Cassara

Troubled Hofstra hoops program fires coach Mo Cassara

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Per Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, Hofstra University has fired head basketball coach Mo Cassara.

The only thing odd about this firing is that it wasn’t announced immediately at season’s end. We all know a coach can be fired for losing games, and Hofstra did that recently, losing 47 games in the two seasons since super-stud Charles Jenkins graduated and left the Pride.

Cassara might have survived even that if he had been given another year, but Hofstra administrators could not ignore the off-court turmoil that engulfed the program this season. The first bombshell hit at the beginning of the season, when sophomore Shaquille Stokes and three freshmen accomplices were arrested for stealing over $10,000 worth of laptop computers.

Cassara might have breathed a sigh of relief, as the rest of his season was relatively quiet on the crime front, but then came a nice little package of flaming poo to end the season, as UConn transfer Jamal Coombs-McDaniel was arrested for marijuana possession. Coombs-McDaniel was pulled over and cited for not wearing his seatbelt, and, coincidentally, for having several blunts sitting in the cup-holder of his vehicle.

Hofstra AD Jeff Hathaway saw Cassara off with the usual platitudes in a Friday morning press release:

“We are very thankful to Mo Cassara for his hard work and dedication to the Hofstra Basketball program over the last three years,” commented Hathaway.  “Mo is a tireless worker and has tremendous passion for the game and the students that he coached.  I personally want to thank him for his commitment to Hofstra Athletics and the University community during his tenure.  We wish him the very best.”

So, Hofstra parts ways with Mo Cassara, in a way that seems almost pre-ordained. After all, Cassara got his chance when the school’s original choice for a new head coach, Tim Welsh, was arrested for driving under the influence shortly after being hired to replace Tom Pecora in 2010.

For a knowledgeable fan response to the firing, read this article by Defiantly Dutch.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.

A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”

Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.

A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017

The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.

Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training

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Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.

You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:

“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”

Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.

South Dakota State gets two commits

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Tuesday was a busy and productive one for South Dakota State on the recruiting trail.

The Jackrabbits secured two 2017 commitments from the state of Wisconsin in Ryan Krueger and Alex Arians, a source tells NBCSports.com.

Krueger is a 6-foot-5 wing player from New London, Wisc. while Arians is a 6-foot-4 guard from Madison, Wisc., who also held an offer from Wright State, which is coached by former SDSU coach Scott Nagy. Both players spend their summers playing for the Wisconsin Swing grassroots program.

The pair make it a trio of commits for the Jackrabbits in 2017 with another Wisconsinite, Alou Dillon, pledging to first-year Jackrabbits coach T.J. Otzelberger, himself a Wisconsin native, earlier this summer.

South Dakota State went 26-8 last year and the bulk of the team that made the NCAA tournament last year, including sophomore Mike Daum, who led the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman.

Incoming Gator freshman ineligible for upcoming season

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Florida will need to wait a year before seeing 6-foot-11 recruit Gorjok Gak playing games for the Gators.

The NCAA ruled that the incoming freshman will be able to enroll at Florida this year and practice with the team, but will be ineligible for games this season, the school announced Tuesday.

Should he meet all his progress marks during his freshman year, he’ll have three seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2017-18.

Gak’s eligibility issue centered on his playing games during his postgraduate year at Victory Rock Prep, according to his coach there.

“Following his graduate year from Australia, he was supposed to play from December to December,” Loren Jackson told the Gainesville Sun, “but instead played from December until the following May.”

Gak originally signed with Oklahoma State, but de-committed following Travis Ford’s firing in Stillwater this past spring. Gak averaged 13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds last season at Victory Rock in Bradenton, Fla.

Florida went 21-15 last season under first-year coach Mike White.