After spending four seasons as head coach at Houston, James Dickey announced in late March that he was stepping down to attend to private family matters. And just over a month later Dickey has returned to the coaching ranks, returning to Stillwater to join Travis Ford’s coaching staff at Oklahoma State. The news was announced by the school Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m excited and honored and want to thank Coach Ford for the opportunity to join his staff. I have followed his playing and coaching career and have great respect for who he is and what he’s accomplished,” Dickey said in the school release. “I’m thrilled about returning to Oklahoma State and living in Stillwater. My family is here and this is a great place to live and work.
“Cowboy basketball is special and has a knowledgeable, passionate fan base and a very loyal, enthusiastic student body. It will be exciting to be back in historic Gallagher-Iba Arena. Coach Ford has a tremendous staff which I look forward to being a part of as we build on the great tradition of OSU basketball.”
Dickey moves into the position formerly held by Steve Middleton, who was not retained at the end of the 2013-14 season, and he joins Butch Pierre and Chris Ferguson on Ford’s coaching staff.
This will be Dickey’s second stint in Stillwater, as he was a member of Eddie Sutton’s coaching staff from 2002-08. The most successful season during that run was the 2003-04 campaign, with the Cowboys winning the East Region and reaching the 2004 Final Four in San Antonio.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.
LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.
While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.
Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?
Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.
Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.