Saul Phillips

North Dakota State head coach Saul Phillips inks new five-year deal

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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.

North Carolina to wear black jerseys December 19 vs. UCLA

UNC Athletic Communications
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While there have been some alterations made to North Carolina’s basketball uniforms over the years, there haven’t been too many drastic shifts. Of course there was the move to the Alexander Julian-designed argyle print during the 1990’s, and there were also those jerseys in 1999 that had the interlocking “NC” logo as opposed to “North Carolina” on the front.

Friday the program announced a major uniform change for its game against UCLA December 19 in Brooklyn. North Carolina will be wearing black jerseys for the first time in school history. Senior guard Marcus Paige showed off the new look to his teammates, and it’s safe to say that they’re happy with the new uniforms.

Traditionalists probably won’t like the uniforms, and that’s fine. Changes such as these tend to focus more on the younger crowd (especially recruits), which in some instances like the status that can come with having something that’s both new and exclusive.

Villanova forward to undergo hip surgery

Jay Wright
Associated Press
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Two-time defending Big East champion Villanova will be down a man in its front court, as the program announced Friday that freshman forward Tim Delaney will undergo hip surgery. According to the release a torn labrum in Delaney’s left hip is the reason for the surgery, and it has yet to be determined how long the freshman will be sidelined.

“I’m disappointed for Tim,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “Tim had a great summer and preseason. He’s a very coachable young man and was picking up everything we do. The good news is that the doctors tell us this is an injury that can be fixed and we know Tim will be fully committed to his rehab.”

Villanova’s front court rotation will be led by senior Daniel Ochefu, who averaged 9.2 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15. Junior Darryl Reynolds and sophomore Kris Jenkins will also see minutes in the front court, with redshirt freshman guard/forward Mikal Bridges factoring into the competition as well.

Villanova also has Fordham transfer Eric Paschall, but he isn’t eligible to compete in games this season.