Randy Monroe

Two days before practice starts, UMBC coach Randy Monroe resigns

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Just two days away from the start of team practices to begin the 2012-13 season, UMBC coach Randy Monroe has resigned.

“We appreciate all that Coach Monroe did for our basketball program and our community during his long tenure at UMBC,” UMBC athletic director Charles Brown said in a statement. “We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors.”

UMBC had been under Monroe’s watch for the past eight seasons, with the coach amassing an overall record of 85-159. Prior to becoming the head coach, Monroe served as an assistant at UMBC for 10 seasons.

Monroe’s only winning season as head coach of the team came in 2007-08. That season, the Retrievers finished 24-9, winning the America East regular season and tournament titles and securing a berth in the NCAA tournament.

To replace Monroe on an interim basis, assistant Aki Thomas takes over as the head of the program.

“Aki brings an excellent playing and coaching background to the position,” Brown said in the release. “He has strong communication skills and will fit into our program in a very positive way. I am confident that he will be able to support our student-athletes during this time of transition. I am excited about this year’s men’s basketball team and feel that we can compete for the America East Conference title.”

Over the past three seasons, UMBC has gone 13-77 overall. They finished last season with a 4-26 mark. The Retrievers bring in two new recruits from the Class of 2012.

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

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.