Maybe I have an addiction to college hoops that is just a bit too strong, or maybe I just have too much time on my hands to think about these things, but I love backtracking through the coaching carousel and figuring out how once decision sparked a chain reaction of job-hopping.
In this story, we’ll start way back on May 16th, when Raphael Chillious decided that one year on the east coast was enough for him. After spending a season on Jay Wright’s staff at Villanova, Chillious decided to return to Washington, where he had spent years on Lorenzo Romar’s staff. With a job in Philly on a power conference team opening, former Xavier assistant and Philly native Ashley Howard decided to return back to his city about a week later. To replace Howard, Xavier head coach Chris Mack set his sights on Missouri assistant Rick Carter, who had spent four seasons at Western Michigan before a year on Frank Haith’s staff.
That happened on Friday.
According to a report from Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Haith has decided to fill that void on his coaching staff with former Drake head coach Mark Phelps. Phelps replaced Keno Davis as the Bulldogs head coach after Davis took over at Providence, but amassing a 77-86 record in five seasons in the MVC isn’t the best way to keep your job.
Phelps cut his teeth under Herb Sendek at both NC State and Arizona State.
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.
News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.
Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.
Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.
Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.
6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.
West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.
Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.