Team preview: Arkansas State

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 20, 2004, 4:41 PM ET
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Editor's Note: Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, long known as the Bible of college basketball, to provide a comprehensive look at all 326 Division I teams.

COACH AND PROGRAM

A wise coach once said that building a program with a liberal portion of junior college players was like building a house of cards. Perhaps, but Arkansas State sure did so with a pair of aces last season.

Head coach Dickey Nutt watched newcomers Dewarick Spencer and J.J. Montgomery finish one-two, respectively, in Sun Belt scoring during their junior debuts, and they were the primary cogs in the Indians' 17-11 season.

Spencer (19.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg), a 6-3 senior, set a school record for points by a JUCO rookie and finished seventh nationally by shooting 45.7 percent while making 86 three-pointers.

The 6-5 senior Montgomery (17.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg) set school records for free throws (172) and free-throw attempts (223). Montgomery also tied a conference tournament record for free throws attempted in a game (17) and set another by making 14 of those. But Nutt said the best barometer for the duo's skills is the high interest of NBA scouts.


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