Erik Pastrana hired as assistant at Stephen F. Austin

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New Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood has added to his coaching staff heading into his first season at the helm.

Erik Pastrana, who has spent the past season as an assistant at Northwest Florida State College, has taken a spot on the Lumberjacks’ staff, the school announced.

“We’re very excited to be adding Erik to our staff,” Underwood said. “He’ll be joining two experienced coaches and will add a great dimension to our staff, especially in recruiting. Erik is one of the up and coming stars in our industry and has great ties to the Florida area. We feel strongly about his ability to bring talent here.”

The job is Pastrana’s first as a full-fledged assistant at the Division I level. He spent the 2011-12 season at Labette (Kan.) Community College and also spent time coaching on the AAU circuit as well. He served as a graduate assistant at Kansas State after attended Florida State as an undergrad.

This is good hire for Underwood and a program like the Lumberjacks. The team’s roster last season featured five junior college players, and Pastrana obviously has solid roots in the JuCo ranks — the Raiders made the NJCAA National Championship game last season and Northwest Florida routinely sends multiple players to mid-and-high major Division I programs yearly. Pastrana also helped develop last year’s Junior College National Player of the Year Chris Jones, whom signed with Louisville.

(Photo courtesy of Stephen F. Austin University.)

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.