Comings & Goings: Aminu Going Pro; UH Hires Dickey

Posted by rtmsf on April 2nd, 2010

The biggest news in Comings & Goings in the last 24 hours was the announcement from Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu that he will be leaving the school for the pros this season.  He will hire an agent, which means his Demon Deacon career is over.  Aminu is a versatile 6’8 player who averaged a double-double (16/11) and can play both on the perimeter and in the post.  He is expected to be chosen in the top half of the lottery this year.  Aminu and fellow big men Tony Woods and Ty Walker were part of the highly-rated recruiting class that pressured Wake Forest brass to hire Dino Gaudio three years ago after the sudden death of coach Skip Prosser.  Only Aminu has developed as expected, though.

The University of Houston yesterday announced that they were hiring James Dickey for their vacant head coaching position.  Dickey is best known for his development of the Texas Tech basketball program from a backwater to a 30-2 Sweet Sixteen season in 1996.  Most recently, he was an assistant coach at Oklahoma State until 2008, but he has been out of coaching since then.  UH is taking a bit of a chance with this hire, as Dickey’s Texas Tech program was put on probation in the mid-90s although Dickey himself was never implicated in those violations. 

In other head coaching news, maybe the rumors involving Tubby Smith leaving Minnesota for Oregon, Auburn, or just about anywhere will die down as he said on Thursday the school is working on an extension for him.  Of course, that means virtually nothing even after the ink dries, but if true, it’s at least a signal to potential suitors that Minnesota is willing to pay for Smith’s services.  Kent State’s Geno Ford received a two-year extension yesterday as well.  In just his second year at the school, he led the Golden Flashes to the NIT and won the MAC Coach of the Year award.


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Comings & Goings: Pitino, Dixon Extended; Sean Kearney Fired

Posted by rtmsf on April 1st, 2010

The biggest coaching news today had to do with a couple of extensions of existing contracts.  First, Louisville extended Rick Pitino’s deal through 2017, which would put the historically itinerant coach at 64 should he remain at the school through the life of the contract.  He’s already been at Louisville for nine seasons, which is his longest stay in any one place in his career.  He will also receive a $3.6M loyalty bonus on Friday as part of the new deal.  The other extension went to Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, who had been rumored to have received an offer from Oregon earlier this week.  His extension will keep him at Pitt through the 2018 season, and we don’t see any chance he leaves the situation he has there short of one of the major players calling (Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, etc.).   Meanwhile, George Mason’s Jim Larranaga, riding a 12-year winning season streak, also received an extension from his school through the 2016 season.  The all-time leader in wins at GMU, he’ll have plenty of time to put together another opportunity for a run in the Tournament.

New St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin believes that the NCAA Tournament is in the near-future of his program with 94% of its offense returning next season from a team that was 17-16 and made the NIT.  He expects to recruit nationally and is hoping to hire an all-star staff of east coast guys to help with recruiting.  One name that he’s hoping to bring on board in an advisory capacity is former Purdue great Gene Keady, the coach who gave Lavin his first job.  At least one columnist believes that the reason Lavin (and UTEP’s Tim Floyd) are working again is because of their visibility.

Quick trigger in mid-majorville, as Holy Cross fired its head coach Sean Kearney after a single 9-22 season.  The AD said that the dismissal was an affirmation of how important basketball is to Holy Cross.  So… Billy Gillispie can get two years at Kentucky, but Kearney only one at HC?  Seems ridiculous, but there’s probably more behind the scenes to this than just wins and losses.

Two major names announced today for the NBA Draft: Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney and Kentucky’s Daniel Orton.  Delaney, the ACC first-teamer who led the league in scoring this year at 20.2 PPG will test the waters to see what his options are.  As of now, he is not considered a serious prospect, but that may change based on his workouts.  Orton only averaged 3/3 in 13 minutes per game for the Wildcats playing behind DeMarcus Cousins, but scouts still like his 6’10, 255-lb frame and his ‘upside,’ whatever that means.

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Late Morning Five: 11.14.09

Posted by rtmsf on November 14th, 2009


Since it’s the weekend, we’ll allow you a couple more hours to sleep in after last night’s mammoth-sized slate of games.

  1. Kevin Coble Watch: Northwestern announced Friday that Coble will be seeking a second medical opinion on his foot injury.  Does that mean he didn’t like what he heard from the first doctor?
  2. Three BC players (Rakim Sanders, Corey Raji and Courtney Dunn) have been suspended by coach Al Skinner for unspecified team rules violations.  It didn’t impact the Eagles tonight in a 31-pt thrashing of Dartmouth (look at Tyler Roche with 30/5 blks!), and it won’t on Tuesday night against St. Francis (NY) either…
  3. Colorado head coach Jeff Bzdelik had to miss his team’s opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff due to a family emergency.  Assistant coach Steve McClain, who was a head coach at Wyoming for ten years, took over admirably, leading the Buffs to an 88-72 win over UAPB last night.
  4. This is a really great story.  BYU head coach Dave Rose, who battled and defeated pancreatic cancer over the summer, was rewarded with a five-year contract extension today that will ensure his family’s security over the next half-decade and beyond.  Does he deserve it? — well, he’s only off to the best four-year start in the school’s history (97-34, .740) — so we’d say that’s a resounding yes.
  5. Shameless self-promotion – remember that RTC Live will have two really good mid-major battles today.  We’ll be at the Creighton-Dayton game beginning at 1pm ET and the Davidson-Butler game starting at 2pm this afternoon.  We hope to see you stop by.
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08.21.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 21st, 2009

It has been a loooooong week around these parts, but now that we’ve crowned a Team of the 2000s, let’s move on to some other goings-on and nuggets of news floating around the college hoops world…

  • Comings and Goings.  There have been a few announcements of players who are out for the upcoming semester as we’re heading into fall matriculation.  The most notable are Villanova wing Reggie Redding and Florida big men Eloy Vargas and Adam Allen.  Redding was suspended by the university arising out of an incident where marijuana was allegedly found in his car at an accident, but he is expected to return for the spring semester.  Allen recently had surgery for a stress fracture and Vargas is academically ineligible for the fall semester.  Although neither were major contributors for Florida in 08-09, they were expected to provide depth in the frontcourt this season.  On the flip side, former Dookie Elliot Williams received his waiver from the NCAA and will be eligible to suit up immediately for his hometown Memphis Tigers this season. 
  • 2009 NIT Bracket.  The pairings were announced a week ago, but we’re just now getting around to analyzing it.  They’ve seeded the top four teams by region (#1 Duke, #2 UConn, #3 LSU, and #4 Arizona St) in a solid, if not spectacular, field.  But did anyone else notice that they mismatched the seedings?  Take a closer look at the thumbnail below.  If the top eight seeds win their first game, then we should be left with pairings of 1/8, 2/7, 3/6 and 4/5, right?  In this NIT bracket, #1 Duke would play #8 Charlotte, so that’s ok; but, #2 UConn would play #6 Hofstra, #3 LSU would play #5 WKU, and #4 Arizona St. would play #7 TCU.  What’s the point of this?  If you’re going to take the time to seed teams by expectation, you should probably do it properly rather than trying to slot teams based on regional travel convenience.  Sigh…   For what it’s worth, Duke seems to always win this thing, but depending on how quickly replacement players develop on the other top seeds, any of the others could surprise.

2009 NIT Brackets

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Buzz: Jim Calhoun on Verge of Contract Extension?

Posted by rtmsf on August 6th, 2009

We’ve been just as guilty as many others in speculating that Jim Calhoun, with his health issues and intolerance of alt-media gadflies, might be close to retirement.  A report today from the New Haven Register, however, dampens that assertion.  According to their sources, Calhoun is close to signing a multi-year extension with UConn, which probably belies the notion that Mr. Crankypants has any intention to retire soon.  Calhoun has one year remaining on his current deal which pays him a relatively paltry $1.6M per year (compared with the multiples of that other coaches are making), and if you hadn’t heard, he’s still making F4s at age 67. 

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06.24.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on June 24th, 2009

What’s this?  Two days in a row with FBs?  Indeed.  There’s a lot to get caught up on…

  • Duke Downer.  The biggest news today was the news that Duke point guard Elliot Williams (he of the happy, happy feet) will be leaving the Duke program so that he can move closer to Memphis, his hometown.  Reportedly his mother is facing a life-threatening illness there and Williams wants to be nearby for support as she battles her disease.  He plans on petitioning the NCAA to waive the one-year transfer obligation so that he will be able to play immediately at his new school (presumably Memphis).  This is undoubtedly a major blow to Coach K’s backcourt in 2009-10, as he’ll now be left with only Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith to log minutes there.  Big things were expected of Williams based on his insertion into the starting lineup at midseason and his excellent all-around play down the stretch.  Duke fans are largely crushed by this news, given the unfortunate circumstances causing it as well as the huge, gaping hole in the backcourt it leaves (while, ironically, the perfect fix named Seth Curry can only wait and watch next season).  In other Duke news that came out today, Coach K is the highest paid Duke employee by far ($3.6M last year) – no surprise there.
  • Like Father, Not Like Son.  A bit of a surprise today is that Jeffrey Jordan (you know, that Mike guy’s son) is ending his basketball career at Illinois to focus on his studies.  This comes on the heels of news from earlier this year that Jordan’s hard work and commitment to the program had resulted in a scholarship for the rest of his time at the school.  Guess he’d had enough.  Actually, we can totally understand this.  Jordan was undeniably under more pressure to perform than any walk-on turned scholarship player in the history of college basketball, and although it made for nice copy, it’s safe to say that Jordan probably didn’t love the sport anywhere near the same as his famous dad.  He probably reached a personal epiphany of some kind that included a heart-to-heart with pops, and once MJ gave him the blessing, he’s now free to pursue the activities he truly enjoys.  Good for him.  And good for him for working his tail off in his two years at Illinois to go from walk-on to scholarship to expected contributor, despite limited talent.
  • Vegas, Baby.  The WAC has followed its mid-major brethren WCC and Mountain West Conferences by moving its postseason tournament to Las Vegas, where the Orleans Arena will host beginning in 2011.  This comes on the heels of a very successful WCC Tournament at the Orleans last year, where a sold-out, raucous arena was shown on national television for St. Mary’s vs. Gonzaga.  The MWC already holds its conference tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center down the street, and this move by the WAC means that Vegas will become the basketball destination for every legitimate conference (save the Pac-10) west of the Rockies every March.  Sounds like a really fun environment for fans of these leagues.
  • No, No, NoEveryone got this wrongDerrick Rose wasn’t flashing a gang sign in the below pic, he was practicing universal remote hand signals for the letter “B” on the SAT exam.

derrick rose hand signals

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05.12.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 12th, 2009

While there’s not a ton of things happening, what has happened the last few days has been mildy interesting…

  • Everyone in the state of Kentucky wants to know what this “unspecified 2003 encounter” is all about.  For what it’s worth, Rick Pitino denied any interest in the Sacto Queens job that he was rumored to have wanted over the weekend.   Jeff Goodman likes this.
  • Luke Winn says that John Wall, Jeff Teague and Jodie Meeks are the three players still in limbo that will impact next season.  Our take is that both Wall and Meeks end up in Lexington and Teague returns to the Dash.
  • Lance Stephenson – “like a supermodel with herpes.”  Well done.
  • Pauley Pavilion is getting a long-overdue $185M renovation that will displace the home UCLA Bruins for the 2011-12 season.
  • It appears that the Toledo gamblers didn’t exactly front for a slick gaming syndicate – they probably lost money on the deal.  Here’s a breakdown of each of the games they bet on with the results against the spread.
  • Maybe the SEC won’t suck again next year – MSU’s Jarvis Varnado is returning to the Bulldog program for his senior season, joining super-frosh Renardo Sidney (assuming he’s eligible).  The nation’s two-time defending blocks leader will have a good shot at setting the record next season – he needs 142 to do so.  Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson will also return, meaning that the Cats are Jodie Meeks and possibly John Wall away from giving Kansas a run for its money as preseason #1 next season.
  • Suckers only need play in Delaware, as sports betting will be legal there very soon (only parlays, though).
  • Well, if you’re loaded and your ride got collard so you’re walking alongside a road in Maine of all places, why not add a sexual assault charge to the evening’s events?
  • Purdue head coach Matt Painter will join Pitt’s Jamie Dixon and S. Illinois’ Chris Lowery as the trio of coaches for the Team USA Under-19 team that will play in New Zealand this summer.
  • Utah’s Jim Boylen received a nice raise to $850k per year after his NCAA Tournament appearance this season.
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04.28.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on April 28th, 2009

It’s been a light few days, but we’re here to get you caught up on the few things surfacing…

  • Florida’s Alex Tyus was transferring, now he’s not.  This confused us until we remembered that he learned from Donovan two-step from the master himself. 
  • Bruce Pearl’s romantic overtures know no bounds… not even the head football coach’s wife (not that we blame him). 
  • Oddly, USC is no longer recruiting big man Renardo Sidney (who moved to LA three yrs ago for marketing purposes).  Now he may be heading back home to Mississippi St?  Stay tuned on this one.
  • Will Syracuse be the one-year football destination for Greg Paulus?
  • The NBA’s early entry deadline was Sunday – here are a few of the last-minute entries:  Mississippi St.’s Jarvis Varnado (no agent), UConn’s Ater Majok (no agent), Tennessee’s Tyler Smith (no agent), USC’s Taj Gibson (no agent) and BYU’s Jonathan Tavernari (no agent). 
  • Returning:  Iowa St.’s Craig Brackins (a major coup), Michigan’s Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims.
  • Gary Parrish doesn’t believe that Davidson will recapture the Curry magic for quite some time. 
  • It’s hard to believe this didn’t happen now that the FBI has brought charges against Karen Sypher for attempting to extort Rick Pitino for $10M, two cars, a paid-off house and college tuition.  Wow.  Regardless, we have to agree with Goodman when he says nothing good is ultimately coming from all of this.
  • He was only “holding it” for someone named “Luck.”  Welcome to Nevada basketball in the post-Mark Fox era.
  • Wichita St.’s Gregg Marshall got a one-year contract extension (to 2015) after an improved second year at the school.
  • Good to see the NCAA gumshoes going after the big boys like Northeastern, who received two years probation on Friday.
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04.15.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 15th, 2009

Happy Income Redistribution Day, everyone!

  • Who?  Depaul’s Dar Tucker (Mr. 0-18, with an agent) and Southern Miss’ Jeremy Wise (no agent) have decided to throw their hats in the early entry ring as well. 
  • More Greg Paulus.  Thought we were rid of this guy.  So…  he’s not good enough to play for Duke at QB, but he might be at Michigan?  Wow, Rich Rodriguez has a lot further to go than we thought. 
  • The Man Who Replaced Wooden.  Former UCLA and UAB coach Gene Bartow was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer, and will begin treatment immediately. 
  • Dolla Dolla Bills.  Mizzou’s Mike Anderson parlayed 31 wins and an Elite 8 appearance into seven more years on his contract at a minimum of $1.35M per. 
  • Isiah Will Work for Free (sorta).  FIU introduced Isiah Thomas as their new head coach today, and he will not take a salary of $200-300K this season (the Knicks are still paying him $12M for his final two years on his contract).  Jeff Goodman thinks there’s a reasonable chance it might work out for Isiah there, maybe he took some of those sleeping pills as well?  Mike Freeman has a slightly different take.
  • Let’s Get Wattaded.  Georgetown guard Omar Wattad will transfer out of the program, destination unknown. 
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10.27.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 26th, 2008

Ok, we’ve got the Midnight Madness nonsense past us, and now we’re officially two weeks away from the first game… 

  • Somewhat surprising turn of events in Tucson in the wake of Lute Olson’s retirement.  The presumptive next coach, Mike Dunlap, reportedly turned down the interim coaching offer, and instead Russ Pennell (a longtime assistant at Arizona St., of all places) will take over the (interim) reins at Arizona.
  • Didn’t see this coming…  UNC was picked #1 in the ACC by, um, everyone.   Over in the WCC, Gonzaga was picked first also, but only slightly ahead of St. Mary’s. 
  • Injury Update.  Cincy’s frosh PG, Cashmere Mafia Wright, tore his ACL in practice and will be out for the season.   He was expected to play a big role for the Bearcats this season.  Marshall’s starting PF, Tyler Wilkerson, broke his hand and will miss about three weeks.
  • Central Michigan’s top rebounder, Marcus Van, was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules.   
  • Here’s Parrish’s Top 30 wings for this season.
  • Cleveland St. head coach Gary Waters inked a five-year extension today after making the NIT last year. 
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