Kelvin Sampson

Report: Former IU coach Kelvin Sampson is a candidate for the Nets job


Thursday afternoon, following a 14-14 start, Brooklyn Nets head coach Avery Johnson was fired. While assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo takes over on an interim basis, some names have emerged to take over the job in Brooklyn. Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Kelvin Sampson?

According to Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist, Adrian Wojnarowski, Sampson, the former Indiana head coach, is a significant candidate for the coaching vacancy in Brooklyn.

Wojnarowski stated Sampson was also a finalist for the Detroit Pistons job in 2011.

Nets general manager Billy King is intrigued with Sampson, among other candidates, and is expected to eventually speak with him, sources said.

Sampson has elevated his stature as a head-coaching candidate as the top assistant for Kevin McHale in Houston. When McHale left the team early this season to tend to his ailing daughter, Sampson led the Rockets to a 7-6 record that triggered a spurt that has Houston at 16-12 and in sixth place in the Western Conference.

From 1987-2008, Sampson held three different head coaching jobs – Washington State, Oklahoma, and Indiana – compiling 488 victories. At Indiana, Sampson was forced to resign in February 2008 following an NCAA recruiting violation involving improper phone calls to recruits.

The Hoosiers were on probation for three years, ending in 2011, following the scandal. IU also placed self-imposed penalties, limiting the team’s recruiting, including the removal of one scholarship.

Following three consecutive losing seasons, current Indiana coach Tom Crean got the Hoosiers back in the NCAA tournament in 2012 and had IU as the nation’s top team until falling to Butler on Dec. 15.

Sampson is currently the Houston Rockets after a stint with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Report: Four-star center reclassifying to 2015; down to three

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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.

The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.

But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.