January 11, 1998 in Sports

Assistant Earns Pay With Recruits

Dallas Morning News

Memphis assistant coach Fred Rike either watches their games on television or has to make calls to catch up with some of his former players at such schools as UNLV, Purdue, Indiana, Baylor and North Carolina-Greensboro.

But Rike, former Tyler (Texas) College coach, has one of the best seats in the house to view one former player, 6-8, 230-pound Jermaine Ousley.

Rike, who was at Tyler College for three seasons before heading to Memphis after last season, recalled how he first saw Ousley, now a starter for Memphis under first-year coach Tic Price.

Ousley never played basketball at North Division High School in Milwaukee, but he became one of the top recruits in junior college basketball last season. Ousley’s quick development obviously helped Rike land the Memphis assistant’s job as Price took over the program from the fired Larry Finch.

But credit Rike with keen eyesight. He recruited Ousley to Tyler College three years ago after watching a fuzzy tape of an AAU team playing in Marquette University’s practice gym.

The tape had been sent to him by a woman in Milwaukee who was trying to get colleges interested in giving another Milwaukee player a basketball scholarship - guard Tony Mayfield from Rufus King High School.

Mayfield wound up going to Tyler College as well when Rike spotted them both on the film.

“I saw this guy (Ousley), a very long body flying through the air,” Rike said. “I was needing a point guard (Mayfield), but then I saw a chance to get another good player.”

Ousley, who is averaging 10.8 points and 6.4 rebounds a game at Memphis and leads the team in dunks and blocked shots, did not graduate from high school. Neither did Mayfield, now a reserve guard at Purdue. Both received their GEDs so they could go to junior college, Rike said.

“Tony will have a degree from Purdue and Jermaine from Memphis. It’s a great story,” Rike said. “They have turned around their lives. These two guys are a lot like family.

“And for Jermaine Ousley, this is only his third year of organized basketball competition,” Rike said. “His best basketball is ahead of him. There is not a player more athletic than him. He is still learning the game.”

Going into a game against Cincinnati on Thursday night, Memphis was on a three-game winning streak, as Ousley and another Texas junior college player, 6-6, 233-pound Omar Sneed from San Jacinto (Texas) College, have finally made their presence felt. Sneed leads the Tigers in scoring (18.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg).

“They have had to make a significant amount of adjustments,” Price said. “Still, from time to time, they get away from the system and go one-on-one. But they complement each other well. They have a knack for scoring. They can hit the open man (passing).”

xxxx Streaks College of Charleston saw its 32-game home winning streak snapped Dec. 28, when Rider defeated the Cougars 65-58. The last previous loss by College of Charleston on its home floor was Jan. 7, 1995, to Mercer, 69-64. New Orleans saw its 28-game home winning streak broken Dec. 29, when Iowa State and former UNO coach Tim Floyd defeated the Privateers 70-68. The last previous home loss by UNO was to Villanova, 80-72, on Dec. 22, 1995. On Dec. 14, Oral Roberts’ 23-game home winning streak was broken by Tulsa, 58-53.

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