Jim Calhoun once again waffling on retirement

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For the second time in as many seasons, Jim Calhoun is heading into the start of the academic year unsure of whether or not he will remain the head coach of the UConn Huskies.

And based on what he told SI.com on Thursday, it seems like retirement is a real option for Calhoun:

“I would be very, very surprised if I didn’t have something to say within the next two weeks,” he said as he talks more about the past than the future. Calhoun said he has not decided whether or not to retire, but he sounds like he might be ready to step away. Although the competitive part of him thinks he could coach for another two years, the practical side realizes that this might be time.

“I was on a recruiting trip to Washington and as I was going around and talking to people and doing things, I said to myself, this could be the last recruiting trip I ever take,” Calhoun said. “I know I have plenty of things I want to do. I have plans. I’m just going to go with how I feel. I will know.”

A month ago, there are few that would have believed that this was a possibility, but that was before Calhoun hit a patch of sand on a bike ride by his Madison, CT, summer home and fell, breaking his hip. That crash happened on August 4th. Calhoun is still more than a week away from graduating to a cane and getting off of his crutches. Calhoun still has the drive — he was out on the recruiting trail throughout the month of July — and the passion and the fire that made him a three-time national champion, but the fact of the matter is that he is 70 years old.

And no amount of drive and passion and fire can change the fact that 70 year old bodies are brittle.

Calhoun loves the program that he has built at Connecticut. Part of the reason that he is still making a push to finish out the final two years on his contract is that he doesn’t want to leave the program that he built from scratch in a state of disarray. (2013 postseason ban aside, UConn is still recruiting like an elite program. The two players they have committed for the Class of 2013 are ranked 62nd and 112th by Rivals.) He wants to make sure that when he leaves, UConn is still an annual national title contender.

But here’s the catch-22: it’s not a secret that Calhoun wants current assistant coach Kevin Ollie to be his successor. UConn athletic director Warde Manual has publicly said that he does not want to name a coach-in-waiting. If he waits two more weeks to announce his retirement, Calhoun could force Manuel’s hand. Would Manuel be able to find a more suitable candidate for the job than Ollie (who doesn’t have any head coaching experience but would be bolstered by a staff with three former Division I head coaches and frequent visits from Calhoun)?

It would be a perfect situation for Ollie, who would get a year of on-the-job learning while playing a season with house money thanks to the postseason ban.

I think Calhoun is coming back, but I tend to agree with UConn beat-writer Kevin Duffy. There’s a better chance of Calhoun retiring than a lot of people truly believe.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Reports: Duke’s Frank Jackson to declare for draft

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Frank Jackson will declare for the draft but will not be signing with an agent, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Previous reports had indicated that Jackson “planned” to return to school, and that still may end up proving true. But the combination of Trevon Duval potentially enrolling at Duke combined with the fact that there is zero downside to going through the draft process, it makes sense for Jackson to declare.

Jackson averaged 10.9 points and shot 39.5 percent from three. He’s projected as a mid-first round pick in 2018 by Draft Express, but at 6-foot-3, he’s too small to play the two in the NBA and has yet to prove he can be a point guard.

Jackson is the fourth Duke player to declare, following Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles III and Luke Kennard. All three signed with an agent. Grayson Allen and Marques Bolden are both returning to school.

VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas

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This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.

Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.

Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.

Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.

(H/t: Ball is Life)

Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach

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Coppin State has hired former Maryland star guard Juan Dixon to be its next head coach, according to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.

Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only  3-25.

Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.

Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

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Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

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North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.