The most surprising coaching change this offseason was also the least surprising.
When Cuonzo Martin made the decision to accept a job as Mike Montgomery’s replacement at Cal after a surprising run to the 2014 Sweet 16, it was completely expected in the sense that Martin and Tennessee were at a place where they needed to part ways but a total surprise given the fact that literally no one saw that particular move coming.
The issues that Martin had to deal with during his time with the Vols are no secret: despite the fact that he made Tennessee the best team in the SEC that wasn’t coached by a surefire hall of famer the fans wanted him gone for, really, no reason other than the fact that he wasn’t Bruce Pearl.
It got so bad that even his players supported his decision to up and leave in the middle of the night without telling anyone. They knew it was time for him to go and wholeheartedly supported him, which should give you a bit of an idea just how bad things had gotten there.
But here’s the craziest part: Martin holds no ill will towards his former school, as he described in this terrific column from Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com:
Was it hard? Yes, it was definitely hard; Martin won’t deny that. But he went out of his way to make sure I understood that there were “a lot of wonderful people in Knoxville,” and he insisted that he’s pulling for his successor, Donnie Tyndall, before explaining that he thinks the administration and fans will rally around their new coach because their new coach has two things going for him:
1. He’s not following Pearl.
2. He’s a lot more like Pearl than Martin could ever be.
“The fan base got used to Bruce, and then they brought in somebody opposite of Bruce, so it was hard,” Martin said. “But, I think, now Donnie can just be Donnie. The slate is clean.”
I can’t picture myself being so supportive after the way things ended for him.
Think that’s too strong?
Look at this dunk:
He also did this over the summer:
Williams is a 6-foot-7, 215 pound JuCo transfer that should provide UConn with some minutes in the frontcourt this season.
LSU has announced the addition of Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams, a 6-foot-11 junior that was the National Junior College Player of the Year as a sophomore.
Bigby-Williams, who is a native of London, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards last season as the Ducks reached the Final Four, but he played the majority of the season while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred while he was at Gillette College in Wyoming.
The local County Attorney declined to charge Bigby-Williams with a crime, and Gillette College police consider the case closed.
“The university conducted a responsible and comprehensive review before approving the transfer,” a release posted on LSU’s Athletics site read, “including close coordination with Title IX officials, multiple discussions with Gillette and Oregon officials and a thorough examination of available public records.”
LSU head coach Will Wade was quoted in that release as well: “This is an issue we all take seriously and we made absolutely sure we did our due diligence before considering moving forward. Kavell understands that and has made clear to me that he’s going to repay our confidence by representing LSU with his very best on and off the court.”
Rutgers has made a potentially significant addition to their 2017 recruiting class, as four-star big man Mamadou Doucoure appears to have reclassified.
According to the Asbury Park Press, Doucoure has already enrolled in classes at Rutgers, citing a search of the university’s online database. The 6-foot-9 Doucoure was initially a member of the Class of 2017 before reclassifying to 2018, although there have been rumors that he has been trying to enroll this year.
It’s not yet clear if Doucoure will be eligible to play this season — he has not even been added to Rutgers’ roster online — but if he’s eligible, he should be able to provide rotation minutes for the Scarlet Knights.
Even if he’s not cleared to play this season, his addition matters. He’ll be able to workout with and develop in a Big Ten locker room before getting cleared to play alongside a massive 2018 recruiting class that already includes four-stars Mac McClung and Montez Mathis along with three-star prospect Ron Harper Jr.
It’s looking less and less likely that we’ll see Mitchell Robinson on a college campus this season.
Robinson, if you’ve forgotten, committed to and signed with Western Kentucky, enrolling at the school and practicing with the team over the summer. But he left Bowling Green after two weeks and has received a release to transfer out of the program.
And that’s where the difficultly here lies.
He’s a transfer, which means that, as a top ten prospect and a likely one-and-done player, he will be redshirting the only year that he is on campus unless the NCAA would provide him with a waiver, which is unlikely. After Robinson left WKU, three schools have emerged as potential landing spots: LSU, Kansas and New Orleans. LSU ended their recruitment two weeks ago. Over the weekend, Kansas head coach essentially confirmed that Robinson will not be a Jayhawks.
“I would think that we probably won’t sign anybody,” Self told the Kansas City Star.
That leaves New Orleans, his hometown school, or overseas, which is a rumor that has followed Robinson since the spring. The other option? Sitting out and training for a year, which FanRag Sports reported on Sunday is a possibility.
However you slice it, Robinson’s one-and-done year has turned into a mess. He’s still likely to end up as a first round pick — seven-footers that can do the things he does defensively don’t grow on trees — but I can’t imagine that teams are going to be clamoring to use a lottery pick on a player that just spent a year sitting out.
Texas is in Australia for their team’s summer trip, and Jericho Sims gave Longhorn fans a glimpse of why they may not miss Jarrett Allen’s athleticism all that much this season.