The day that UNLV fans have been waiting for finally arrived, as on Wednesday the school unveiled the bronze statue built in honor for Jerry Tarkanian, one of the most successful coaches in basketball history. In 19 seasons at UNLV, “Tark the Shark” won 509 games and led the Runnin’ Rebels to their lone national title (1990) and three other Final Four appearances.
Overall Tarkanian recorded 990 wins as a college head coach, with the run including stops at Riverside (Calif.) City College, Pasadena (Calif.) City College, Long Beach State and Fresno State in addition to UNLV. Tarkanian won 81% of the games he coached, and at the Division I level his teams made 14 NCAA tournament appearances (13 trips to the Sweet 16).
And just over a month after he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, Tarkanian was able to sit next to an oversized statue of himself, with the famous wet towel present as well. The extra chair is a part of the statue, allowing visiting fans to sit down next to the coach and have their picture taken. The statue is located in front of the Thomas & Mack Center and behind the Mendenhall Center, where the basketball team practices.
“This beautiful statue is a lasting tribute to not only me but all my players and coaches,” Jerry Tarkanian said. “… I never dreamed something like this could happen.
Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.