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).
Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.
According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.
The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.
Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.
The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?