With assistant Elwood McElwain making the decision to leave the staff in order to join Michael Grant’s staff at Coppin State, UTPA head coach Dan Hipsher had a spot to fill on his coaching staff. In order to do so Hipsher hired someone familiar with him from their shared time at Alabama, where Hipsher served as Anthony Grant’s associate head coach for four seasons from 2009-13.
Thursday it was announced by UTPA that Willie Watson has joined the staff as an assistant coach. Watson, who spent six seasons (2005-11) at Alabama as a manager and graduate assistant. Watson and Hipsher were members of the Alabama staff from 2009-11, with Watson being a graduate assistant and Hipsher being the associate head coach during that time.
“He’s come up through the ranks, working all the different jobs you need to understand to be a good assistant. He’s worked at the junior college level and the high major level,” Hipsher said in the release. “In all my experience with him, he was always on time, on top of his work and doing his job. This past year he worked in academic assistance at the University of Alabama and those people had nothing but praise for him.
“When people praise you for the effort you put forth in an environment that doesn’t lead to your career goal, that’s pretty impressive. Additionally, he has great contacts in the southeast and I think he’s an up and coming coach who will make a great contribution to our program.”
UTPA finished the 2013-14 season with a 9-23 record, going 5-11 in WAC play. The Broncs will have to account for the loss of leading scorer Javorn Farrell (16.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.3 apg), but guard Shaquille Boga (14.0, 3.5, 3.3) and forward Shaquille Hines (12.8, 6.2) are both due back next season.
The Atlantic 10 invades NBCSN and the NBC Sports app on Saturday with two games that will air as part of a doubleheader.
It starts with Fordham at UMass at 12:30 p.m. and concludes with Rhode Island heading to Duquesne at 2:30 p.m.
CLICK HERE to watch the Atlantic 10 on NBCSN
During North Carolina’s blowout win over N.C. State on Jan. 8, the Tar Heels weren’t the only ones in the building who were feeling it.
As it turns out, North Carolina ball boy Asher Lucas was the hottest shooter of anyone in the building that night.
During halftime of that Jan. 8 game, Lucas nailed three consecutive halfcourt shots, as his father, Adam Lucas, a North Carolina columnist, released the video this week to YouTube. The video quickly went viral as Asher’s unreal streak of shots was all over TV and the Internet.
The Tar Heels have been struggling to find consistent perimeter shooting for the last few seasons, so maybe they need to start scouting Asher for a future roster spot.
Milwaukee picked up a Horizon League win on Friday night as guard Brock Stull knocked in a buzzer-beater to topple Cleveland State.
Stull only had four points on the night as he played 30 minutes and finished with five assists and six rebounds.
Oregon released a statement on Friday afternoon that said star forward Dillon Brooks had seen doctors and was in a walking boot, but gave no further update on his condition.
Brooks suffered what the program termed a “lower leg injury” on Thursday night against Cal. The injury was to his left leg – on replay, it looked like he rolled his ankle – which is concerning because his left foot is the foot that he injured over the summer, which caused him to miss the first three games of the season.
“He’ll be evaluated in the next couple of days and see where he’s at,” head coach Dana Altman said after Thursday’s game.
Allonzo Trier’s most recent drug test came back negative, meaning that the leading returning scorer for the Wildcats will be eligible to play on Saturday when Arizona plays a visit to UCLA.
Trier had been suspended for the first 19 games of the season following a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug. He appealed to the NCAA and actually won, claiming that he unknowingly ingested the substance after someone he trusted gave him a product to help him recover from a car accident during the offseason.
The NCAA’s stipulation, however, was that he could not play until the PED had cleared his system.
Trier averaged 14.8 points last season for Arizona. He’ll join a back court that already includes Kadeem Allen, Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons, as well as Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Along with Lauri Markkanen, who has the look of a lottery pick, Trier was expected to be Arizona’s best player this season. While he has not been allowed to play this year, Trier has been practicing and traveling with the team. It may take him a while to work his way back into game shape and into the flow of the team, but it won’t be because he’s rusty.
The Wildcats are currently 17-2 on the year and 6-0 in the Pac-12. They play No. 3 UCLA in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday. The Bruins are a game out of first place in the conference standings.