Reports: Ben Howland no longer interested in Oregon State job

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Oregon State will move on to a new candidate as they continue to search for a new head coach as multiple reports on Monday night indicated that former UCLA head coach Ben Howland has taken his name out of the running for the job. The news was first reported by ESPN‘s Andy Katz.

The Beavers fired former head coach Craig Robinson on May 5th after six seasons and Howland’s name was quickly among the rumored candidates that the struggling Pac-12 program would target for the job.

Howland made three consecutive Final Fours at UCLA from 2006 through 2008 but failed to meet expectations in his last few seasons for the Bruins as he was fired following the 2012-13 season and replaced by Steve Alford. Howland has a career record of 398-205 during a career that includes stops at UCLA, Pitt and Northern Arizona and is known for his ability to rebuild programs that are in a tough spot.

Oregon State hasn’t made a NCAA Tournament appearance since 1990 and only has five postseason appearances since its last trip to the Big Dance.

Now that Howland has moved on, Arizona assistant coach and Portland native Damon Stoudamire is believed to be the leading candidate for the job, according to Katz and other reports. The former 1996 NBA Rookie of the Year was the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1995 at Arizona and has extensive NBA ties after a 13-year NBA career that included stops in Toronto, Portland, Memphis and San Antonio.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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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 looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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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.