|Monday, February 23, 1999||
Volume 64, Issue 99
Sykes and Friends tune it up for Rice tonight
to get UH back to the stars
By James Kinney
William Stringfellow thought that he would never become a Houston Cougar. That would have been a tragedy for the already suffering front court of Clyde Drexler's young team.
"I was going to come to Houston when I was a junior in high school," Stringfellow said, "but my parents did not really like the program back then."
If they did not like it then, they must surely love it now. "They come down from Austin at least every other game now," he said.
The muscular forward said he was ecstatic when he heard that Drexler would be the new coach. "I was in Fort Worth at my mom's place with my leg in a cast, and I was using crutches. When I heard the news, I jumped out of the chair, and I could have done a backflip. I was so excited."
Stringfellow has mastered basketball, and has nailed his classes down to the last subject. He has a passion for the stars and an complete understanding of science. His game theories have placed the 6-9, 215-pound forward as an NBA prospect and the leading rebounder in Conference USA.
This is his first full season of collegiate basketball, and he is making the most of it. He has played big games on offense, but his trademarks are defense and rebounding.
He alters shots with his quick leap and long arms. He averages 7.2 points per game, 9.4 rebounds and almost two blocks per contest. He has led the Cougars in rebounding for 16 of their 24 games. He held 16 boards against UAB on Feb. 4.
Stringfellow's journey before arriving in Houston is an intriguing tale. The 22-year-old junior attended Anderson High School in Austin, where he averaged 18 points, 14 rebounds and 7 blocked shots per game. He was scouted by many schools before choosing Wake Forest.
At Wake Forest, the former Demon Deacon had the opportunity to play with future NBA superstar Tim Duncan, now a member of the San Antonio Spurs.
"It was great playing with Tim. I learned a lot. We battled everyday and made each other better," Stringfellow said. "We still keep in touch."
Another influence on Stringfellow is Dennis Rodman.
"I like the way he hustles on the court and always plays hard," Stringfellow said. "(His) on-court effort and determination inspire me."
Apart from today's role models, the budding star also lists Cougar alums Elvin Hayes, Otis Birdsong, Hakeem Olajuwon and of course, Drexler as players who helped shape his game. With his stellar play, Stringfellow is sure to add his name to this distinguished list.
"(UH basketball) is on the way up," Stringfellow said.
With the injuries mounting and no real center on the team, Stringfellow is counted on as a team leader.
"String definitely brings a lot of heart to this team. Without him, we would be not be winning," Drexler said.
Also, as the only senior on the team, Stringfellow's pleasant demeanor and classroom discipline have made him a good example for the others.
Stringfellow will be counted on for a lot tonight as his team battles one of the top teams in Conference USA. UNC Charlotte comes in as the No. 25 team in the ratings percentage index (RPI) and possesses a strong scorer in Galen Young.
Young is one of the 49ers' most consistent offensive threats. Although he was held to only nine points Saturday against South Florida, he had scored double figures in the previous 26 games. Stringfellow will team up with front court mate Kelvin Price to lead the way in scoring. The game is at 7:30 p.m. at Hofheinz Pavilion.
The 49er redshirt freshman Charles Hayward, who was the subject of an
article in The Daily Cougar in November, was ready to go for this season,
but his leukemia, thought to be in remission, was detected again in December.
He is undergoing chemotherapy.
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