Tulsa officially hires Frank Haith as its new head coach

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One day after it was reported by multiple outlets that Tulsa was closing in on hiring Frank Haith as its new head coach the school made it official, introducing Haith at a press conference Friday afternoon. Haith arrives at the school, which will join the American Athletic Conference on July 1, after spending three seasons as the head coach at Missouri.

Under Haith the Tigers made two NCAA tournament appearances, winning the Big 12 in 2011-12 and earning an at-large bid in its inaugural season as a member of the SEC (2012-13). Missouri missed out on the NCAA tournament this past season, finishing with a record of 23 wins and 12 losses.

“We are extremely pleased to have Frank Haith as our basketball coach and happy to welcome the Haith family to the Tulsa community,” Tulsa AD Dr. Derrick Gragg said. “Frank brings tremendous talent as a head coach and recruiter – qualities that will place us in an excellent position as TU basketball transitions into the competitive American Athletic Conference, a league that boasts the current national champion.”

One factor that contributed to Tulsa’s decision to hire Haith was its move to the American from Conference USA, with the new head coach having experienced two such moves during his head coaching career. Prior to coaching at Missouri, Haith spent seven seasons at Miami (2004-11), with the first year also being the Hurricanes’ first as a member of the ACC. Miami was making the transition from the Big East to the ACC.

Tulsa loses two seniors from this season’s NCAA tournament team in guards Tim Peete and Patrick Swilling Jr., but the good news for Haith is that the top three scorers all have eligibility remaining (provided they stay, of course). Guards James Woodard (15.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Shaquille Harrison (9.6, 3.9, 3.2 apg) and forward Rashad Smith (12.0, 4.9) will all be juniors in 2014-15.

Tulsa’s lone rising senior is forward Marquel Curtis, who played in just nine games in 2013-14. Haith replaces Danny Manning, who was hired by Wake Forest earlier this month.

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.