're not satisfied by any means.”

Interesting note: The Aggies feature two Kansas natives on their roster: senior Georgi Funtarov and sophomore Siler Schneider. Funtarov, from Bulgaria, played at Lawrence Free State and Lawrence-Bishop Seabury in high school. Schneider starred for Lansing.

Series history: It’s the first meeting between the two schools. In the NCAA Tournament, No. 1 seeds own an 128-0 record against No. 16 seeds.

UC DAVIS STARTERS

No. 2 — G Darius Graham | 5-10, 180, sr.

UC Davis' Darius Graham (2) looks to pass against North Carolina Central's Rashaun Madison (3) during the second half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis won 67-63.

UC Davis' Darius Graham (2) looks to pass against North Carolina Central's Rashaun Madison (3) during the second half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis won 67-63.

  • Started all 34 games, averaging 7.5 points and a team-best 3.2 assists per game. Graham boasts a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio.

  • With more than half of his shots from behind the 3-point arc, Graham shooting 38 percent from deep. He’s a 41 percent shooter from the field and makes 76.4 percent of his free throws.

  • Known as a relentless defender with plenty of speed and quickness, Graham has snagged 19 steals in 34 games.

  • Before every game he kisses his hands, touches his shoes where his grandfather's name is and points up to the sky.

  • QUOTE: “I told my dad before the season that this was going to be a special year,” Graham said. “On Father’s Day, I wrote him a letter, telling him I was dedicating the season to him and I wanted to do as well as I could to honor him.”

No. 0 — G Brynton Lemar | 6-4, 195, sr.

UC Davis' Brynton Lemar (0) celebrates after the team's First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament against North Carolina Central, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis won 67-63.

UC Davis' Brynton Lemar (0) celebrates after the team's First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament against North Carolina Central, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis won 67-63.

  • A first-team All-Big West selection, Lemar led the Aggies by averaging 16 points on 42 percent shooting, adding 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He ranked third in the conference in scoring.

  • UC Davis’ top 3-point threat, Lemar is shooting 38 percent from deep, taking more than half of his shots from the outsdie. He’s a 76 percent free-throw shooter.

  • Pronunciation: BRIN-ton LUH-mar. Lemar became the 22nd player in school history to pass the 1,000 point milestone. The San Diego native helped his high school, St. Augustine, to a CIF Div. III state title in 2013.

  • His father, Earl, was a member of Jamaica’s national water polo team in high school. But a lack of funding didn’t allow the team to compete in international competition.

  • QUOTE: “Brynton is not going to wow you with high-flying dunks, but after every game, just look at his stat line,” Les said. “He does a little bit of everything.”

No. 1 — G Lawrence White | 6-4, 203, sr.

UC Davis' Lawrence White (1) celebrates after a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis defeated North Carolina Central 67-63.

UC Davis' Lawrence White (1) celebrates after a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis defeated North Carolina Central 67-63.

  • A transfer from Antelope Valley College, White is averaging 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

  • White leads the Aggies with 34 steals this season. He ranks second with 26 blocks.

  • According to hoop-math.com, White is one of the team’s best finishers around the rim. He’s converted on 61 percent of his layups/dunks, which has helped him shoot 43 percent from the field.

  • Helped Antelope CC to a Western State Conference South title — the first championship of any kind captured by the program in six years.

  • QUOTE: “We want to be aggressive using that athleticism defensively,” Les said. “That defense gets us out in the open floor where (Chima Moneke and White) can make some spectacular plays.”

No. 11 — F Chima Moneke | 6-6, 223, jr.

UC Davis' Chima Moneke (11) shoots against North Carolina Central's Pablo Rivas (13) and Kyle Benton (25) during the second half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis won 67-63.

UC Davis' Chima Moneke (11) shoots against North Carolina Central's Pablo Rivas (13) and Kyle Benton (25) during the second half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis won 67-63.

  • The Big West’s Newcomer of the Year, a Northeast CC transfer, averages 14.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. He leads the team with 50 blocked shots. He was named first-team all-Big West, the only non-senior to receive that honor.

  • Moneke, a Nigeria native, plays with goggles because he’s nearsighted and hates wearing contacts.

  • He shoots 52 percent from the floor and 64 percent at the free-throw line.

  • Pronunciation: CHEE-muh Moe-neck-E. His full name takes up extra lines on his driver’s license: Nwachukwu Ikeukwumere Chima Moneke. His parents are Nigerian diplomats and he’s lived in Australia, Turkey, Switzerland, France and England.

  • QUOTE: “Sometimes other players will look at me when we walk out on the court and just start laughing,” Chima Moneke said of his goggles. “One guy in the stands kept yelling at me, ‘Hey, four eyes!’ So I was like, ‘OK, watch this.’ I made some big plays, and every time I did, I just stared at him. He was giving me the thumbs-up by the end of the game. It made me laugh.”

No. 13 — F J.T. Adenrele | 6-7, 235, sr.

  • He missed two seasons, including all of last year, with ACL tears to each knee.

  • Adenrele, a Roseville, Calif., native, averages 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per game.

  • According to hoop-math.com, Adenrele shoots 60 percent of his shots around the rim for layups/dunks. He’s made 54 percent of those shots.

  • Pronunciation: UH-den-RUH-lay. His parents are from Nigeria.

  • QUOTE: “He just finds a knack in games to make plays that are game-changing plays,” Les said. “The stats don’t tell the story but, if you watch him and watch him in crunch time, he’s invaluable to this team and a big reason why we are where we are.”

UC DAVIS BENCH

No. 5 — G Siler Schneider | 6-3, 183, soph.

  • The Big West’s Sixth Man of the Year, Schneider averages 10.5 points off of the bench in 23.4 minutes per game. He received a Big West honorable mention postseason honor.

  • Schneider, from Lansing, Kan., shoots 35 percent from deep and 40 percent from the field. He won a Kansas state title in 2014.

  • Spent the 2014-15 season at the Air Force Academy Prep School before committing to UC Davis.

No. 44 — F Garrison Goode | 6-7, 225, soph.

North Carolina Central's Pablo Rivas, center, and UC Davis' Garrison Goode, left, scramble for a wild ball during the second half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis won 67-63.

North Carolina Central's Pablo Rivas, center, and UC Davis' Garrison Goode, left, scramble for a wild ball during the second half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. UC Davis won 67-63.

  • Known for his defense and rebounding, Goode grabs 3.9 rebounds in 21.5 minutes off of the bench, ranking third on the team with 37 offensive boards. He averages 2.5 points.

  • Against N.C. Central in the First Four on Wednesday, Goode grabbed four rebounds and scored four points.

  • His father, Andre, played basketball at Northwestern. His older sister, Krystalyn, played volleyball at Michigan, helping the Wolverines to the Final Four during her freshman season.

No. 4 — G Arell Hennings | 5-8, 150, jr.

North Carolina Central's Rashaun Madison (3) defends against UC Davis' Arell Hennings (4) during the first half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

North Carolina Central's Rashaun Madison (3) defends against UC Davis' Arell Hennings (4) during the first half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • The Seattle native has averaged 1.9 points and 1.0 assists in 8.3 minutes per game.

  • In the First Four on Wednesday, Hennings played four minutes with one rebound, one assist and two turnovers against N.C. Central.

  • Transferred from Cochise College. He averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game, helping his team to a NJCAA title.

No. 24 — F Mikey Henn | 6-8, 230, fr.

  • Averaging 4.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in 13.3 minutes off of the bench.

  • Scored five points with one rebound and three turnovers against N.C. Central in the First Four matchup Wednesday in 11 minutes.

  • Jerry Vermillio, his great uncle, played basketball at Gonzaga. Cousins Zach Gordon and Ryan McDade also played basketball for Cal Poly and Northern Arizona, respectively.

Comments

Craig Alexander 1 week, 4 days ago

Pound it inside to Lucas. Lucas gets a double double.

Mike Kendall 1 week, 4 days ago

No doubt, Craig. Clear a lane for Josh--make some posters!!!!

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