Morning Five: 04.09.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 9th, 2012

  1. Sometimes the coaching carousel is a strange creature. Later today, Trent Johnson will be announced as the next head coach at TCU. This would not be that notable except that Johnson is leaving LSU to take the job. Johnson has compiled a respectable 226-184 record in stops at Nevada, Stanford, and LSU, but that number is slightly inflated by three exceptional seasons at each stop where his team went 25-9, 28-8, and 27-8. Outside of those three seasons his record is 146-159. Now it may not be fair to exclude those three seasons because we could just as easily exclude his 9-20, 11-20, and 11-20 seasons, but it does point out some degree of inconsistency within his programs. Although Johnson still had a job at LSU perhaps he feared for his long-term security or had some issues with the administration there. In any event it does make an interesting situation when a coach left LSU to take over at TCU for a coach who went to Ohio, which is just about the exact opposite of what you would expect for most sports.
  2. After coaching at Florida International for three seasons Isiah Thomas was fired by the school on Friday. Thomas, who was a NBA legend as a player, but much less successful in his career afterwards, went 26-65. The initial thought that was perhaps with his name recognition and ties to Chicago he could bring in the type of players that would turn the school’s basketball program around. Unfortunately that was not the case and the team stumbled to a 8-21 record this season. Thomas appeared to be disappointed with the school’s decision and stated that he had been told he would get five years to turn the program around instead of the three years that he was given.  Thomas like most coaches who are fired claims that he was on the verge of turning the program around with several key incoming recruits. It will be interesting to see if the incoming coach will be able to keep those recruits and how Thomas will be viewed if those recruits can live up to his claims.
  3. After being led by Charlie Coles for sixteen seasons before he stepped down one month ago, Miami (Ohio) is set to introduce John Cooper as its next head coach. After being turned down by Arizona assistant coach James Whitford, the Red Hawks elected to pursue the Tennessee State coach, who led his team to the OVC championship game just three years after taking over a team that went 14-16 his first season. Perhaps, the most memorable moment of Cooper’s brief tenure at Tennessee State was their win over Murray State earlier this year giving the Racers their only loss of the regular season. Cooper will have a difficult task of following Coles, who was an icon within the program and the MAC. Fortunately for Cooper and the Red Hawks, we do not expect them to play Michigan any time soon.
  4. Later today, Eastern Illinois will introduce Jay Spoonhour as its next coach. Jay is the son of the well-known and well-liked late Charlie Spoonhour, who died of complications related to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis earlier this year. Spoonhour’s coaching experience has been limited to time as an assistant at several programs and some time as a head coach at the junior college level including a national championship in 2001. His only head coaching experience came in 2004 when he acted as an interim coach for his father while at UNLV and went 6-3 during his brief run.
  5. Outside of the transfer of Trey Zeigler to Pittsburgh there was some significant player movement as a few players announced that their plans for the NBA Draft. In one of the more surprising decisions we have seen, Khris Middleton has decided to leave Texas A&M forgoing his final year of eligibility. Based on what we have seen on mock drafts/draft boards Middleton is probably a late first/early second round pick. Given his injury issues this season, we figure it would have been better for Middleton to spend another year in college showcasing his skills while he is healthy, but perhaps Middleton thought it would be better to get a contract before another injury occurs. The people of Columbus have reason to celebrate as sophomore Deshaun Thomas has decided to return to Ohio State. Thomas, who had a huge NCAA Tournament, was projected as a borderline first round pick. Now with Jared Sullinger out of the picture perhaps Thomas can showcase his skills on a more regular basis. With Thomas returning expect to see the Buckeyes in the top 10 next season as they return most of their offense outside of Sullinger and have the potential to replace some of his productivity with one of their two primary recruiting targets–Amile Jefferson or Tony Parker. The last piece of news comes from Alabama where Tony Mitchell and Charles Hankerson Jr were granted releases by the school. While we expect Hankerson to transfer we are uncertain on Mitchell, who could consider entering the NBA Draft although we would advise against it. The more likely scenario is that Mitchell, who had discipline issues at Alabama, could be headed to another school.
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SEC Morning Five: 03.22.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on March 22nd, 2012

  1. After Shaka Smart turned down the Illinois job, another coach with VCU ties, current Alabama head coach Anthony Grant, emerged as a candidate for the position. According to The Chicago Tribune, “Athletic director Mike Thomas now will turn to his second-choice options, which include Alabama’s Anthony Grant and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, according to sources. Both are considered to have strong interest in the job…Thomas is believed to be pursuing high-profile candidates and African-American head coaches.”
  2. As Florida prepares for its Sweet 16 contest with Marquette, the desired pace of both schools should produce a high-scoring affair. “I think the game will certainly be a fast game,” said Florida coach Billy Donovan. “With the way we play and I think the way that they play, conditioning probably in both of our practices is a premium.” Florida and Marquette both average close to 76 points a game and rank among the nation’s top 30 scoring teams and among the top 30 most efficient offenses, according to KenPom.com.
  3. Kentucky head coach John Calipari will identify the people who have given $2.5 million to help renovate the locker room complex at Rupp Arena, a university spokesman said Wednesday. ”Coach plans to publicly recognize the donors in an appropriate fashion to thank them for their contributions in the near future,” spokesman Jay Blanton said in a statement. The plan shows a new circular locker room, a players’ lounge, a theater-style meeting room, and a new kitchen and dining area, among other upgrades. Funding for the $2.9 million project — $400,000 will be provided by Lexington Center — will be funneled through the Blue Grass Community Foundation, Owen said. Because the Lexington Center Corp. is a not-for-profit organization rather than a charitable entity, it can’t accept direct donations, and donors couldn’t take tax deductions.
  4. Auburn senior forward Kenny Gabriel will participate in the slam dunk portion of the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships on March 29 in Tulane’s Fogelman Arena at 8 p.m. on ESPN prior to the Final Four in New Orleans. “It is an honor because I never thought that I would be able to be in a dunk contest for college,” said Gabriel. “I am glad that I got the opportunity to do it. I hope to go down there and win it. I’m starting to work on my repertoire now.”
  5. As South Carolina continues its search for replacing Darrin Horn, one columnist, Ron Morris, from The State, writes that the Gamecocks need to pursue and hire a black coach. He writes, “Perhaps never in college basketball history has the opportunity been better and the number of qualified candidates greater for athletics departments to hire black men’s basketball coaches…USC is a little slow getting to this party. It remains one of four SEC programs — Florida, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt are the others — that have not employed a black men’s basketball coach.” By name, Morris mentioned Ohio State assistant Dave Dickerson (an Olar, South Carolina native) and Tennessee State’s John Cooper (assistant on Eddie Fogler’s staff from 1995 to 2001).
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Checking In On… the OVC

Posted by cbogard on December 1st, 2011

Catlin Bogard is the RTC correspondent for the Ohio Valley Conference. You can also find his musings online at OVC Ball or on Twitter @OVCBall.

Reader’s Take

Austin Peay is now 0-8 on the season, with non-conference games against Memphis, Arkansas State, Tennessee, Rochester (MI), and Belmont before starting conference play.

 

The Week That Was

  • Tennessee State Suspends Kenny Moore: Last season’s OVC all-newcomer selection Kenny Moore has been suspended indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team,” according to a press release from the school Tuesday. Head coach John Cooper said in a statement that Moore will graduate in December “and that should be the of the utmost importance for him at this time.” That line has us wondering if we will see ever see Moore back in a Tigers uniform. Although the suspension was announced Tuesday, Moore did not play in the Tigers win over Morgan State last Saturday.

Murray Won the Great Alaska Shootout and Remains Unbeaten (ADN)

  • Murray State Wins The Great Alaska Shootout: The Racers are off to their best start since the 2003-04 season, and are returning to the continental 48 this week as the winners of the Great Alaska Shootout. Murray State edged all three of its opponents, including a two-point win over Division II host Alaska-Anchorage in the first round. The final against Southern Mississippi went to double overtime before the Racers pulled away with a nine point win. Things don’t get any easier this week: Murray faces rival Western Kentucky in Bowling Green on Thursday before hosting co-Atlantic 10 favorite Dayton on Sunday.
  • Can I get a win?: As mentioned in the Reader’s Take poll above, Austin Peay is not off to the best of starts, but they’re not the only ones. Only two OVC teams are over .500 for November, and the conference as a whole has won less than 30% of their games to this point.
  • No New Teams: The Ohio Valley Conference has rejected two schools from joining the conference, Northern Kentucky University, and Alabama A&M University. Both schools received only nine votes, with 10 required to be accepted. Both schools are currently in NCAA Division II, and were looking to the OVC to make the transition into Division I.

Power Rankings

  1. Read the rest of this entry »
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