Entering the first open period of July just one head coaching position remained open at the Division I level: Mississippi Valley State. With the Delta Devils having fired Chico Potts back in March, the news that was first reported back in May became official on Friday afternoon as Andre Payne was introduced as the new head coach.
Payne arrives in Itta Bena with both head coaching and administrative experience, as he spent the last eight seasons as the head coach and associate athletic director at Wiley College in Texas. Payne left the NAIA school with a record of 146-104, with Wiley finishing the 2013-14 season with a 25-7 record.
“My plan is simple: recruit student-athletes who want to be here. Recruit student-athletes who want to call this place home, that’s what I plan to do,” Payne said in the release. “We want guys who are committed to their education. We want guys who are committed to being superb athletes. And we want guys who are committed to having a great social life on campus, too.”
Since Sean Woods left Mississippi Valley State to take the head coaching job at Morehead State in 2012, the Delta Devils have struggled to build on their trip to the NCAA tournament in Woods’ final season at the helm. Under Potts, MVSU won a total of 14 games, finishing the 2013-14 season with a 9-23 overall record (5-13 SWAC).
Mississippi Valley State returns two of its top four scorers from last season in guards Jeffrey Simmons (10.6 ppg) and DeAngelo Priar (10.5), and they’re adding four newcomers to the program. Those newcomers will be asked to help account for the departures of leading scorer Anthony McDonald (11.9 ppg) and leading rebounder James Currington (10.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg).
While there have been some alterations made to North Carolina’s basketball uniforms over the years, there haven’t been too many drastic shifts. Of course there was the move to the Alexander Julian-designed argyle print during the 1990’s, and there were also those jerseys in 1999 that had the interlocking “NC” logo as opposed to “North Carolina” on the front.
Friday the program announced a major uniform change for its game against UCLA December 19 in Brooklyn. North Carolina will be wearing black jerseys for the first time in school history. Senior guard Marcus Paige showed off the new look to his teammates, and it’s safe to say that they’re happy with the new uniforms.
Traditionalists probably won’t like the uniforms, and that’s fine. Changes such as these tend to focus more on the younger crowd (especially recruits), which in some instances like the status that can come with having something that’s both new and exclusive.
Two-time defending Big East champion Villanova will be down a man in its front court, as the program announced Friday that freshman forward Tim Delaney will undergo hip surgery. According to the release a torn labrum in Delaney’s left hip is the reason for the surgery, and it has yet to be determined how long the freshman will be sidelined.
“I’m disappointed for Tim,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “Tim had a great summer and preseason. He’s a very coachable young man and was picking up everything we do. The good news is that the doctors tell us this is an injury that can be fixed and we know Tim will be fully committed to his rehab.”
Villanova’s front court rotation will be led by senior Daniel Ochefu, who averaged 9.2 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15. Junior Darryl Reynolds and sophomore Kris Jenkins will also see minutes in the front court, with redshirt freshman guard/forward Mikal Bridges factoring into the competition as well.
Villanova also has Fordham transfer Eric Paschall, but he isn’t eligible to compete in games this season.