Off-Season News Update

by - Published April 26, 2006 in Columns



Off-Season News and Notes – April 26, 2006

by Phil Kasiecki

Who Will Lead North Carolina State?

We start by revisiting last week’s first story – the North Carolina State opening. It’s not really any clearer this week than it was last week.

Friday night, a source said West Virginia head coach John Beilein was interviewing at the school that day. It should be noted that we saw Beilein in Houston on Saturday to check out the talent at the Kingwood Classic – not impossible depending on when during the day he may have interviewed and then flown to Houston. The Raleigh News & Observer reported that Beilein has emerged as the leading candidate.

But from there, it gets fuzzy, as has been the case often in this search. There was talk going around that Steve Lavin had been offered the job and was ready to accept, but reports say he turned it down.

This weekend will be the final spring weekend with travel team tournaments that are sanctioned for Division I coaches to attend. The Wolfpack are in danger of going through the entire spring with no one present at any such tournaments to scout out future talent.

Beilein has long been believed to be immovable from West Virginia, and not because of the large buyout in his contract. But at this point, nothing in this coaching search would surprise us.

Error Boosts Fan Interest

Last week, we mentioned UMass’ non-conference schedule for next season, one that will certainly be boosted from this year’s. In addition to Boston College at home, a report says that the Minutemen are trying for a home-and-home with Kentucky, Travis Ford’s alma mater. They are hoping to fill out the remaining games with a few more quality opponents.

A game we reported that got everyone’s attention has turned out to be in error. We have learned that there is not a game with Duke on the table for next season, and there was an apparent misunderstanding on our part. An athletic department spokesman says they’d love for it to happen for obvious reasons (as shown by the response after we printed it in error), but they are not sure it’s even realistic.

While we apologize for giving fans a little “false excitement”, there’s a real bright side to this to focus on: clearly, the UMass fan base has some good life right now, and well they should whether a date in Durham is on the schedule or not. Word about a possible game against Duke got around quickly and created a buzz on campus, with people wanting to know how true this is and contacting us and the school’s athletic department about it. Hopefully, the fan interest keeps up at this level; barely one-third of the Mullins Center is full on many game nights, a shame considering it’s one of the nicest arenas in the northeast.

Travis Ford is clearly moving the program forward. When he was hired, he talked about energizing the fan base, and he and his staff are taking steps to do that with the team’s progress this season and working on playing an exciting schedule next season. The Minutemen made it through the transition year of 2005-06, and with three full-time starters and two other part-time starters back next season, they have a chance to be among the contenders in the Atlantic 10. The conference had a good recruiting year, so the level of play should be on the rise as well.

Brown’s Next Coach

It seemed inevitable that Glen Miller would not be Brown’s head coach next season. His name came up for the Hartford and Northeastern openings, but it was the third time that was the charm as Miller is now Penn’s head coach.

The coach who succeeds Miller, who had a successful run save for this past season with a young team, is an open question. Eastern Kentucky assistant Ted Hotaling, who has Ivy League experience as a recent assistant at Yale, is one who has expressed interest in the job.

Looking internally, top assistant Kevin Jaskiewicz could be a candidate, but one would expect Miller to take him along to Philadelphia since he has been with Miller since his Connecticut College days. Fellow assistant Andy Partee has been at the school since before Miller, so he could be a possibility.

Other Notes

  • Maine head coach Ted Woodward said that Kevin Reed, their star guard who missed the entire season with a foot injury, is in great shape. He’s working out well and would probably love to play tomorrow if he could. That’s a good sign for the Black Bears, who had a tough season but look to be in good shape personnel-wise next season.
  • Give Boston University head coach Dennis Wolff credit for not backing down from playing tough teams. Next season, the Terriers’ non-conference slate will feature return home games with George Washington and UMass at Agganis Arena, and they start another home-and-home with Saint Joseph’s with a trip to Philadelphia. Additionally, they will play in the Holiday Classic in New York after Christmas and revive the local rivalry with Northeastern, heading across town to play the Huskies after the teams took a year off from playing each other. The Terriers lose two starters and have seen three reserves transfer this off-season, but they return their starting backcourt and will also get guard Tyler Morris back after an injury shelved him for the 2005-06 season.
  • It took a while, but now the early entrants to the NBA Draft are adding up. In just the past week, over a dozen players have declared, more than a third of the current total. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported that Panther center Aaron Gray should be another to do so before Friday’s deadline, and there may be a few surprises when the official list comes out as well.
  • Earlier today, FOXSports.com reported that Todd Bozeman will become the next head coach at Morgan State. Bozeman’s hire will be interesting not only because he was hit with an eight-year show-cause sentence (meaning a school hiring him must show reasons why he should be allowed back in as a coach), but also because his teams were looked at as underachievers even with the talent they had. The MEAC is a different game than the Pac-10, though, so perhaps his fresh start can be a good one.
  • An idle thought in light of the subject of UMass’ schedule: the Minutemen and Boston College owe the TD Banknorth Garden a game in their Commonwealth Classic series. With UMass appearing to be on the rise again, the day where that game could be big enough to warrant moving it to the Garden could come soon. Perhaps the athletic directors at those schools and a few others in the area can get together and add to that game to make a real basketball event: a tripleheader with Northeastern and Boston University hooking up in one other game and perhaps Harvard and Holy Cross in another. We can pipe dream, can’t we?

Penn: Quakers Hire Within Ivy League

by - Published April 26, 2006 in Newswire



Quakers Hire Within Ivy League: Penn officials found the Quakers’ coach in a familiar place. They hired Brown coach Glen Miller to replace Fran Dunphy, who skipped across town to lead Temple in the post-John Chaney era. Miller comes to Penn after coaching Ivy League-rival Brown for seven seasons and posting a 93-99 record. He also has experience coaching at the Division III level. Miller faces high standards at Penn, which has won the Ivy League 10 times in the past 14 years. [4/26/06]

Northern Colorado: Boyle to Lead Bears Into New Era

by - Published April 26, 2006 in Newswire



Boyle to Lead Bears Into New Era: Wichita State assistant coach Tad Boyle has left the comforts of the Missouri Valley Conference to take Northern Colorado’s head coaching position. Boyle replaces Craig Rasmuson, who led the Bears to a 63-129 record in seven seasons, including the last three as a provisional Division I member. Next season, Northern Colorado will compete in the Big Sky Conference but will not be eligible for the post-season. After that, Boyle will be responsible for leading this team to the top of the conference and into the post-season. [4/26/06]

Texas: Another ‘Horn Enters Draft

by - Published April 26, 2006 in Newswire



Another ‘Horn Enters Draft: Texas’ worst-case scenario may be developing. Sophomore point guard Daniel Gibson announced Tuesday that he will enter the draft without the assistance of an agent, so he could return to school. His decision — at least for now — puts LaMarcus Aldridge, P.J. Tucker and Gibson among Texas’ underclassman defections. With seniors Brad Buckman and Kenton Paulino graduating, Texas could potentially lose all of its starting lineup. Gibson averaged 13.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the Longhorns. Although he needs to work on his shooting, he could be one of the better point guards in a relatively weak draft. [4/26/06]

Memphis: Washington Ready for the Jump

by - Published April 26, 2006 in Newswire



Washington Ready for the Jump: Memphis sophomore point guard Darius Washington has entered the NBA Draft but has not hired an agent yet. He has given mixed reports about whether he will hire one and thus lose his collegiate standing. Washington had a sensational season, leading the Tigers within a game of the Final Four. He averaged 13.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the Tigers. He is widely considered to be a first-round pick. [4/26/06]

St. Louis: St. Louis Big Man Wants to Know

by - Published April 26, 2006 in Newswire



St. Louis Big Man Wants to Know: St. Louis junior center Ian Vouyoukas has the size that many NBA teams covet at nearly 7 feet. But does his game measure up to professional standards? Vouyoukas has entered the NBA Draft, but he will not hire an agent. If he does not like the word he hears from scouts, he will return to school to try to improve his game before graduating in 2007. Vouyoukas helped the Billikens surge to the top of the Atlantic 10 standings in the team’s first year in the conference. He averaged 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
[4/26/06]

Bowie State: Bowie State Player Killed

by - Published April 26, 2006 in Newswire



Bowie State Player Killed: Bowie State senior center Jacque Pate was found dead in his car in Prince George’s County, Md. Pate was shot to death Sunday, and police are still determining suspects and a possible motive. Pate played at South Alabama at the Division I level before transferring to the CIAA school. [4/26/06]

Holy Cross: Crusaders Tap Former Player

by - Published April 26, 2006 in Newswire



Crusaders Tap Former Player: Holy Cross added former Crusader Guillermo Sanchez to their staff on Tuesday. A 2002 graduate of Holy Cross, he has held two college assistant jobs the past two seasons, with this being his first Division I job. Sanchez was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders from 1999-2002, where he was a part of two Patriot League championship teams. Sanchez replaces Darryl Hilliard, who left to become part of Kevin Nickelberry’s staff at Hampton earlier in the month. [4/25/06]

Jordan Classic Recap

by - Published April 26, 2006 in Columns



2006 Jordan Classic Showcase Future College Stars

by Matthew Moll

NEW YORK – In the latest installment of the Jordan Classic, thoughts of making the jump a la Andre Blatche and Louis Williams are replaced with aspirations of NCAA freshman of the year Tyler Hansbrough, last year’s other MVP.

Georgia Tech-bound Thaddeus Young (Jordan White) and Texas recruit Kevin Durant (Jordan Black) took the first step to such a distinction by sharing MVP honors in the 108-95 exhibition win for Jordan White over Jordan Black.

Young wowed the Madison Square Garden crowd, which included hip-hoppers T.I., L.L. Cool J, NFL Pro-Bowler Warren Sapp, and of course MJ, with a 28-point, 13-rebound (10 of which were offensive) performance. Young showed his athleticism with an array of dunks, the most eye-popping was an open court windmill which gave his team an 11-point lead. While he proved he was a special athlete, Young said he hoped to show he could do more. The “more” included some nifty fade-aways and hitting from beyond the arch.

The 6’10″ Durant ended the contest with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Durant, the McDonald’s All-American game MVP, starts hinted at potential ceiling, “I try to pattern my game after the versatile players in the NBA, because that is how I want people to look at me.”

New Yorkers Edgar Sosa (Louisville) and Curtis Kelly (UConn) received the loudest applause during introductions. Sosa, Rick Pitino’s most recent New York City point guard, hit two threes and scored 13 points for the White team. Kelly finished with six points and five rebounds, including a thunderous early first half dunk.

Perhaps the largest contingent of fans was for Syracuse-bound Mike Jones. When native South Carolinian’s name would be announced over the PA system his fans would chant in unison which would reverberate through the Garden. Jones finished with 16 points.

Future Kansas point guard Sherron Collins received the most positive reinforcement from the crowd with his ankle breaking finesse and precision passing. Early in the first, Collins started the crowd with a no look hook-shot-like alley-oop to DeShawn Sims. In the second, Collins spilt three defenders after cycling through a series of crossover and between the legs dribbles momentarily delighting the MSG crowd. Collins finished the game with 14 points and six assists.

The Jordan White team also received help from future Tar Heel Wayne Ellington, who scored 11, and Michigan recruit Sims with 10 on 5-6 shooting.

Bob Cimmino coached Jordan White to the victory. Cimmino lead Mount Vernon High School in New York to a Class AA state championship, and has coached UConn great Ben Gordon and most recently Florida signee Jonathan Mitchell, who scored 17 in the Jordan Regional game.

A crowd of 9,641 witnessed the all-college exhibition.

     

Furman: Furman Hires Vandy Assistant

by - Published April 25, 2006 in Newswire



Furman Hires Vandy Assistant: Furman officials have settled on Vanderbilt assistant coach Jeff Jackson for the Paladins coaching job. Jackson has been an assistant with the Commodores for the past seven seasons after he coached New Hampshire to a 21-60 record in three years. Jackson replaces Larry Davis, who left the school after nine years to become an assistant coach at Cincinnati. Check out Hoopville’s complete list of 2006 coaching changes, including the Paladins’ recent hire of Jackson. [4/25/06]

College Basketball Tonight

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The show will air on AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on every Sunday from Selection Sunday to the Final Four. You can listen to the show here.

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