Old Dominion had a good thing going over the past decade or so. Cutting Blaine Taylor loose as coach was likely a necessary measure if the under-the-table scuttlebutt is true, but the abrupt mid-season coaching change has definitely give the program some new hurdles to get over.
Not only are they heading into Conference USA with a new leader – former UVA and American head coach Jeff Jones – but they’re struggling with decisions made by the prior coaching staff as well.
According to Ed Miller of the Virginian-Pilot, former ODU recruit Ramone Snowden – a local kid from the Tidewater area – has grown tired of waiting to be admitted to the university, and will take his services to Niagara instead.
The story of how this came to be is far from clear, but Miller tracked down some comments from interested parties.
[Snowden’s high school coach Norman] Hassell said ODU told Snowden he would have to raise his SAT scores to gain admission. Snowden took the test several times, but was told he still had not met the standard, Hassell said.
“In May, they said he had to have 10 points higher than what he had scored previously. In June, they said it had to be 30 points higher. Ultimately, the last person we talked to said it had to be 40 points higher,” Hassell said.
Hassell faulted ODU for stringing Snowden along and questioned whether the new coaching staff truly wanted him, or whether they simply felt obligated to honor the offer Taylor had made.
Snowden says he missed out on several offers while he waited for his hometown program to admit him, so he jumped at the Niagara offer when it was presented.
It may very well be that Jones has other ideas of what type of player he wants, but he’ll want to stay in the good graces of local programs. The Hampton Roads area is a hotbed of athletic talent, and it would be a bad thing indeed if Jones gets a bad name amongst the movers and shakers in his own backyard this early in his tenure at Old Dominion.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.