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Report: Cuonzo Martin to become the new head coach at California


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Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin has agreed to become the next head coach at California.

Martin was the head coach at Tennessee the past three seasons, leading them from the First Four to the Sweet 16 this past season. But there was a push in Knoxville to let Martin go, particularly among the fanbase, who circulated a petition to fire Martin and hire Bruce Pearl that received 36,000 signatures.

With Martin losing Jordan McRae and Jeronne Maymon to graduation and Jarnell Stokes to the NBA, he was looking at a rebuilding year, and a rebuilding year could have gotten him fired at this time next year. This was the right decision, and it wasn’t his first attempt at getting out. Martin was a finalist for the head coaching job at Marquette last month as well where he was beaten out by Steve Wojciechowski.

The head coaching position at Cal came open last month when Mike Montgomery retired.

Martin is walking into a good spot with the Golden Bears. They lose Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon, but they return Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews and Rick Kreklow, which makes for a talented perimeter core, as well as big man David Kravish. Martin can build around that.

The question now becomes who gets the Tennessee job, and one name that you should keep an eye on is Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall. Tennessee is a good gig, one with resources and a passionate fan base that competes in a conference where it’s not all that difficult to become the third-best program. Louisiana Tech’s Mike White and Donnie Tyndall of Southern Miss are two other names that could draw some interest.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

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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 commits to George Washington

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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.