Mike D’Antoni could be on the move pretty soon, leaving a struggling Los Angeles Lakers squad that has suffered immensely under his lead and become the laughing stock of the NBA, along with the Philadelphia 76ers, of course.
Even Kobe Bryant seems embarrassed to be associated with the squad, going so far as to say: “I don’t talk to players on teams that are 20 games under .500.” The purple and gold are currently 24-47 and fifth in the Pacific Division.
According to a source, there is mutual interest between Mike D’Antoni and his alma mater, Marshall University, over the vacant head coaching position for the Thundering Herd. The University has reached out to the former New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns head coach to potentially bring the 62-year-old back to his native West Virginia.
“I would think his days are numbered based on Kobe saying he had no interest in playing for him next year,” a source told CBSSports.com. “If he isn’t with the Lakers, I believe he will be at Marshall because there is mutual interest.”
D’Antoni, who signed a three-year $12 million contract with the Lakers on November 12, 2012, might be lured away from Los Angeles as numerous donors to the Marshall squad are more than willing to cough up money in attempt to bring D’Antoni to the school to turn the program around.
The Marshall Thundering Herd went 11-22 overall and 4-12 in conference play over the 2013-14 season, losing in the first round of Conference USA tournament play to Old Dominion on March 12th.
D’Antoni played for Marshall from 1970-1973 and has not completely thrown out the idea of returning to the green and white.
“I hear from them all the time,” D’Antoni said of his alma mater. “I’m the head of their capital [fundraising] campaign. I’m close friends to them. Whatever they need, I try to do. But … who knows.”
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.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“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.