When current Nebraska head coach Tim Miles made the move to Colorado State after shepherding the North Dakota State basketball program to the Division I level, Saul Phillips was tabbed as the man to make sure the Bison didn’t lose any momentum. In six seasons at the school Phillips has won 108 games, most recently leading North Dakota State to a 24-10 record (12-4 Summit League) in 2012-13.
Phillips has been rewarded for his work, with the school announcing Thursday that he’s accepted a five-year contract with a two-year rollover. NDSU made its first Summit League title game appearance since 2009 this past spring, and they also reached postseason play for the second consecutive season (CBI appearances both years).
“I am very pleased we are able to secure Saul for several more years. He is an excellent person with a great family and has proven to be an outstanding coach,” NDSU men’s athletic director Gene Taylor said in the release. “He has led a team to the NCAA tournament and, after losing some of our program’s most productive and talented basketball players to graduation, he has built another team that has excellent talent with high expectations.
“Saul has become a very valued and respected member of our staff and has a very talented group of assistants that complement him.”
With reigning Summit League champion South Dakota State losing some key contributors, most notably guard Nate Wolters, North Dakota State will be one of the early favorites to grab the crown this season. One major reason why: the return of their top four scorers from last season, with wing Taylor Braun (15.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and power forward Marshall Bjorklund (11.5, 5.9) leading the way.
Bjorklund earned first-team All-Summit League honors last season, with Braun and guard Lawrence Alexander (10.8, 3.7, 3.6 apg) earning second-team honors.
“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”
The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.
CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.
The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.
The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.
VIDEOS: Stephen Curry’s personally invites athletes to his select camp
John Calipari has a goal this offseason: to lose some weight.
“Mid-50s, I let it go a little bit,” Calipari said as he worked out on an elliptical. “Had a heck of a year. But going forward, gotta get in better shape. Gotta get the body right. Started a week ago. What I will say to you is really simple. I’m not showing you my body for a month.”
The reason why Cal needs to get into shape?
He’s going to have to coach this year, because Tyler Ulis is heading to the NBA.
“I shoulda got some of his salary,” Ulis joked.
Cal won’t have to coach too hard. He’s got one of the best recruiting classes in the country coming into the program, including three top ten players and five of the nation’s top 30 prospects.
Coaching changes can wreak havoc on a program’s recruiting class, and that’s been the case for UNLV thanks to the tumultuous nature of their search for a new head coach. Thursday evening one prospect who remained committed to the Mountain West program throughout the process that ultimately led to Marvin Menzies landing the job announced that he’s decided to reopen his recruitment.
“I was very much looking forward to the opportunity to be a Rebel this year,” Fisher wrote. “But there have been a lot of changes with the program since I committed to UNLV; changes that have made me reconsider whether UNLV is still a good fit for me. So with that in mind and after much consideration with my family, I have decided it’s best that I reopen my recruitment.”
Fisher’s decision leaves wing Justin Jackson as the lone member of UNLV’s 2016 class at this point, with Jackson telling Scout.com in early April that he was undecided as to whether or not he’d reopen his recruitment. The school’s search for a coach began in January when they parted ways with Dave Rice, promoting Todd Simon in an interim role.
After deciding not to retain Simon, who’s now the head coach at Southern Utah, UNLV hired former Little Rock head coach Chris Beard…who left for Texas Tech less than two weeks later. UNLV landed Menzies, who they passed over for Beard, and he’s got a lot of work to do to field a roster that will be competitive in the Mountain West next season.
As for Fisher, the Arlington, Tennessee native should be a popular prospect with his decision to reopen things. And with Memphis losing former commit Charlie Moore, the Tigers are in need of help at the point. The question now is whether or not new head coach Tubby Smith will look to reach out to Fisher.