College Basketball Nation: Robert Smith

UC Riverside wants new identity and logo

September, 9, 2011
The UC Riverside Highlanders' current athletics logo currently features a bear with half its face painted blue in honor of Scottish hero William Wallace, the subject of the movie "Braveheart" starring Mel Gibson.

The logo was created after students voted to help fund a Division I program in 1998. Now the school is asking its fans to help select a new logo, offering 12 new designs to choose from (Logo No. 12 is the current one).

Should the bear wear a Scottish bonnet? Should it show off its teeth and claws? Should it appear like it just came out of the weight room looking to maul someone? Or should the bear be retired in favor of interlocking letters?

These are the questions new athletic director Brian Wickstrom faces after leaving UTEP to come to the lowest-funded department in the Big West, according to The Press-Enterprise.
"We want to start to build our identity," Wickstrom said.
The first step will be a new logo. The school launched a campaign this week to pick a new logo, with 13 options online. Fans can pick their favorites at The top four selections will be unveiled at Midnight Madness. The new logo is scheduled to be announced at the Nov. 30 basketball game against USC.

Scotty the mascot will remain, but getting a recognizable brand identity out in the public is important, Wickstrom said.

On the court, UC Riverside under coach Jim Wooldridge is coming off back-to-back 12-win seasons. But there are positive signs.

The Highlanders' roster is loaded with returning seniors, and for the future, Wooldridge brought in two potential impact transfers who are from the area in guards Chris Harriel from Portland State and Robert Smith from Santa Clara.

Also, the Highlanders get the aforementioned home game against USC, which will play on the UC Riverside campus for the first time. They play on the road against UTEP. And they're the Big West representative in the 76 Classic, getting an opening-round game against Villanova.

"This is the most difficult and challenging schedule in UCR history" Wooldridge said in a statement. "Our guys are really excited about the pre-conference schedule which should have us prepared for Big West Conference competition."

Santa Clara star wants to make weight

October, 29, 2010
Santa Clara guard Kevin Foster is so well respected in the West Coast Conference that he was selected to the preseason all-conference team despite playing in only six games last season before going down with a season-ending foot injury.

The sophomore averaged 19.8 points in those games and two seasons ago led all WCC freshmen averaging 14.7 points, but the number that concerns him now more than any other is 220.

That's because Broncos coach Kerry Keating is insisting that if Foster weighs any more than that number of pounds, the otherwise healthy star scorer will not be allowed to take the court.

"I'm not going to let him play," Keating said. "He got held out of practice the other day, came in at 221."

Concerned that weight issues were a factor in Foster fracturing his right foot and that bad eating habits could affect him later in life, Keating took a stand.

The result? Foster has lost about 30 pounds since June, with his family throwing its support behind the Keating plan to get him in better shape.

"I didn't want the same injury to happen again," Foster said. "I did it for myself, and after basketball's over, I have to have good habits."

Foster has worked with a nutritionist and for a time even went on the so-called caveman diet where he avoided processed foods.

"I care about him, and I want to motivate him," Keating said. "This is not about the next three years so much as it is about the next 30. You got to make guys understand how important this is for the rest of their lives.

"Hopefully the discipline carries over to his play as well."

Foster fractured his fifth metatarsal in December, which required surgery and wrecked Santa Clara's chances in the WCC, but this year's team has been picked to finish fourth in the league despite an 11-20 2009-10 season.

With Foster recovered from surgery and receiving a medical redshirt, the Broncos have a player who can score in bunches and team up with emerging point guard Robert Smith.

And for opponents who might be wondering, Foster tipped the scales today at 214, well below the weight Keating wants him to avoid.

"I’ve been focusing on dropping weight," Foster said. "The foot’s healed. I’m just ready to play now."

Santa Clara still having fun

January, 17, 2010
Kansas isn't the only team messing around with half-court shots these days, as Santa Clara was practicing them at a recent shootaround, proving you don't need a top-5 ranking to be good at such things.

Freshman Robert Smith asks on the video following his successful shot attempt to be on ESPN, so who are we to deny him?

Of course, the Broncos could use a few laughs this season, having lost eight of their past nine games. They've struggled mightily without guard Kevin Foster, who will likely miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on a fractured right foot.