Over the last four-plus years, Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua has been a valuable member of head coach John Calipari’s coaching staff. Antigua also served as Calipari’s assistant on the Dominican Republic’s men’s national team for the last two years, helping lead the program that Antigua played for during the 1990s.
On Thursday it was announced that Antigua would be promoted to head coach of the Dominican national team, stepping into the position that’s been open since Calipari stepped down from the position last year.
“I’m extremely excited to have this opportunity. Anytime you can coach and be a participant of a national team, it’s very special,” Antigua said Thursday. “For Coach Calipari and [athletic director] Mitch Barnhart to allow me to take part in this opportunity means a lot, on a personal level as well as professionally.
“I’m also thankful to the Dominican Federation, [general manager] Eduardo Najri and [president] Rafael Uribe for their confidence in entrusting this program and team to me. It is my goal to build upon the recent success we’ve enjoyed and continue to make this a program the Dominican Republic can be proud of.”
The Dominican national team fell one win short of qualifying for the London Olympics last year, and the team included players such as Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks and Francisco Garcia of the Houston Rockets. Also on the team was 7-footer Karl Towns Jr., a verbal commitment to Kentucky and one of the top players in the Class of 2014.
Those three will likely figure prominently in Antigua’s plans as he looks to build the Dominican Republic team into one that can take the final step and qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The new position will also give Antigua more experience as a head coach, something that could pay dividends down the line when it comes to his college coaching career.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.
The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.
It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.
Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.
The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.
Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.
“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”
It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.