Tad Boyle

Colorado assistants get new titles in hopes of bolstering head coaching prospects

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While the head coaching carousel is the focus every offseason the many changes within a coaching staff can also have an impact.

At Colorado, head coach Tad Boyle is fortunate to have led the same staff for each of his three seasons in Boulder, resulting in the most successful stretch in the history of the program.

With a 69-38 record and two NCAA tournament appearances, it can be argued that assistants such as Jean Prioleau and Mike Rohn deserve a sniff from some program looking to hire a new head coach.

But that has yet to happen. And with that in mind, Boyle has given both an additional title with the hope being that it will nudge Prioleau and Rohn a little closer to their goal of being a head coach.

On Thursday, Boyle named Prioleau his associate head coach and Rohn his recruiting coordinator according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

“In terms of their day-to-day duties and what they’re doing for the program, nothing changes,” Boyle said. “We’ve had a lot of success in recruiting and coach Rohn has been a big part of that, as our whole staff has. Coach Prioleau has shown everything it takes to be a head coach at this level and I think he deserves that opportunity; it’s just a matter of him finding the right fit.

“Hopefully over the next couple of years that fit will present itself.”

Boyle noted in the story that while he certainly doesn’t want to lose capable assistants such as Prioleau and Rohn, he also doesn’t want to hold them back in their quest to run their own programs.

Colorado will need to account for the loss of forward Andre Roberson and guard Sabatino Chen, two key pieces on a team that won 21 games in 2012-13.

But with players such as guards Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie and forwards Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott returning to Boulder (not to mention a talented recruiting class that includes Tre’Shaun Fletcher and Jaron Hopkins), Colorado should be among the best teams in the Pac-12.

And if the Buffaloes can continue to leave their mark on the basketball court, new opportunities could arise for Boyle’s assistants.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.