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After coaching Stephen F. Austin to one of its best seasons in school history, Danny Kaspar left the Lumberjacks to become the new head coach at Texas State. Now Stephen F. Austin has found the man to replace him.
South Carolina assistant Brad Underwood will take over the program, according to CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman.
Underwood spent one season with the Gamecocks under Frank Martin before deciding to take over the Southland Conference regular season champions. He spent five seasons prior on staff under Martin at Kansas State.
This will be Underwood’s first head coaching stop at the Division I level, previously heading up two programs at the junior college level in Dodge City (Kan.) Community College and Daytona Beach (Fla.) Community College. He also was an assistant at Western Illinois from 1992-2003. Kaspar was able to find a ton of talent in junior colleges, including the Lumberjacks top two scorers last season in Taylor Smith and Antonio Bostic. Both have exhausted their eligibility.
A McPherson, Kan. native, Underwood gets a bit closer to home and too his recruiting roots by going to a Texas school. He’ll have some players to work with next season if he can keep all, or at least a majority, of them on campus. The Lumberjacks lose four seniors, but return players they can build with in Desmond Haymon (10.6 points per game in 2012-13) and Jacob Parker (7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds last season).
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.