Thursday proved to be a busy day for new Fairleigh Dickinson head coach Greg Herenda, as one point guard announced his intentions to join the program while another is expected to transfer.
FDU landed a commitment from 5-7 point guard Malachi Nix, who leaves Niles North (Ill.) High School as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Nix was offered by FDU while on an official visit Tuesday according to Danny Hazan of CSLInsider.com, and two days later he accepted his lone Division I offer.
“It meant the world to me,” said Nix, who is considering majoring in Sports Administration. “I’ve been working for this moment for a long time. I know my mom doesn’t have to pay for me to go to school now. That means a lot to me.
“I’ve wanted to play Division I since sixth grade and I’ve always been working on my craft, and working for that. There’s a new coach there, and it’s just a great coaching staff in general. My teammates were great, and it’s an awesome recruiting class coming in too. So I just felt like it was a perfect spot for me.”
While Nix joined the program Thursday, rising sophomore Sekou Harris has reportedly decided to transfer according to Ryan Peters of Big Apple Buckets. In 22 games for the Knights last season the Plainfield, N.J. native posted averages of 5.5 points and 2.4 assists per game in 17 minutes of action per contest.
Harris’ best outing came in an 84-70 win over Prairie View A&M on November 24, as he tallied career highs in points (24) and assists (eight). Harris’ departure leaves FDU with just two guards who played last season: senior Sidney Sanders Jr. and junior Mustafaa Jones.
Coach Herenda has quite the rebuilding project ahead of him, as the Knights finished the 2012-13 season with a 7-24 record (2-16 NEC).
One major issue for FDU was their play on the defensive end, with conference opponents averaging 78.2 points per contest (allowing a league-worst 1.14 points per possession). Also of note was their work on the boards, as FDU finished the season last in the NEC in both offensive (26.2%) and defensive (61.4%) rebounding percentage.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Villanova’s road to the Sweet 16 hit its roughest patch yet on Wednesday as the team attempted to leave campus for the team’s flight to Boston.
Since the Philadelphia area has been slammed with a snowstorm, the Wildcat team bus had issues leaving to get to the team’s chartered flight.
A struggle between team bus and ice ensued. The bus was delayed by 30 minutes before finally being able to leave.
Villanova continues its NCAA tournament journey on Friday when the No. 1 seed Wildcats play No. 5 seed West Virginia in Boston.
Wake Forest will be down a key player next season as the school announced that guard Keyshawn Woods will either transfer or go pro after graduation.
The 6-foot-3 Woods was the team’s second-leading scorer this season as he put up 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Woods shot 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range for the 2017-18 campaign.
Also a key member of last season’s NCAA tournament team for the Demon Deacons, Woods transferred to Wake Forest after spending his first season at Charlotte.
“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Manning gave me to be a part of this program and to graduate from this great university,” said Woods in the release. “I am proud that I was able to help the coaches change the culture of the program and build a foundation for the future.”
The loss of Woods won’t be easy for Wake Forest, but the team is scheduled to return some talented guards like Bryant Crawford and Brandon Childress next season. Incoming freshmen like Jaime Lewis and Sharone Wright Jr. are also signed to add to the perimeter depth.
Louisville announced on Wednesday afternoon that interim head coach David Padgett would not be retained.
Padgett, who is 32 years old, stepped in and took the program over in the wake of a scandal that cost Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino his job.
“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” said U of L Interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”
Pitino was fired because an FBI complaint contained an allegation that he and his staff had arranged for a $100,000 payment to be funneled to Brian Bowen from Adidas.
In his one season with the Cardinals, Padgett went 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.
Louisville will now conduct a search for their next head coach, and current Xavier coach Chris Mack has long been considered the favorite to take that job.
One of the most surprising parts about Kansas State’s run to the Sweet 16 is that they have done it without the services of their leading scorer, Dean Wade.
Wade injured his foot prior to the Big 12 tournament loss to Kansas. He did not play in that game or in either of Kansas State’s first two tournament games, but it is looking more and more like he’ll be on the floor on Thursday night when they play Kentucky.
“I don’t play percentages very well, but I’m feeling good,” Wade said, via SEC Country. “I’m very positive about it. It’s getting better every day and today I felt great out there, doing a little more than usual. It felt good.”
Wade averaged 16.5 points per game, but the big question is going to be whether or not he is actually healthy when he takes the court. Just because he’s on the floor doesn’t mean he’s at 100 percent.
“Really just trying to get it out of my mind that it’s not hurt,” Wade said. “Just more of a mental thing, just getting out there and running around. I think I got moved past that and it’s feeling better.”
With speculation mounting about who Pitt will hire to replace Kevin Stallings as their new head coach, current Arizona head coach Sean Miller released a statement saying that he is not in the running to fill the opening.
“I am not a candidate for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. I wish them well in their search for a new coach,” the statement read.
Miller is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumni of the school — he’s the guy that had the assist on Jerome Lane’s famous dunk — and with the issues that are currently swirling around him and the Arizona program, there was speculation that he was looking for an escape plan.
Maybe he wasn’t.
Maybe he was and the Pitt administration decided they couldn’t risk hiring someone who had an assistant coach arrested in the FBI’s sweep of college basketball and who himself may be on wiretaps talking about who knows what. Releasing this statement would then be a way for him to save face and say he was never interested.
And then maybe there’s option No. 3: Pitt has won the Dan Hurley sweepstakes.
As it stands, both the Panthers and UConn are in the process of chasing after the Rhode Island head coach, and it’s not uncommon in coaching searches for a coach to announce that he is not a candidate for the job after the job decides they want someone else. Call it a professional courtesy.
But that’s neither here nor there.
What we do know now is that Sean Miller will not be the next head coach at Pitt.