Isaiah Austin

Isaiah Austin has a job with the NBA once he finishes degree at Baylor


Days before the NBA Draft, former Baylor center Isaiah Austin revealed his playing career was over after being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome. This led to the most touching moment of draft night, when NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the league had selected Austin.

That wasn’t just for show either. Austin told that he has a job waiting for him with the NBA, once he graduates from Baylor University.

Austin — who was ceremonially drafted by the NBA at the Draft back in June — tells us Silver already hooked him up with a part-time gig with the league’s NBA Cares program … and promised full-time work once he gets his degree.

The 7-foot-1 center was a projected second round pick, but heads back to Waco to finish up classes in August. In two seasons with Baylor, he averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. In February, Austin shared his inspirational story, playing blind in his right eye since he was a child. Despite the heartbreaking news, Austin has continued to inspire others by selling T-shirts on his website in an effort to raise money for Marfan syndrome research.

He has also helped spread awareness of the inherited disorder that 1 in 5,000 people have. According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, visitors to and donations to the foundation have spiked since June. The Marfan Foundation’s annual conference set had a record turnout, which included Austin.

[h/t ProBasketballTalk]

Report: Lakers might talk to Larry Brown about coaching vacancy

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Larry Brown hasn’t coached in the NBA since 2010, but that hasn’t stopped his name from being thrown around as a potential candidate for vacancies.

The Los Angeles Lakers have talked about the possibility of contacting the Hall of Fame coach, according to a report filed earlier this week by Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of

The Lakers, sources add, have also internally discussed reaching out to Scott Skiles and former NBA championship-winning coach Larry Brown, who has spent the past two seasons in the college game at SMU.

At this point, his name is merely being tossed around along with others. The Lakers are in a wide-ranging coaching search, having interviewed or discussed the position with six former NBA coaches so far. In 2004, Brown, who is now 73, became the first coach to win an NBA and NCAA title when his Detroit Pistons knocked off the Lakers in the Finals.

Brown, the basketball coaching nomad, made his return to the college ranks in 2012 when he revived the SMU program. In only his second season, Brown almost got the Mustangs back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993. However, a weak strength of schedule left them on the cutting room floor on Selection Sunday.

The Ponies have the bulk of their roster returning, including leading scorer Nic Moore and top rebounder Markus Kennedy, in addition to the arrival of Emmanuel Mudiay, the No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2014, according to Rivals. SMU is arguably a top-10 team heading into the 2014-2015 season.

Mike D’Antoni resigned as the Lakers’ coach in late April. He was linked to the opening at his alma mater, Marshall. His brother, Dan D’Antoni, was hired by the Thundering Herd on April 24.

[h/t ProBasketballTalk]

Billy Donovan not guaranteeing a return to Florida

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Florida head coach Billy Donovan, along with UConn’s Kevin Ollie and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, is on a short list of college coaches who are being targeted for NBA coaching vacancies this offseason.

Last Thursday, it was reported that Donovan, who for agreed to coach the Orlando Magic in 2007 before reversing his decision and returning to UF, had been contacted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team with the top pick in next month’s NBA Draft. With SEC Spring Meetings taking place this week, Donovan explained to reporters on Tuesday why he hasn’t ruled out a possible jump to the NBA, offering no guarantee about his future in Gainesville.

From the Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel:

“I think when you start making guarantees about life and start making guarantees about where you’re going to be, that’s not good,” he said. “If for some reason I ever change my mind and did something, I wouldn’t want (people) saying, ‘Well, he promised, he guaranteed, he said this on record.’ I just think when you start doing that, that’s a mistake.

“I’ve seen a lot of coaches over the years come out and say, ‘No, no, no, no, I’m not going anywere, I’m not going anywhere,’ and then all of a sudden they go somewhere and it’s like, ‘Well, this guy is a complete liar.’ I don’t want to get into that situation. There’s been some teams that have called, but that’s really it.”

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated appeared on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning (video above), mainly to discuss his column on Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera. But in the final minute of the interview, Patrick asked Mannix to provide a coaching update for teams around the NBA. Cleveland is looking for a college coach, said Mannix, and based on what Cleveland can offer Donovan, Mannix believes the longtime Gators coach could still head to the NBA.

Donovan has won 451 games in his 18 seasons at Florida. In March, he signed an extension through 2019. The Gators are projected to finish at the top of the SEC once again, along with likely preseason No. 1 Kentucky.

Kevin Ollie agrees to new deal with UConn, turns down NBA

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UConn second-year head coach Kevin Ollie had been viewed as a potential candidate for several NBA coaching vacancies. However, the university and its coach have worked out a new deal, assuring Ollie remains in Storrs.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Ollie has agreed to an extension with the school, which will bump his annual salary to $3 million. While the length of the deal has yet to be reported the new contract more than doubles the salary from this past season past season.

The Los Angeles Lakers were planning on reaching out to Ollie, according to reports, though never contacted him, according to Wojnarowski’s league sources. The Cleveland Cavaliers was pursuing Ollie the hardest.

Ollie made his way to the UConn sidelines after his pro career as an NBA journeyman. Following two seasons as an assistant for the Huskies, he was tasked with replacing Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun. In his first season, UConn was barred from postseason play due to its low APR score. The Huskies made up for their tournament absence the previous year with a memorable run in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, capturing the program’s fourth National Title with a 60-54 win over Kentucky.

Despite graduating Shabazz Napier, UConn has returning and incoming talent on the perimeter. The Huskies are predicted as a top 20 team for the 2014-2015 season, according to College Basketball Talk’s Way-Too-Early Top 25.

Tom Izzo on Michigan State: ‘This is a pretty good place for me right now’

Tom Izzo

Michigan State doesn’t play again until Friday night against Virginia in the Sweet 16 in New York City. However, its head coach was in the news on Tuesday afternoon.

A report surfaced that the Detroit Pistons were eyeing Tom Izzo as its new head coach after firing Maurice Cheeks during what is now a 26-44 season. Izzo was tempted by the NBA in 2010 when the Cleveland Cavaliers made a push to uproot Izzo from East Lansing. Izzo, in his 19th season as the head coach at Michigan State, went on SportsCenter on Tuesday to remind NBA executives that he is still happy as a college coach.

“I’ve always said I’d never say never to anything because you never know what it brings,” Izzo said. “But I got so much more work to do here. I have a great president, a great AD and a football coach that I really get along [with]. So this is a pretty good place for me right now. We’re in a pretty good spot. Program’s in pretty good shape.

“Ain’t broke, so why fix it?”

The Pistons are looking for their fifth head coach since 2008. Since Izzo took over the Michigan State program in 1995, Detroit has been through 10 different head coaches.

Izzo and his Spartans, the No. 4 seed in the East Region, take on top-seeded Virginia on Friday night inside Madison Square Garden. Tip is scheduled for 9:57 p.m.

Florida coach Billy Donovan does not want the age limit raised

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Adam Silver took over as the NBA commissioner in February. Quickly after succeeding David Stern, Silver has made it clear, he is going to push to raise the age limit for the NBA from 19 to 20.

Many would like to see the one-and-done era axed, believing players would be better developed for the NBA with another season of college basketball. It would also make the college game a better product with more experienced players, which would also help with casual fans, who will have more familiarity with teams since star players would have to stick around for more than just a single season.

Though, not everyone is a fan of Silver’s attempts to change the age limit. One of those critics is Billy Donovan, head coach of the top-ranked Florida Gators. While some see benefits, he sees risks in an article published on Saturday in the Orlando Sentinel.

“College basketball coaches and programs are taking on all the risks,” Donovan told the Sentinel. “The kid doesn’t want to be in college and wants to be in the NBA, but because of the rules, he has to stay in college. Now you’re opening yourself up for potential NCAA violations. … You’ve got players like Jabari Parker or Julius Randle, and there is so much coming at these kids. If a kid takes something he’s not supposed to take or he is enticed into something, it’s the colleges that are put in harm’s way.”

It is interesting to see a prominent head coach come out and voice his opinion against the proposed change. And Donovan makes valid points. Despite publicly sharing his concerns, the decision is ultimately in the hands of Silver and the NBA collective bargaining agreement.