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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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.