Which college basketball coaches are on the hot seat in 2012-13?

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Throughout the month of October, CollegeBasketballTalk will be rolling out our previews for the 2012-2013 season. Check back at 9 a.m. and just after lunch every day, Monday-Friday, for a new preview item.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To look at the rest of The Lists we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

As the coaching carousel keeps spinning, many coaches who were on the hot seat in 2011-12 have now been fired or moved on to other destinations. But some remain, poised to have a season that puts their teams back into contention, others feeling that seat getting hotter by the minute.

Herb Sendek, Arizona State

Coming off of a 10-21 season with the Sun Devils last year, Sendek caught a tough break when two of his assistants left for positions at other Division-I programs late in the summer, nearly rolling over his entire bench days before classes started at ASU.

On the court, Sendek is losing his top two leading scorers from last year’s team, Trent Lockett, who transferred to Marquette, and Keala King, who was dismissed from the team for “unacceptable conduct.”

The one bright spot for Arizona State will be the addition of electric point guard Jahii Carson, who was ruled academically ineligible last season.

Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest

Bzdelik is 21-42 in his first two seasons with the Demon Deacons, and with a wave of transfers leaving the program in the off-season, including Tony Chennault, Tony Fields, and Carson Desrosiers, Wake Forest will be leaning more on a big freshman class to pick up the slack.

That freshman class includes seven players, within that is Top-100 guard Codi Miller-McIntyre, and Bzdelik has gotten a heard start on 2013 with a commitment from Top-100 player Greg McClinton.

Wake tied for last in the ACC last season, and another year like that could be the end for Bzdelik with the Demon Deacons.

Ben Howland, UCLA

Many thought that UCLA’s subpar season and the less-than-flattering Sports Illustrated story about the program could spell the end for Howland in Westwood. The thing is, had he been let go, that would have put in jeopardy the stellar recruiting class slated to come to the Bruins this fall.

This is Howland’s moment. Assuming Shabazz Muhammad is cleared to play, pending the results of an NCAA investigation into his initial eligibility, the Bruins have the collection of talent to make noise in the Pac-12.

Skeptics ask whether the pieces fit together, but this is the best chance UCLA and Howland could get to be a consistent Top 25 team.

Coaches Who Have Cooler Seats This Season

Stan Heath, USF

After being talked about as a coach possibly on the hot seat in 2011-12, Heath responded with a defensive-oriented team that went 22-14 and made a trip to the NCAA tournament. Look for guard Anthony Collins to continue to grow into one of the more effective point guards in the Big East after an impressive freshman season.

Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss

Kennedy got a contract extension through 2014 after winning 20 games with the Rebels in 2011-12. He has a solid 2012 recruiting class coming in, which should help, including Anthony Cortesia, Martavious Newby, and Terry Brutus.

Craig Robinson, Oregon State

Robinson, the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama, this month signed a contract extension through the 2016-17 season.

His Beavers won the CBI championship in his first season, but have since made two other CBI appearances, no NIT trips, and had no NCAA bids. They finished 7-11 in the Pac-12 conference last season and 21-15 overall.

Robinson will have to compensate for the loss of leading scorer Jared Cunningham, who left early for the NBA draft and was selected in the first round.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.