The 2013-14 season was a tough one for first-year Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan, with his tenure beginning amidst controversy and the program going through its lone season as a member of the American Athletic Conference. The Scarlet Knights lost 21 games, the last of which being a 92-31 defeat at the hands of Louisville in the conference tournament.
Jordan felt the need to make changes to his coaching staff, with David Cox being fired and Kyle Triggs’ contract not being renewed. Wednesday it was reported by multiple outlets that the replacements have been found, with former Fairleigh Dickinson head coach Greg “Shoes” Vetrone and Mike O’Koren joining the Rutgers coaching staff.
They’ll join Van Macon, the lone holdover from last year’s staff and one of two assistants to survive the end of the Mike Rice era (Cox was the other).
The news has yet to be made official by the school, but it is expected that Vetrone and O’Koren will have their new roles in time to hit the road for the July open recruiting periods. There are three five-day periods during the month in which coaches can hit the road and watch targets play, the first of which runs from July 9-13.
On the hiring of Vetrone and O’Koren, Jerry Carino of Gannett New Jersey wrote the following about the issues with last year’s coaching staff and where O’Koren can help the Scarlet Knights:
In reshaping his staff, Jordan made chemistry a priority after some of his people did not see eye-to-eye during Rutgers’ 12-21 campaign. O’Koren, a good friend who is universally well-liked in hardwood circles, should help in that regard. He also figures to provide tactical and player development support, especially for Rutgers’ bigs.
These hires will be important ones for Rutgers as they look to take steps in the right direction in 2014-15. That will be tough however, with the program playing its first season in the Big Ten. While the American was certainly formidable at the top, the conference didn’t have the depth that the Big Ten possesses.
James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.
Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.
“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”
He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.
Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.
Memphis just cannot catch a break.
It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.
Today, CBSSports.com reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.
Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.
This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.
That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.