The Big East put out a release today announcing that Tulsa will become an all-sports member of the conference as of July 1st, 2014.
To clarify, Tulsa is not joining the Catholic 7, which will be splitting off from the Big East and bringing the name along with them. Tulsa is joining the remnants of that league, which will be headlined by the likes of UConn, Cincinnati, Memphis and South Florida.
Tulsa will be the 11th all-sports member in the conference, and when Navy joins as a football-only member in 2015, the soon-to-be-renamed Big East will have 12 teams and will be able to host a championship game.
From a basketball perspective, this isn’t a bad addition, as Tulsa has a reputation for being a program that can make tournament runs and launch coaching careers. Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith, Bill Self and Buzz Peterson all can claim being the head coach of the Golden Hurricane on their current resume. Billy Gillispie, Flip Saunders, Kevin O’Neill, Tom Izzo and Mike Anderson have all been assistant coaches there. Currently, Danny Manning is the Tulsa head coach.
They haven’t been to the tournament in a decade, and few recruits know of the program’s relevance.
Will a move to a “bigger” league help?
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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of Scout.com 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.
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.