Still no date for when former Mr. Basketball UAB freshman William "Haha" Lee will make his debut

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- UAB displayed its 2014-2015 men's basketball team to the public for the first time Friday night, falling 72-71 to Division II UNC Pembroke at Bartow Arena.

However, the Blazers, who suit up for their season opener a week from today, were without their biggest new attraction -- former Mr. Basketball award-winner freshman William "Haha" Lee.

Third-year UAB coach Jerod Haase said the 6-foot-9, 210-pound Dallas County High School alumnus, is progressing in his recovery from a knee injury but added he doesn't know when he'll be cleared to play.

The Blazers host Louisiana-Monroe Nov. 15.

"I'm optimistic," Haase said. "Good things are happening with the knee. He's in a great frame of mind. I think he's getting better all the time."

Lee was the crown jewel of the Blazers' recruiting class. He led his high school team to an AHSAA Class 4A state championship after averaging 22.2 points, 12.7 rebounds, 9.2 blocks and 3.9 assists as a senior.

A consensus top 100 player in the Class of 2014, he chose UAB over offers Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi State among others.

"It's something where not only the knee has to get 100 percent but his conditioning has to get 100 percent," Haase said. "And then, he hasn't played college basketball, just like the other freshmen, ever. So, that's going to take some time to."

Haased concluded: "I'm optimistic he'll be back some point in the near future. I don't think it's in the next couple days certainly."