With Jerrance Howard making the move to join Bill Self’s staff at Kansas, SMU head coach Larry Brown had a vacancy to fill. He’s officially done so, as SMU officially announced the hiring of former Wichita State assistant K.T. Turner.
The news that Turner would join Brown’s staff was reported by multiple outlets earlier in the week.
Turner spent one season at Wichita State but it was a successful one, as the Shockers went 30-9 and reached the Final Four. And with Howard being a valuable recruiter for the SMU program, Turner will certainly need to have an impact in that department.
Turner has coaching experience at both the Division I and junior college levels, with stops at places such as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. Turner joins associate head coach Tim Jankovich and Ulric Maligi on the SMU coaching staff, with Jankovich in line to be Brown’s successor whenever the head coach decides to retire.
With five starters returning and the addition of a solid recruiting class headlined by McDonald’s All-American Keith Frazier, SMU won’t enter the American Athletic Conference with an empty cupboard this fall.
SMU also adds three transfers in point guard Nic Moore (Illinois State), shooting guard Crandall Head (Illinois) and power forward Markus Kennedy (Villanova), with the former being a Missouri Valley All-Freshman Team selection in his lone season at Illinois State.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.
And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.
Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.
Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.