Saint Mary’s taps Australia pipeline for new assistant coach

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With former assistant coach Rick Croy moving on to accept the head coaching position at Cal Baptist, Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett had a spot to fill on his staff. And Bennett filled the position by hiring someone with connections to Australia, a country that has been instrumental in the Gaels’ emergence as a power in the West Cost Conference.

On Thursday the school announced that Marty Clarke, who has international experience as both a player and coach, has been hired to complete Bennett’s coaching staff for the 2013-14 campaign. Clarke spent the last three seasons as head coach of the Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League, and he was also an assistant on Australia’s senior men’s national team from 2009-2012. In that role he was able to work closely with players such as Andrew Bogut and former Saint Mary’s greats Patrick Mills and Matthew Dellavedova.

Clarke also has experience at the Australian Institute for Sport, where he served as an assistant (1998-2002) and head coach (2002-09). The AIS has produced many players who have played college basketball in the United States.

Those ties can only serve to help Saint Mary’s as they look to continue their run as one of the WCC’s premier basketball programs.

“I am pleased we were able to add such an experienced coach as Marty Clarke to our staff,” Bennett said in the release announcing the hire.  “He has extensive experience as a player and as a coach at every international level and will make a major impact in our program.

“Along with the recent addition of Jim Shaw as a special assistant, Marty, Eran Ganot and Adam Caporn give us an excellent staff that will help us continue to keep our program operating at a high level.”

Speaking of the aforementioned Dellavedova, the Gaels will need their six returning seniors to help account for his graduation if they’re to compete with Gonzaga in 2013-14. Players such as Stephen Holt (11.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Beau Levesque (10.6, 4.4) will be asked to lead the way, and the same can be said of junior big man Brad Waldow (10.2, 6.0).

But with that much experience on the way out at the end of the upcoming season, there’s a lot of work to be done on the recruiting trail. And if Clarke’s ties to Australia can help in that regard, Saint Mary’s should be able to fill those roster slots.

CBT Podcast: 2018 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview, Picks and Predictions

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Sam Vecenie of the Athletic and the Game Theory podcast stopped by to chat with Rob Dauster about the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. The two went through each of the eight Sweet 16 matchups, detailing how each one of those eight games projects to play out and going over which lines — spread and over-unders — they like.

Dan Hurley will accept UConn head coaching position

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Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley will be the next head coach at UConn, replacing the 2014 national title winner, Kevin Ollie.

Hurley will be signing a six-year deal, according to multiple reports, that could be valued as much as $18 million. Hurley picked UConn over Pitt, who had also offered him a similar amount of money.

Hurley turned the Rhode Island program around during his six-year tenure, capped off with a pair of seasons where the Rams won a game in the NCAA tournament. UConn, which is one of the best jobs but has not been one of the best teams in the AAC in recent years, should be a place where he can continue to recruit talent. Under Ollie, the Huskies have been able to get players. The issue has been the performance and development of those players once they get to campus.

The Huskies finished 14-18 this past season.

Dan Hurley is the son of New Jersey high school coaching legend Bob Hurley and the brother of former Duke guard and current Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley.

VIDEOS: Villanova team bus stuck on icy roads trying to leave campus

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Villanova’s road to the Sweet 16 hit its roughest patch yet on Wednesday as the team attempted to leave campus for the team’s flight to Boston.

Since the Philadelphia area has been slammed with a snowstorm, the Wildcat team bus had issues leaving to get to the team’s chartered flight.

A struggle between team bus and ice ensued. The bus was delayed by 30 minutes before finally being able to leave.

Villanova continues its NCAA tournament journey on Friday when the No. 1 seed Wildcats play No. 5 seed West Virginia in Boston.

Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods to transfer or go pro after graduation

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Wake Forest will be down a key player next season as the school announced that guard Keyshawn Woods will either transfer or go pro after graduation.

The 6-foot-3 Woods was the team’s second-leading scorer this season as he put up 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Woods shot 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range for the 2017-18 campaign.

Also a key member of last season’s NCAA tournament team for the Demon Deacons, Woods transferred to Wake Forest after spending his first season at Charlotte.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Manning gave me to be a part of this program and to graduate from this great university,” said Woods in the release. “I am proud that I was able to help the coaches change the culture of the program and build a foundation for the future.”

The loss of Woods won’t be easy for Wake Forest, but the team is scheduled to return some talented guards like Bryant Crawford and Brandon Childress next season. Incoming freshmen like Jaime Lewis and Sharone Wright Jr. are also signed to add to the perimeter depth.

David Padgett not retained as Louisville coach

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Louisville announced on Wednesday afternoon that interim head coach David Padgett would not be retained.

Padgett, who is 32 years old, stepped in and took the program over in the wake of a scandal that cost Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino his job.

“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” said U of L Interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”

Pitino was fired because an FBI complaint contained an allegation that he and his staff had arranged for a $100,000 payment to be funneled to Brian Bowen from Adidas.

In his one season with the Cardinals, Padgett went 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Louisville will now conduct a search for their next head coach, and current Xavier coach Chris Mack has long been considered the favorite to take that job.