On Saturday, IUPUI’s season came to a close following a 38-point loss to IPFW in the Summit League quarterfinal. Sunday morning, the university announced that head coach Todd Howard had been removed from his position after three seasons.
Howard had compiled a 26-70 record in his three seasons on the Jaguars’ sideline.
“I’m so thankful and grateful to everyone at IUPUI,” Howard said in a statement. “It’s my favorite place in the world and I truly appreciate the support I’ve received. While I’m certainly disappointed and wish I was able to get more time, I’m extremely confident in knowing me and my staff gave our all.
“IUPUI is all I’ve known for 19-plus years and I know the hard work that has gone into building a league champion, an NCAA tournament team, an NBA draft pick and much more. In this era, we were just too young and too injured and that’s hard to overcome. I’ve helped guide hundreds of kids into becoming stellar men and my current team exemplifies this. Our GPA, our academic success and approach has never been higher.”
Howard played for Denny Crum at Louisville from 1989-1993. He was a member on the Cardinals’ coaching staff one year after his collegiate career came to an end. He then made the move to IUPUI in 1994, serving as an assistant coach for six seasons before being promoted to the associate head coach in 2001. In 2003, Howard was part of a coaching staff that helped lead IUPUI to its first NCAA tournament appearance.
When Ron Hunter left for Georgia State in 2011, Howard took over the program.
For the second straight season, the Jaguars finished last in the Summit League with identical 6-26 records. IUPUI managed to win just two conference games (2-28) in the final two seasons of Howard’s tenure.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.