spt-120123-mikerice

Rutgers fires men’s basketball coach Mike Rice

53 Comments

To follow along with the 2013 Coaching Carousel, click here.

One day after footage of his behavior during practices was shown on the ESPN program Outside the Lines, Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice has been fired by the school as originally reported by multiple outlets.

In three seasons at the school Rice, formerly the head coach at Robert Morris, posted an overall record of 44-51 but managed to go just 16-38 in Big East play.

Despite the lack of on-court success it’s the video footage of abusive behavior in practices that led to Rice’s ouster.

Allegations of abusive behavior made by former Rutgers director of basketball development Eric Murdock, whose contract was not renewed by the school following the 2011-12 season. In the video shown by ESPN Rice is seen throwing basketballs at players and using profane language, including a homophobic slur.

MORE: Rice isn’t alone in this kind of behavior

After originally viewing the tapes athletic director Tim Pernetti suspended Rice for three games, fined him $75,000 and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.

Once the public saw the video and realized the severity of Rice’s actions it became clear to many that the original punishment did not fit.

“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” said Pernetti in a statement released by the school. “Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong.

“Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”

MORE: How an assistant coach’s departure sealed Rice’s fate

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released a statement on Tuesday that he was “deeply disturbed” by the footage,  and other state politicians called for Rice to be fired.

The question now is whether or not more changes are made within the athletic department given the initial punishment.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Yet there’s no doubt that this is another black eye for a program that’s had its share of issues over the last decade.

Rice would be the fourth consecutive Rutgers men’s basketball coach to exit under a cloud of controversy. Kevin Bannon left in disgrace in 2001 after forcing his players to shoot naked free throws as part of a practice contest. Gary Waters’ fairly successful tenure ended shortly after he missed a 2006 game when a snowstorm trapped him at Kent State, his previous school, where he was being honored. Fred Hill was bought out in 2010 for insubordination after he made a scene at a Rutgers baseball game.

In the last year five players have transferred out of the program. At the end of last season Austin Carroll (American) and Gilvydas Biruta (Rhode Island) left, with Malick Kone, Vincent Garrett and Jerome Seagears announcing their intentions to leave at the end of the 2012-13 campaign.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
Leave a comment

Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

Leave a comment

Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Leave a comment

Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
Leave a comment

Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.