Tom Crean, Indiana coaching staff respond to Wall Street Journal article, calling Hoosiers’ underachievers (VIDEO)

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On Tuesday, a summer news conference for the Indiana University men’s basketball team turned into a rant by associate head coach Tim Buckley against a Wall Street Journal article calling last season’s Indiana Hoosiers “historic underachievers.”

The WSJ article appeared in the July 1 edition of the paper under the headline: ‘The Biggest Underachiever in NCAA History.’ (a portion of the article can be seen here). The article ran days after Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller went No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, in the NBA Draft and pointed out that this Hoosiers’s team underachieved more than any other team, based on similar talent, in NCAA tournament history. The Journal grouped Indiana with other programs that had two top-5 picks in the same season.

Indiana was one of three teams to only make the Sweet Sixteen in those seasons. The other two were Duke’s Jay Williams and Mike Dunleavy in 2002 — though the won a title the previous season. The first was North Carolina’s Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins in 1984, but both were on the ’82 title team.

During Tuesday’s press conference Buckley, fired back, citing the remarkable job Tom Crean has done given the state the program was in when he took over in 2008 (as seen in the video above):

“We’re pretty proud of this group. And we’re disappointed as much as anybody else with not going further in the NCAA tournament. Our fifth-place team (Michigan) in the Big Ten played for the national championship. That’s how good this league was. And for us to do it night in and night out; I don’t think we ever lost two games in a row.

“Someone point out to me what was underachieved from April 1, 2008, until we went through draft night. I’m going to speak to that because I know what everybody up here put into it, I know what everybody’s family put into it, I know what every one of the players and their families put into it.”

Tom Crean used his own Twitter account on Tuesday to praise Oladipo and Zeller for their accomplishments and what they had meant to a program that needed new life.

According this formula concocted by the Wall Street Journal, yes the Hoosiers underachieved in 2012-2013. But let’s put it all in perspective, Indiana was the top team in the nation’s best conference. Let’s go even broader, players like Oladipo and Zeller brought the Indiana program back to relevance. So underachievers might be a tough label to pin on them.

[h/t David Woods of the Indianapolis Star]

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Missouri lands No. 1 player in Class of 2017 as Michael Porter Jr. commits

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Missouri and new head coach Cuonzo Martin have landed the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017 a week after he took the job as forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to the Tigers on Friday.

Formerly a Washington commit under now-fired head coach Lorenzo Romar, the 6-foot-9 Porter was released from his Letter of Intent this week and many believed he’d end up back at Missouri.

The Porter family lived in Columbia for many years as two of Michael’s older sisters play for the Missouri women’s team while Michael Porter Sr. was an assistant coach for the women’s team.

When Porter Sr. was hired to Missouri to be an assistant coach on Martin’s staff this week — after losing his assistant coaching job at Washington when Romar was fired — it all but sealed the deal that the Porters would return to Missouri and Michael Jr. would play for the Tigers.

Missouri might not be an NCAA Tournament team next season after struggling to an 8-24 finish and 2-16 record in the SEC. But Porter might be the most productive freshman entering college basketball next season as he has a chance to be dominant in the SEC.

Oklahoma State promotes assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach

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Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.

Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.

The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.

 

Rhode Island junior E.C. Matthews will return to school

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Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.

Cal promotes assistant Wyking Jones to head coach

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Cal will promote interim head coach and former assistant coach Wyking Jones to head coach, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com

A native of Inglewood, California, Jones has been an assistant coach for the Golden Bears for the past two seasons as he replaces former head coach Cuonzo Martin, who departed to take the Missouri job. This promotion comes as a bit of a surprise for some since Jones has never been a head coach at the Division I level.

Jones has spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level at places like Cal, Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount — where Jones spent his playing career.

Helping Louisville to the Final Four in 2013, Jones is a respected coach and recruiter who gets a great opportunity for his first head coaching job at the Division I level with Cal.

The Golden Bears made the NCAA tournament last year but finished 21-13 this season as they missed making the field of 68. Sophomore big man Ivan Rabb has already declared for the NBA Draft and it will be interesting to see what kind of roster Jones gets to work with right away.

One of the reasons Jones might have been retained is to help Cal keep its solid five-man recruiting class from bolting. While the Golden Bears don’t have any five-star talents coming in, it is a solid foundation for the program’s future led by a four-star guard in Jemarl Baker.

Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac declares for 2017 NBA Draft

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Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-10 Isaac was a five-star prospect out of high school as he averaged 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. One of the most versatile defenders in the country, Isaac could protect the rim (1.5 blocks per game) and also switch out to the perimeter and cover smaller wings as well (1.2 steals per game). Also showing a solid skill level, Isaac shot 50 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

That kind of versatility is what Isaac is banking on in the NBA Draft as he’s expected to be a top-15 pick. If Isaac can prove that he’s a reliable perimeter shooter then teams could be intrigued by him as a matchup nightmare in the front court.