From a ‘Dazzling Dude’ to Kiana Williams: San Antonio’s top 30 moments in college basketball

Villanova Wildcats guard Jalen Brunson talks to reporters at his dressing cubicle during the 2018 NCAA Final Four. With Brunson now playing for the Dallas Mavericks, the Wildcats are coming back to San Antonio to play in the NCAA Sweet 16 against the Michigan Wolverines on Thursday. — File photo by Jerry Briggs

If it’s late March, then we’re talking NCAA tournament basketball. We’re talking college hoops. In San Antonio, we have a history with the game, and so there are plenty of reasons to like the prospect of a Sweet 16 featuring Michigan-Villanova and Houston-Arizona, starting on Thursday night at the AT&T Center.

Here are my top 30 college basketball moments from an Alamo City fans’ historical perspective, in chronological order:

1960 – Former Edison High School standout Rudy Davalos plays point guard and leads the Southwest Texas State Bobcats to the NAIA title. Later, Davalos serves three years as an assistant coach with the Spurs before he is hired in 1976 as UTSA’s first athletic director.

1961 – St. Mary’s University freshman Herman ‘Buddy’ Meyer suits up to play his first game for the St. Mary’s Rattlers to begin a 41-year association with the school. Meyer made all-conference all four years and would later coach the team to its first national title.

March 8, 1969 – Trinity University is the first team from San Antonio to play in the NCAA tournament. The Tigers lose 81-66 to the Texas A&M Aggies in the first round of a 25-team event.

Jan. 24, 1970 – St. Mary’s University’s Doug Williams produces 24 points and 18 rebounds for the NAIA Rattlers, who defeat NCAA Division I Houston, 76-66, in San Antonio. The Alabama native and three-time All-American scored 2,246 points in his career, which remains as the school record.

1977 – Former Clemens High School and St. Mary’s star Robert Reid is selected on the second round of the NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets.

1978 – Former Burbank High School center Gilbert Salinas plays off the bench for a Notre Dame University team that reaches the NCAA Final Four.

March 1, 1980 – Texas A&M beats Arkansas, 52-50, for the Southwest Conference post-season title at HemisFair Arena. Aggies coach Shelby Metcalf wins a close one over Eddie Sutton of the Razorbacks.

Derrick Gervin watches a UTSA men's basketball game at the UTSA Convocation Center on Feb. 13, 2020. Gervin holds the UTSA men's basketball single-season scoring record (718 points in 1984-85). He is the second player in program history to have his jersey retired. - photo by Joe Alexander

Detroit native Derrick Gervin emerged as UTSA’s first star player, averaging 21.5 points over three seasons in the 1980s. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Nov. 30, 1981 – The UTSA Roadrunners play their inaugural men’s game at HemisFair Arena and lose 71-42 to Sutton and the Arkansas Razorbacks.

1982 – UTSA signs Derrick Gervin, the younger brother of Spurs guard George Gervin. Turning pro after three years in college, Gervin leaves the Roadrunners with averages of 21.1 points and 8.6 rebounds.

Feb. 6, 1984 – UTSA, under coach Don Eddy, beats Meyer-coached St. Mary’s 69-61 in the first Mayor’s Challenge Cup at HemisFair Arena.

1986 – Former John Jay High School student Clarissa Davis, as a University of Texas freshman, leads the Longhorns to the NCAA Division I women’s basketball title. Arizona assistant coach Ken Burmeister takes over as head coach of the men’s basketball program at UTSA.

November 1987 – “A Dazzling Dude.” Former Fox Tech High School star Fennis Dembo, who played at the University of Wyoming, appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Dembo is recruited to Wyoming by Jim Brandenburg, a former high school coach in San Antonio. Dembo leads the Cowboys to two NCAA tournaments, scores more than 2,300 points in four years and is selected in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft.

March 18, 1988 – Led by coach Ken Burmeister and players such as Frank Hampton and Clarence McGee, the UTSA Roadrunners win the Trans America Athletic Conference championship in Daytona Beach, Florida, and compete in their first NCAA tournament game against Illinois. The Illini down the Roadrunners, who were in only their seventh year as a program, 81-72.

1989 – In the spring, the Buddy Meyer-coached Rattlers score a 61-58 victory over East Central, Okla., in the NAIA championship game at Kansas City, and guard Anthony Houston is a first-team All-American. In the fall, seven-foot center Shaquille O’Neal, from Cole High School, opens his career at LSU. O’Neal becomes a two-time All-American.

1993 – In a push led by businessman Bob Coleman, sports administrator Robert Marbut, Jr., and others, San Antonio for the first time is named as a host city for the NCAA Men’s Final Four. The NCAA says the event will be played in 1998 at the Alamodome.

1998Tubby Smith-coached Kentucky downs Rick Majerus-coached Utah, 78-69, in the first NCAA title game played in the city. In San Antonio’s first Final Four, Kentucky defeats Stanford, and Utah edges North Carolina in the semifinals.

1999 – UTSA reaches the NCAA tournament under Coach Tim Carter. The Roadrunners are led by freshman Devin Brown from West Campus High School.

2000 – Mexico native Eduardo Najera, who played at Cornerstone in San Antonio, averages 21.5 and 10.8 rebounds in his senior year at Oklahoma. He is named first-team, all-Big 12. As a junior in 1999, he leads the Sooners to the NCAA Sweet 16. Najera’s coach? Kelvin Sampson, now the head coach at Houston.

March 31, 2002 – With Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi in the backcourt, the Geno Auriemma-coached Connecticut Huskies beat Oklahoma 82-70 to win the title, capping a 39-0 season in the first NCAA women’s Final Four held at the Alamodome.

March/April, 2003 – Texas wins the South region title in San Antonio and then gets knocked off in the Final Four by Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse. Former Sam Houston High School standout Jeremy McNeil comes off the bench in 35 games for the Orange, who win the NCAA title with an 81-78 victory over Kansas at the Louisiana Superdome.

2004 – UTSA reaches the NCAA tournament for a second time under Carter. Connecticut, under Jim Calhoun, wins the title at the Final Four in the Alamodome.

2008 – The Rae Rippetoe-Blair coached UTSA women play in their first NCAA tournament. In the men’s tournament, Lanier High School-ex Orlando Mendez-Valdez leads 12th-seeded Western Kentucky to the Sweet 16, and the Kansas Jayhawks beat the Memphis Tigers to clinch the NCAA title at the Alamodome. Mario Chalmers is the hero, hitting a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

2009 – The UTSA women, under Rippetoe-Blair, play in their second NCAA tournament and take No. 2 seed Baylor to overtime.

2010 – San Antonio hosts the second NCAA women’s Final Four at the Alamodome. Paced by guard Maya Moore, Connecticut beats Stanford, 53-47, for the title.

2011 – In UTSA’s fourth trip to the Big Dance, the Brooks Thompson-led Roadrunners win their first NCAA game with a 70-61 victory over Alabama State. UTSA is ousted in the Round of 64 by the Ohio State Buckeyes, 75-46.

2017 – The University of the Incarnate Word completes its four-year transition from Division II and becomes eligible in the 2017-18 season to compete in both the Southland Conference and NCAA Division I tournaments.

Jhivvan Jackson, Keaton Wallace. UTSA beat Southwestern Adventist from Keene, Texas, 123-43 in a non-conference game on Thursday, March 4, 2021, at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Playing four years together, Jhivvan Jackson (left) and Keaton Wallace became the top two scorers in UTSA school history. Jackson, a native of Puerto Rico, scored 2,551 for the most career points in Division I history by a player born in Latin America. — File photo by Joe Alexander.

April 2, 2018 – Villanova, with coach Jay Wright and players such as Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo, downs Michigan for the NCAA men’s title at the Alamodome. The men’s Final Four was played in San Antonio for the fourth time.

April 7, 2019 – Baylor freshman NaLyssa Smith, from East Central High School, scores 14 points off the bench in an NCAA women’s title game victory over Notre Dame.

2021 – Paced by point guard Kiana Williams from Wagner High School, the Stanford women win the NCAA title in San Antonio, Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith wins the Wade Trophy as the national Player of the Year and two UTSA men’s players become career 2,000-point scorers. Jhivvan Jackson, from Puerto Rico, finishes with 2,551 for the most points by a Latin American-born player in Division I history, while Keaton Wallace, from Richardson, scores 2,080.

March 16, 2022 – The Incarnate Word women, under coach Jeff Dow, win the Southland tournament with three victories in three days. They reach the NCAA tournament for the first time and lose to the Howard University Bison in the round of 68.

Back to back: Texas Southern claims another NCAA bid

The Texas Southern University Tigers on Saturday became the first program from the state to qualify for the 2022 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.

Led by a front line of Joirdon Karl Nicholas, Brishon Gresham and John Walker III, the Tigers broke open a tight battle in the second half and stormed to a 87-62 victory over the Alcorn State Braves for the Southwestern Athletic Conference title.

In the game played at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Ala., second-seeded Texas Southern shot 55.7 percent from the field and knocked off Alcorn, seeded No. 1, for its second straight SWAC title and the accompanying NCAA automatic bid under Coach Johnny Jones.

Walker led the Tigers with 17 points off the bench. Gresham, a 6-9, 240-pound transfer from the University of Houston, blocked five shots. Nicholas had eight rebounds as Texas Southern won the boards, 44-35.

Other automatic qualifiers so far on Saturday: Virginia Tech in the ACC, UAB in Conference USA, Montana State in the Big Sky and Akron in the Mid-American Conference.

Also on Saturday: Villanova in the Big East, Kansas in the Big 12 and Boise State out of the Mountain West.

Earlier in the day: St. Peter’s (N.J.) in the MAAC, Norfolk State (Va.) in the MEAC and Vermont in the America East.

Kansas downed Texas Tech, 74-65, at Kansas City for the Big 12’s automatic bid. The Red Raiders are expected to receive an at-large bid when the bracket is unveiled on Sunday night.

In Brooklyn, N.Y., junior guard Hunter Catoor scored 31 points as the seventh-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies upset the Duke Blue Devils, 82-67. Paolo Banchero scored 20 for the Blue Devils.

NCAA automatic bids

Virginia Tech — Atlantic Coast Conference
Alabama-Birmingham — Conference USA
Montana State — Big Sky
Akron (Ohio) — Mid-American Conference
Villanova — Big East
Texas Southern — Southwestern Athletic Conference
Boise State — Mountain West
Kansas — Big 12
St. Peter’s (N.J.) — MAAC
Norfolk State (Va.) — MEAC
Vermont — America East
Colgate (N.Y.) — Patriot League
Gonzaga (Wash.) — West Coast Conference
Jacksonville State (Ala.) — Atlantic Sun
Bryant (R.I.) — Northeast Conference
Delaware — Colonial Athletic Association
Wright State (Ohio) — Horizon League
South Dakota State — Summit League
Chattanooga (Tenn.) — Southern Conference
Georgia State — Sun Belt
Longwood (Va.) — Big South
Loyola-Chicago — Missouri Valley
Murray State (Ky.) — Ohio Valley

Ferguson-led Colgate Raiders advance to the NCAA tournament

Jack Ferguson and the Colgate Raiders are once again the toast of Hamilton, New York.

The Raiders qualified for their second straight NCAA tournament Wednesday night with a 74-58 victory over Navy in the Patriot League championship game.

A little more than two months ago, the Raiders were slumping.

After losing their conference opener on the road at Lehigh, their losing streak had reached five games, and they had dropped eight out of nine.

The Raiders were 4-10 at the time. They are 19-1 since then, and will take a 15-game winning streak into the national tournament, which starts next week.

Ferguson, a 6-3 senior guard from Fort Wayne, Ind., averaged 20.7 points in three Patriot tournament games.

During the tournament, with all three games played on his team’s home court at Colgate, he hit 18 of 25 shots from the field and 13 of 16 from 3-point range.

The Raiders are the 12th team to qualify automatically for the NCAA tournament.

NCAA automatic bids

Through Wednesday’s title games

Colgate (N.Y.) — Patriot League

Through Tuesday’s title games

Gonzaga (Wash.) — West Coast Conference
Jacksonville State (Ala.) — Atlantic Sun
Bryant (R.I.) — Northeast Conference
Delaware — Colonial Athletic Association
Wright State (Ohio) — Horizon League
South Dakota State — Summit League

Through Monday’s title games

Chattanooga (Tenn.) — Southern Conference
Georgia State — Sun Belt
Longwood (Va.) — Big South
Loyola-Chicago — Missouri Valley
Murray State (Ky.) — Ohio Valley

Czumbel-led UTSA wins regular-season finale, beats Rice, 82-71

Erik Czumbel. men's basketball beat Rice 82-71 on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the Convocation Center in the Roadrunners' final game of the regular season. The Conference USA Tournament starts Tuesday. - photo by Joe Alexander

Erik Czumbel scored eight of his career-high 22 points in the final 3:42, leading the UTSA Roadrunners to an 81-72 victory over the Rice Owls at the Convocation Center. UTSA plays Southern Miss on Tuesday night in Frisco at the the Conference USA tournament. – Photo by Joe Alexander

With the Rice Owls mounting a comeback in the second half, somebody on the UTSA Roadrunners needed to step up with a big effort in the final regular-season game.

Erik Czumbel and Dhieu Deing answered the call in leading the Roadrunners to an 82-71 victory Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.

Dhieu Deing. UTSA men's basketball beat Rice 82-71 on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the Convocation Center in the Roadrunners' final game of the regular season. The Conference USA Tournament starts Tuesday. - photo by Joe Alexander

Dhieu Deing scored 19 points and drilled two key three-pointers in the second half after Rice had trimmed the lead to one. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Czumbel scored a career-high 22 points and Deing had 19 to help the Roadrunners break a three-game losing streak and build some momentum for next week’s Conference USA tournament.

“Feels great, man,” Czumbel said. “Third (game) in a row here (at home) and finally we get the dub. Everybody is so excited in the locker room. We just got to keep building on this.”

Deing had 16 points after intermission, including a pair of 3-pointers after Rice had trimmed UTSA’s lead to one.

Czumbel finished off the Owls with eight points and a key defensive stop in the final 3:42.

Securing their first victory since Feb. 17 at Southern Miss, the Roadrunners also had major contributions from Isaiah Addo-Ankrah with 14 points and Jacob Germany with 13.

Germany kept the Owls honest with his play in the paint and in the mid-range game, while Deing knocked down five of UTSA’s 13 3-pointers. Addo-Ankrah also hit four and Czumbel three from long range.

It was quite the turnaround from Thursday night, when the Roadrunners made only one three in a 59-48 loss to North Texas.

Isaiah Addo-Ankrah. UTSA men's basketball beat Rice 82-71 on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the Convocation Center in the Roadrunners' final game of the regular season. The Conference USA Tournament starts Tuesday. - photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore walk-on Isaiah Addo-Ankrah hit four of seven 3-point shots and scored 14 against the Owls. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“We were so much better,” Henson said. “Shot a good percentage. Made threes. Shot a good 3-point percentage. That was terrific. Certainly, it makes it a lot easier. I was proud of the way we defended, too.”

On Feb. 3, in a game at Houston, the Owls shot 62 percent from the field as a team and rolled to a 91-78 victory over the Roadrunners.

In that game, center Max Fiedler and guards Carl Pierre and Travis Evee scorched the Roadrunners by combining for 57 points on 22 of 34 from the field. On Saturday afternoon, in San Antonio, those same three had a combined 37 on 13 of 25.

“Rice is a good offensive team,” Henson said. “They pose a lot of different problems. You got to guard their big guys in the post (Fiedler and Mylyjael Poteat). You got to guard their five out action. You got to guard their shooters, and they’re great in transition.”

UTSA will open play in the C-USA tournament on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. With a win, the Roadrunners would advance to play Florida Atlantic on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. All games are at The Star in Frisco.

The Roadrunners will need to win five games in five days to claim the title and a bid to the NCAA tournament.

UTSA's Phoenix Ford on senior day. UTSA men's basketball beat Rice 82-71 on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the Convocation Center in the Roadrunners' final game of the regular season. The Conference USA Tournament starts Tuesday. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Phoenix Ford holds Genesis, his 2-month-old daughter, during a Senior Day ceremony. His wife, Alicia, and coach Steve Henson share the poignant moment before tip-off. — Photo by Joe Alexander

“This just boosts our confidence,” Czumbel said. “We can do it. We know it. We just got to keep playing the way we did today. Especially on defense. That was our biggest concern coming into this game, and we proved we can be a good defensive team.”

In November and December, Czumbel was not among the team’s primary offensive weapons. In his first 11 games, he took only 24 shots and hit six of them. He was 0 for 10 on 3-point shots until making his first trey on Jan. 3.

Lately, with Jordan Ivy-Curry having left the team to enter the transfer portal, the native of Vernona, Italy, has played a much more expansive role. Against Rice, he ran the point most of the afternoon, and he also hit eight of 16 from the field and three of eight from beyond the arc.

“My teammates kept telling me to be agressive,” he said of his offensive output. “It feels great, you know. It’s been a long year. I didn’t start the year shooting well. You know, just keep working on it and keep my confidence up.”

First half

UTSA started the afternoon’s proceedings with a spontaneous dunk contest in what usually is a standard layup line.

Later, just before tipoff, the Roadrunners honored seniors Adrian Rodriguez, Phoenix Ford and Darius McNeill on Senior Day.

Both McNeill and Ford started and contributed to a 12-point lead in the game’s first six minutes, and, ultimately to a 40-34 lead at intermission.

Offensively, it may have been one of the Roadrunners’ best halves in weeks. They shot 48.4 percent from the field. They had seven assists and 15 made field goals. They also hit six 3-pointers, including three of them by sophomore Addo-Ankrah.


The victory temporarily eased the pain of a tough season for the Roadrunners, who have produced only a 4-17 record in their last 21 games. UTSA has lost four players during the course of the season. In the second half, they lost two starters — power forward Cedrick Alley Jr. to academics and Ivy-Curry to the transfer portal.

Rice has lost six of its last seven games. The dropoff coincides with the loss of all-conference guard Quincy Olivari, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds in a 91-78 victory over UTSA on Feb. 3. Olivari broke his wrist on Feb. 5 and is out for the season.

UTSA leads Rice in the all-time series, 11-8. In games played as foes in Conference USA, UTSA leads 7-6. The Roadrunners have won seven of eight meetings against the Owls in San Antonio. Rice’s only victory at the Convocation Center came in 2015 in a 76-74 decision.


Rice 15-15, 7-11
UTSA 10-21, 3-15

Coming up

Conference USA tournament
Tuesday — UTSA vs. Southern Miss, 7 p.m., at Frisco

Struggling Rice, UTSA play today at the Convocation Center

Two teams searching for consistency leading into next week’s Conference USA tournament meet today at the UTSA Convocation Center in the regular-season finale.

Once regarded as a candidate to finish in the top half of the C-USA standings, the visiting Rice Owls have lost five of their last six.

Rice’s slide has coincided with the loss of all-conference guard Quincy Olivari, who broke his wrist on Feb. 5 at home against UTEP. Olivari, a third-team, all-C-USA player last season, is not expected to return this year.

The Roadrunners have lost four key players at various junctures of the season. The two major blows within the past few months came when power forward Cedrick Alley Jr. became academically ineligible and guard Jordan Ivy-Curry entered the transfer portal.

Both players were starters. UTSA has dropped three straight games and eight of nine. Long-term, the Roadrunners have struggled with a 3-14 record since mid-December.

Tipoff today is at 2 p.m.


Rice 15-14, 7-10
UTSA 9-21, 2-15

Coming up

Conference USA tournament
Tuesday — UTSA vs. Southern Miss, at Frisco

Rice at a glance

The Owls lost a heartbreaker Thursday at UTEP when the Miners made a few more plays in the final minute and won, 70-67. With less than a minute remaining, a key play unfolded. With the Miners leading by one point, Owls guard Carl Pierre drove for a basket that would have given his team the lead, only to be called for a charge. A transfer from the University of Massachusetts, Pierre finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds.

UTSA at a glance

Battling the top team in the conference, UTSA played a solid game at home Thursday night for about 27 minutes. They were within three points twice of the North Texas Mean Green. In the end, the Thomas Bell, Tylor Perry and Mardrez McBride-led Mean Green pulled out a 59-48 victory. It was UTSA’s third game with fewer than 50 points this season. One was against Oklahoma. The two others were against North Texas.

The series

UTSA leads Rice in the all-time series, 10-8. In games played as foes in Conference USA, the series is tied 6-6. The Roadrunners have won six of seven against the Owls in San Antonio. Rice’s only victory at the Convocation Center came in 2015 in a 76-74 decision. On Feb. 3, in a game at Houston, the Owls shot 62 percent from the field as a team and rolled to a 91-78 victory. Led by Jacob Germany and Isaiah Addo-Ankrah, the Roadrunners were with two points with 11 minutes left but couldn’t sustain the effort. The Rice trio of Max Fiedler, Pierre and Travis Evee combined for 57 points. Those three players hit a combined 22 of 34 shots.

Family life has always shaped UTSA forward Phoenix Ford

Phoenix Ford. Florida Atlantic beat UTSA 73-64 on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

After three seasons at UTSA, Phoenix Ford is set to play his last two games at home for the Roadrunners this week. UTSA hosts North Texas on Thursday night and Rice on Saturday afternoon. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special Report for The JB Replay

UTSA senior Phoenix Ford is a family man in more ways than one. He grew up in a loving home in Florida as one of 11 siblings. When the 6-foot-7 power forward arrived in San Antonio in 2019, he said he had the same feeling on his first day with the Roadrunners.

He said it felt like everyone embraced him. Now, Ford has a family of his own. On Christmas Eve, his wife Alicia gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter named Genesis. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind ever since.

Phoenix Ford. UTSA beat Lamar 79-73 in men's basketball on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Phoenix Ford became a father for the first time on Christmas Eve. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Between school and practice and games and road trips, not to mention a few late nights with a crying infant on his shoulder, life for the Roadrunners’ resident girl dad has been a bit hectic.

“Ah, just changing hats every hour,” Ford said Wednesday. “When I’m home, I put my dad hat on. When I come here, I got to put my student-athlete hat on. It’s fun, a lot of time management.

“I (get) back home from practice, and (I’m) pretty tired. But coming home to my family every day gives me a boost of energy to keep going.”

Allowing the nostalgia to flow freely, Ford reflected on his UTSA career as he prepared to play his last two games at home with the Roadrunners, against North Texas on Thursday night and against Rice on Saturday afternoon.

“My favorite memories?” Ford asked rhetorically. “Umm, I mean, there’s a ton, I would say.”

Mostly, he’ll remember all his teammates, who he claimed he will have relationships with for the rest of his life. Even this year, as the Roadrunners struggle with a 9-20 record, Ford pointed out the positives.

Specifically, he praised the way Head Coach Steve Henson and his staff have carried themselves through a down season.

“When things are hard, and we’re not having the season we would (like) … they still come in every day with the right approach, with a positive attitude,” he said. “That takes a lot of character. I really respect all the coaches for that.”

A little more than one calendar year ago, things were different. This time last season, the vibe was lit. The Roadrunners had Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace, and the two senior guards were starting to heat it up on offense. The team was winning.

At the same time, Ford’s world off the court had turned upside down with news from Florida – his father was seriously ill. After the C-USA tournament, Henson urged him to go home and be with his dad and then return in the fall.

That way, he could play another year and finish up with his work on a multidisciplinary studies degree. It was an emotional time for everyone involved.

“Last spring, during the second half of the season, I got word that my dad had gotten pretty sick,” Ford recalled. “He was dealing with heart issues, congestive heart failure. I’d come in (to practice), and I tried to leave my personal stuff off the basketball court.

“When the season ended, I decided to go back home because things were getting worse. I wanted to see him before he passed. So, I got a chance to say goodbye before he passed in April.”

Alfredo Luis Ford III, a member of the Mt. Zion Progressive M.B. Church, was 64 when he died last April 17. Phoenix’s father, who was born in Colombia, had worked for the U.S. government at the Veteran’s Administration. Together, Alfredo and Denise Ford raised 11 kids. Yes, 11.

How did they do it? “I don’t know,” Phoenix said, grinning at the question. “I don’t know. I still have questions now, especially having my own child. I don’t know how they did it … but they did it.”

Basically, while Alfredo worked at the V.A., Denise would look after the home front. She home-schooled all the kids. Five of them played sports, so getting to and from practices and games was always an adventure.

“We had an 11-passenger van, a white van,” Phoenix said. “I was so embarrassed by it when I was younger. But it got us from Point A to Point B. They loaded us all up, and wherever we had to go to, they dropped us all off. Then they picked us up at the end of the day.”

As fraternal triplets, Phoenix and Keanu and Griffin Ford were the youngest in the family. All of the brothers played ball, and they became teammates at St. Petersburg High School.

“We were (teammates),” he said, grinning again, “(even though) some of us got more playing time than others … But it’s definitely awesome getting to play with your brothers. I played with the triplets and then I played with a brother ahead of us. It was nice.”

At UTSA, Ford’s calling card is his defense and his ability to knock taller players off their spot on the low post.

“I think he’s enjoyed knowing he’s going to play every night this season,” Henson said. “Some nights more than others. Started him at the four a few nights (when) he and Jacob (Germany) played alongside each other. For the most part, he’s been Jacob’s backup at the center.”

Henson said Ford is healthy now but has struggled with issues in the past.

“Previous years, he’s struggled with some tight back issues,” he said. “He hasn’t really had any issues with that in several weeks. He’s feeling pretty good. He dunked in a game the other night. Might be the first dunk he’s had in a game.

“He just doesn’t dunk very often in practice. Our guys were excited for him in that regard. He’s just such a good teammate. Very mature. All about team. Very unselfish.”

Henson said that since the baby was born, he hasn’t noticed that much of a change in the way Ford carries himself at practices or games.

“It’s been great,” the coach said. “Again, he’s so mature. We knew he’d be a great father. For the most part, I don’t think there’s been any detriment to it at all (in his basketball). He came in the other day and looked like he hadn’t slept. Baby was up most of the night.

“A day later, he came in and looked refreshed. That’s part of parenthood.”

In terms of his future, Ford has no illusions about pro basketball. The likelihood that he will see much interest from pro franchises is not high. Scheduled to graduate in May, he said he hopes to go into real estate, and he hopes to pursue that dream in Texas.

“I want to stay here for a few years,” he said. “I really like San Antonio. I’ve fallen in love with the city, with the culture. I do like Florida. I do miss the beaches and stuff like that. But I like San Antonio a lot, so I think I’ll start out here first and then see what’s next.”

As for life at home, Ford has a mental road-map on how to approach fatherhood through his own experiences years ago.

“Umm, just trying to do what’s best for my child,” he said. “My parents did make a lot of sacrifices, so seeing them, and the way they raised us (was a good example). Even though we had a lot of kids, they gave us each our own individual attention and love. I don’t think anyone was left out of the picture.”

Coming up

Thursday — North Texas at UTSA, 7 p.m.
Saturday — Rice at UTSA, 2 p.m.

Conference USA tournament

Tuesday — UTSA vs. Southern Miss, at Frisco

Coach says Ivy-Curry ‘just felt like he need a fresh start’

HIgh-scoring sophomore guard Jordan Ivy-Curry has left the UTSA basketball program and has entered the transfer portal in hopes of catching on with another team.

“We sat down and talked yesterday,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said Wednesday. “He’s been over to compliance, a pretty simple process. Went over to compliance and signed the paperwork, so he is in the transfer portal as of yesterday afternoon.”

The issue with Ivy-Curry, a starter and one of the team’s leading scorers, has emerged as the latest in a string of misfortune to befall the Roadrunners this year.

UTSA has lost two players to season-ending injuries, Adrian Rodriguez in preseason camp and Aleu Aleu at midseason. Starting power forward Cedrick Alley Jr., ruled academically ineligible, was another midseason casualty.

Guard Dhieu Deing left the team and sat out seven games before deciding to return in late January.

In addition, the Roadrunners have had multiple interruptions with players going in and coming out of Covid-19 protocols. Given all the adversity, it’s not surprising that UTSA is 9-19 overall and 2-13 in Conference USA.

Henson said Ivy-Curry remains enrolled in classes.

“He needs to do that for his sake,” Henson said. “He’s done a really good job the last couple of weeks and is in great academic standing. As long as he handles it and I think he’s planning on handling it, his next step will be affected by what he does in the classroom.”

The coach said he doesn’t know where Ivy-Curry is looking for another opportunity.

“I don’t think he’s got a place in mind, is what he told us,” Henson said. “I think he’s going to wait and see what opportunities are there. He’ll have a bunch. Those people will start calling right away.”

Ivy-Curry averaged 13.9 points in 21 games this season. He sat out six games in Covid-19 protocols and one with a sprained ankle. Ivy-Curry, nicknamed ‘Juice’ for his ability to bring the energy, had played in limited minutes off the bench in the team’s last two games but was not 100 percent.

He didn’t practice this week and then came to Henson after Tuesday’s practice.

“Just felt like he wanted a fresh start,” Henson said. “We’re going to support him, love him and wish him well. He did some great things for our program. He’ll have a lot of success at his next stop, wherever that might be.

“We’ll be pulling for him and cheering for him.”


UTSA 9-19, 2-13
UAB 20-7, 10-4

Coming up

Thursday — UAB at UTSA, 7 p.m.
March 3 — North Texas at UTSA, 7 p.m.
March 5 — Rice at UTSA, 2 p.m.

C-USA tournament

March 8 — Southern Miss vs. UTSA, at Frisco
March 9-12 — TBA

UTSA aims for another road victory at LA Tech

Coming off an emotional victory, the UTSA Roadrunners will attempt to complete a two-game road sweep today when they play the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

Tipoff against one of the top teams in the Conference USA West division is at 6 p.m. in the Thomas Assembly Center at Ruston, La.

The Roadrunners were 0-10 on the road this season before they downed the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 98-79 in overtime Thursday night in Hattiesburg.

Led by Dhieu Deing and Isaiah Addo-Ankrah, UTSA knocked down 15 three-pointers in the victory over Southern Miss, hitting all five from beyond the arc in OT.

The Roadrunners outscored the Golden Eagles 22-3 in the five-minute, extra period.

With the victory, UTSA snapped out of a two-month funk, during which they lost 14 out of 16 games.

Louisiana Tech downed UTSA 79-63 on Jan. 8 in San Antonio, as guard Amorie Archibald scored 31 points for the Bulldogs.

Lately, the Dogs have hit a rough patch, losing four of their last seven games. In their last outing, they lost 63-60 at home to the UTEP Miners on Thursday night.

Louisiana Tech made 16 turnovers and missed 14 free throws in the loss to UTEP.


UTSA 9-18, 2-12
Louisiana Tech 18-7, 9-4

Coming up

Feb. 24 — UAB at UTSA.
March 3 — North Texas at UTSA.
March 5 — Rice at UTSA.