University of Houston

Former Navarro JC head coach Johnny Estelle joins Houston coaching staff

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Steve Forbes, who made the move from head coach at Northwest Florida State to joining Gregg Marshall’s staff at Wichita State, wasn’t the only coach to go from the junior college ranks to Division I this week.

On Wednesday, Houston head coach James Dickey announced the addition of former Navarro Junior College (Texas) head coach Johnny Estelle to his coaching staff. Estelle, who has been the head coach at Navarro since 2008, led the Bulldogs to a record of 126-48 during his tenure at the school and won three Region XIV tournament titles.

And he’s got a connection to the Houston program, with current senior guard Jimmie Jones being one of three Navarro products who have transferred to Houston during Estelle’s run as head coach. The other two, Darian Thibodeaux (2010-12) and Leon Gibson (2011-13), have since graduated from UH.

“We are excited to welcome Johnny to the University of Houston,” Dickey said in the release announcing the hire. “Over the years, I have observed how Johnny has been able to get the most from his players. He is a family man, a quality person and has great rapport with his players.

“Johnny is a tremendous addition to our staff, and we are pleased to welcome him, his wife Ana and their children Jevon, Jasmine, Jacquelyn and Jayden to the Houston Basketball family.”

Estelle, who replaces Daniyal Robinson (who joined Porter Moser’s staff at Loyola-Illinois), joins Alvin Brooks and Ronnie Hamilton on Dickey’s coaching staff for the 2013-14 season. The Cougars, who finished the 2012-13 season with a 20-13 record, will play its first season in the American Athletic Conference this winter.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.