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.

VIDEO: UConn’s Kwintin Williams would win the NBA dunk contest

Screengrab via Instagram
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Think that’s too strong?

Look at this dunk:

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A post shared by Kwintin Williams (@jumpmanebig) on

He also did this over the summer:

Williams is a 6-foot-7, 215 pound JuCo transfer that should provide UConn with some minutes in the frontcourt this season.

LSU officially announces addition of Kavell Bigby-Williams

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LSU has announced the addition of Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams, a 6-foot-11 junior that was the National Junior College Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Bigby-Williams, who is a native of London, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards last season as the Ducks reached the Final Four, but he played the majority of the season while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred while he was at Gillette College in Wyoming.

The local County Attorney declined to charge Bigby-Williams with a crime, and Gillette College police consider the case closed.

“The university conducted a responsible and comprehensive review before approving the transfer,” a release posted on LSU’s Athletics site read, “including close coordination with Title IX officials, multiple discussions with Gillette and Oregon officials and a thorough examination of available public records.”

LSU head coach Will Wade was quoted in that release as well: “This is an issue we all take seriously and we made absolutely sure we did our due diligence before considering moving forward. Kavell understands that and has made clear to me that he’s going to repay our confidence by representing LSU with his very best on and off the court.”

Report: Four-star Mamaou Doucoure has reclassified, enrolled at Rutgers

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Rutgers has made a potentially significant addition to their 2017 recruiting class, as four-star big man Mamadou Doucoure appears to have reclassified.

According to the Asbury Park Press, Doucoure has already enrolled in classes at Rutgers, citing a search of the university’s online database. The 6-foot-9 Doucoure was initially a member of the Class of 2017 before reclassifying to 2018, although there have been rumors that he has been trying to enroll this year.

It’s not yet clear if Doucoure will be eligible to play this season — he has not even been added to Rutgers’ roster online — but if he’s eligible, he should be able to provide rotation minutes for the Scarlet Knights.

Even if he’s not cleared to play this season, his addition matters. He’ll be able to workout with and develop in a Big Ten locker room before getting cleared to play alongside a massive 2018 recruiting class that already includes four-stars Mac McClung and Montez Mathis along with three-star prospect Ron Harper Jr.

Options drying up for top ten prospect Mitchell Robinson

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It’s looking less and less likely that we’ll see Mitchell Robinson on a college campus this season.

Robinson, if you’ve forgotten, committed to and signed with Western Kentucky, enrolling at the school and practicing with the team over the summer. But he left Bowling Green after two weeks and has received a release to transfer out of the program.

And that’s where the difficultly here lies.

He’s a transfer, which means that, as a top ten prospect and a likely one-and-done player, he will be redshirting the only year that he is on campus unless the NCAA would provide him with a waiver, which is unlikely. After Robinson left WKU, three schools have emerged as potential landing spots: LSU, Kansas and New Orleans. LSU ended their recruitment two weeks ago. Over the weekend, Kansas head coach essentially confirmed that Robinson will not be a Jayhawks.

“I would think that we probably won’t sign anybody,” Self told the Kansas City Star.

That leaves New Orleans, his hometown school, or overseas, which is a rumor that has followed Robinson since the spring. The other option? Sitting out and training for a year, which FanRag Sports reported on Sunday is a possibility.

However you slice it, Robinson’s one-and-done year has turned into a mess. He’s still likely to end up as a first round pick — seven-footers that can do the things he does defensively don’t grow on trees — but I can’t imagine that teams are going to be clamoring to use a lottery pick on a player that just spent a year sitting out.

VIDEO: Texas freshman Jericho Sims catches nasty alley-oop

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Texas is in Australia for their team’s summer trip, and Jericho Sims gave Longhorn fans a glimpse of why they may not miss Jarrett Allen’s athleticism all that much this season.