Ed Cooley

Vin Parise’s 30-second timeout: Q-and-A with Ed Cooley and Dan Hurley

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Vin Parise from CollegeBasketballTalk caught up with Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley and Providence head coach Ed Cooley. The Friars and Rams square off tonight in the Battle of the Ocean State.

*Ed Cooley – Providence

CBT: Let’s first talk about your Sunday night loss to Kentucky.

Cooley: I though we played well in stretches and really competed but Kentucky played very, very good. They were strong on the inside and shot it great from 3 point land as well – coming into the game they were below 30% from deep. Their size and length really bothered us though. They’re young, but they’re a very strong team.

CBT: What about your team right now?

Cooley: Our rotation is a little shorter with Kris Dunn and the freshmen out of course; but I really like how hard our guys are playing. And I like the fact that we’ve played in some close games and away from our home court so far. That will help us not only for Thursday night but moving forward as well.

CBT: What are your thoughts on your 2nd trip as head coach down to the Ryan Center at URI for this year’s in-state battle?

Cooley: I’m excited…really excited. Rhode Island has some really good pieces to their team this year and I’m sure it’s going to be a great atmosphere down there. Our guys are excited but it will definitely be a be tough road game for us.

*Dan Hurley – Rhode Island

CBT: Catch us up on how your Rams are doing right now?

Hurley: I like our guys’ attitudes right now. Xavier Munford and Gilvydas Biruta have played through some nagging injuries without publicizing it since the start of the year and have stayed positive and battled. And I really love the way Biggie Minnus handled coming off the bench with his attitude for the first 8 games of the year. (Minnus started their last game vs George Mason) We just need to keep improving and get some more production moving forward.

CBT: What about the last time out – your loss at George Mason?

Hurley: I wish we shot the ball better and didn’t turn it over as much, but I like the way we competed on the road for the first time this year facing a tough Atlantic 10 level opponent. For the first time out in league; I liked our grittiness.

CBT: You’re in year 2 of your rebuilding job and you’ve done a lot in 20 months on the job. How do you feel your timeline in Kingston has gone?

Hurley: We had to lay a foundation and build a roster from scratch so I’m happy with what we’ve accomplished recruiting wise. And now I feel we’ve done a good job reaching that next step which is winning the games you’re supposed to win. We now we have to take that next step and get a little more consistent on both ends of the court.

CBT: Let’s talk about the matchup with Providence Thursday night.

Hurley: It’s my first time experiencing this game at home so I’m looking forward to the crowd and the whole scene for our kids. I want our guys to revel in it. I want them to feed off the energy and not be intimidated by it. I feel our guys are ready to come out and play hard defensively – I just want us to get off to a good start on the offensive end.

Vin Parise is the College Basketball Insider for NBC Sports Network and SportsNet New York. He is also a contributor & analyst for ESPN3, MSG Network, Cox Sports New England, Fox Sports 1, The Providence Coaches Show, St. John’s Radio & Iona College Radio. He coached 8 seasons at FDU, Rutgers & Iona. Follow Vin on Twitter: @VinParise

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

Ernie Kent
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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.