After spending one year on the coaching staff at LSU, long-time assistant Robert Kirby is once again leaving the SEC, this time to join Josh Pastner and the Memphis Tigers.
Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune reports that the first-year LSU assistant resigned as an assistant coach on Monday night in order to take a similar position at Memphis. Kirby’s information has already been removed from the LSU coaching staff page.
“I totally enjoyed my year here at LSU,” Kirby told NOLA.com. “It was very educational as well as enjoyable with the players that we had here to work with as well as the coaching staff. Baton Rouge and the LSU family is a great family and they welcomed me with open arms and I will never forget them. I will never forget the times I had here and the people I worked with. They were just outstanding.”
Kirby has spent the majority of his career — through two different stints — with Mississippi State. Before joining Johnny Jones’ coaching staff, Kirby spent two years with John Thompson III at Georgetown.
Kirby’s hiring is waiting approval of the University and Tennessee State Board of Regents. If that goes through, Pastner adds one of the top assistant coaches in the country, who has 28 years of experience. Kirby will also help on the recruiting trail, being named one of the top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com. Adding a Memphis native will help add to Pastner’s success recruiting in the Bluff City.
“We’re excited to have Coach (Robert) Kirby join our staff,” Pastner said in a school statement. “He’s one of the elite coaches in the country in both recruiting and on-the-floor coaching. He’ll be great with our guys in establishing relationships with them.
“Coach Kirby is also from Memphis, and it’s good to get him back home. We’re honored that he’s a part of our staff.”
The Tigers finished 31-5 (16-0 Conference USA), ending the 2012-2013 campaign with a 70-48 loss to Michigan State in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Memphis will be playing in the American Athletic Conference this season.
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?
Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.
According to a report from Kyle Austin of MLive.com, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.
The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.
If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.
Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.