Steve Forbes

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NCAA Tournament: Steve Forbes tells team “great Florida … ain’t coming out of that tunnel” (VIDEO)

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East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes had a message for his team before their game against Florida. He wanted them, as a 13-seed, not to conflate this Florida team, a four-seed, with the Gator program that won back-to-back titles a decade ago.

Forbes reminded his Buccaneers that Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer are now in the NBA, not in the Florida locker room.

“I know the difference between good and great,” Forbes said. “I’ve seen great Florida, and I’ve seen good Florida. Understand this. Noah, Horford and Brewer, they ain’t coming out of that tunnel. They ain’t coming out of that tunnel today.

“They’re coming out of that tunnel with guys just like you.”

Forbes has been mentioned as a potential candidate for higher-level jobs this spring, and he might warrant it just on the strength of this blend of trash and pep talk.

Introducing Cinderella: The East Tennessee State Buccaneers are headed to the NCAA tournament

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Conference: Southern

Coach: Steve Forbes

Record: 27-7 (14-4 T-1)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 66
RPI: 60
AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: Coming out of the Southern likely means the Buccaneers are likely headed for somewhere in the 12- or 13-seed range.

Names you need to know: There’s one here that stands above the rest: T.J. Cromer. The 6-foot-3 guard is the type of player that can engineer an upset by himself on the right March day. The senior is averaging 19.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He’s shooting 40.7 percent on 3-pointers (putting up over 230 attempts) and 51.2 percent on 2s while chucking a ton of shots. He’s also an 80.8 percent free-throw shooter. Other players to keep an eye on are Desonta Bradford, Tevin Glass, A.J. Merriweather and Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Indiana transfer), who all average at least 8 points per game.

Stats you need to know: The Bucs can shoot the heck out of the ball, ranking 13th nationally with an effective field goal percentage of 56.1, but their problem is the possessions where they don’t shoot as one of the country’s most prone to turnovers offenses. Cromer is one of the highest-volume shooters in the nation, hoisting up nearly a third of his team’s shots while he’s on the floor. On the defensive end, East Tennessee State is an extremely opportunistic defense as they swarm for steals and blocks.

Big wins, bad losses: The Bucs’ best win came in December when they knocked off Mississippi State, 67-65, in Starkville. They got swept in the regular season by Southern co-champ UNC Greensboro while also losing to Wofford on the road.

How’d they get here?: East Tennessee State avenged those two losses to the Spartans by building a 12-point second-half lead and then surviving a Greensboro comeback attempt that featured a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 5 seconds left in a game in which the Bucs shot 52.8 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3. That title game victory came after East Tennessee State dispatched Mercer and Samford without much issue in the earlier rounds.

Outlook: East Tennessee State is likely to get a tough draw, so it’s hard to see them advancing unless Cromer goes nuts. That’s certainly a possibility. Cromer has six games of 25-or-more points, and he exploded for 41 in the Southern semifinals in which he drilled nine 3s. If he gets hot, high seeds should look out.

How do I know you?: East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes is probably the most recognizable person in the program, and he’s probably best known for being on Bruce Pearl’s staff that was fired at Tennessee amid the infamous Aaron Craft cookout photo “scandal.” Forbes got hit with a one-year show-cause penalty, went to junior college purgatory where he had major success – appearing in two national title games – before resurfacing back in Division I at Wichita State under Gregg Marshall before getting his first head coaching shot in Johnson City, where’ he’s won 51 games in two years. It’s quite the comeback story, and one that could send Forbes even higher up the coaching ladder.

Former Cincinnati guard Ge’Lawn Guyn headed to East Tennessee State

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This has been a busy month for new East Tennessee State head coach Steve Forbes, with three players transferring out and two committing to the Southern Conference program. Saturday night the Bucs landed another piece for its backcourt in the form of guard Ge’Lawn Guyn, who spent his first four seasons at Cincinnati.

News of Guyn’s commitment was first reported by Scout.com, and he’ll be eligible to play immediately for ETSU.

Due to a finger injury Guyn played in just two games for the Bearcats last season, and it was announced in early March that he’d been granted a release from his scholarship. Guyn played 19 minutes per game as a junior in 2013-14, and he averaged 21.5 minutes per game in the two contests he played in during the 2014-15 campaign.

For his entire career, Guyn averaged 3.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in just over 13 minutes of action per game. While the numbers certainly don’t jump off the page, Guyn gives ETSU another perimeter option to call upon with seniors Petey McClain and Lester Wilson, and sophomores Desonta Bradford and A.J. Merriweather being their most experienced returnees.

ETSU also adds junior college transfer T.J. Cromer and freshman Shemar Johnson to its backcourt. Guyn’s the second transfer from a Division I program to join ETSU this spring, with dismissed Indiana forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea being the first.

Wichita State assistant Steve Forbes to take over at East Tennessee State

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Wichita State assistant coach Steve Forbes will be the next head coach at East Tennessee State, sources confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The news was first reported by CBSSports.com.

Forbes has spent the past two seasons with the Shockers, helping to lead them to a 35-0 start last year and the Sweet 16 this season. He was with Tennessee for five years before getting caught up in the penalties that came down on Bruce Pearl in 2011. He spent 2011-2013 as the head coach at Northwest Florida State, a JuCo powerhouse.

Forbes replace Murry Bartow, who spent 12 years as the head coach of the Buccaneers. Bartow made back-to-back NCAA tournaments in 2009 and 2010, but he hasn’t finished better than fourth in league play since 2011.

This move is interesting timing. An official announcement is expected to come on the same day as Tennessee, Forbes’ former employer, made the firing of head coach Donnie Tyndall official. It also comes at a time when Gregg Marshall’s status at Wichita State is up in the air. Marshall has been a hot coaching name for three years now, and with major offers rolling in, this may be the year that he ends up leaving Kansas.

The Chase for 180: Karvel Anderson leads shorthanded Robert Morris to NEC crown

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Who is the best shooter in the country?

It’s a tough question to answer, isn’t it? Does being a “shooter” simply mean merely being a high-level marksman from beyond the arc? Can a player who thrives in the mid-range but rarely ventures out into three-point land be eligible? How heavily should we be valuing stats like efficiency and effective field goal percentage when taking all of this into account?

One number that we like to use is “180″. How do you become a 180 shooter? By shooting 50% or better from the field overall, 40% or better from three and at least 90% from the charity stripe. From this point forward we’ll track this until the end of the regular season, providing weekly updates as well as a look into how some of the nation’s best find (and connect on) their quality looks.

January proved to be a tough month for the Robert Morris Colonials from a personnel standpoint. Four players, most notably freshman Jeremiah Worthem, were suspended and forward Mike McFadden made the decision to leave the program. Add this to the late-December departure of junior guard Desjuan Newton, and Andy Toole’s team was effectively reduced to eight players for the remainder of the season.

For some teams this would be an excuse to crumble, to point to the lack of bodies as a suitable reason for their demise. But that wasn’t the case for Robert Morris, which made the adjustments needed to finish Northeast Conference with a 14-2 record and win the regular season title. Defensively the Colonials played an active 2-3 zone, getting after opponents while also looking to compensate for their lack of interior depth. As for the offense, guard Karvel Anderson and guard/forward Lucky Jones were asked to do more with the former separating himself as the NEC’s best player.

According to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers Anderson, voted NEC Player of the Year by the league’s coaches, finished the regular season with a shot percentage of 31.9%. And even with the responsibility to score (19.6 ppg) Anderson managed to shoot well from the field (51.4%) and from three (46.4%) while also making 81.4% of his shots from the foul line. And as he did last season, making just over 50% of his two-point jumpers per hoop-math.com, Anderson’s performed well in the mid-range game by making 52.3% of those shots.

A difference for Anderson as a senior when compared to his numbers from a season ago: he’s getting to the rim at a higher clip. After attempting just 9.7% of his shots at the rim last season Anderson’s taken 16.6% of his shots around the basket, converting 66.2% of those looks. Last season, Anderson shot 58.6% at the rim. Anderson has clearly been the first name mentioned in opposing scouting reports, but that has done little to keep the guard from producing and helping lead the Colonials to the NEC regular season title.

The question now is whether or not he can do so three more times, thus leading Robert Morris to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2010.

THE TOP TEN (Note: Players much be eligible to be ranked in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. And here’s a glossary that includes the stats you’ll see used in these posts. Tempo neutral numbers per kenpom.com.)

1) Jason Calliste (Oregon)
51.6% FG, 50.5% 3PT, 85.2% FT = 187.3
Shot %: 17.2
eFG %: 66.1
True shooting %: 71.6

2) Austin Tillotson (Colgate)
60.2, 50.7, 74.0 = 184.9
Shot %: 18.5
eFG %: 68.1
True shooting %: 69.8

3) Brett Olson (Denver)
47.9, 43.8, 91.8 = 183.5
Shot %: 21.8
eFG %: 58.2
True shooting %: 64.0

4) Doug McDermott (Creighton)
51.4, 43.6, 87.7 = 182.7
Shot %: 37.6
eFG %: 58.8
True shooting %: 63.7

5) Brenton Williams (South Carolina)
43.0, 42.6, 95.4 = 181.0
Shot %: 25.3
eFG %: 56.3
True shooting %: 62.7

6) Johnny Dee (San Diego)
43.7, 43.0, 93.9 = 180.6
Shot %: 29.5
eFG %: 54.3
True shooting %: 60.2

7) Anthony Brown (Stanford)
50.4, 48.5, 81.1 = 180.0
Shot %: 18.8
eFG %: 60.0
True shooting %: 64.4

8) Karvel Anderson (Robert Morris)
51.4, 46.4, 81.4 = 179.2
Shot %: 31.9
eFG %: 63.6
True shooting %: 65.6

9) Phil Forte III (Oklahoma State)
44.9, 45.4, 88.9 = 179.2
Shot %: 22.2
eFG %: 62.2
True shooting %: 66.7

10) Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington)
45.5, 45.3, 88.3 = 179.1
Shot %: 28.0
eFG %: 57.2
True shooting %: 62.7

Inside the Arc (zero three-point attempts)

1) C Kevin Ferguson (Army)
64.2% FG, 1.53 points/shot

2) C Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State)
64.1% FG, 1.62 points/shot

3) F Marshall Bjorklund (North Dakota State)
63.9% FG, 1.55 points/shot

4) F Steve Forbes (IPFW)
63.8% FG, 1.70 points/shot

5) F Jarvis Williams (Murray State)
63.3% FG, 1.77 points/shot

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8
January 15
January 22
January 29
February 5
February 12
February 19
February 26

The Chase for 180: Taking Tyler Haws for granted

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Who is the best shooter in the country?

It’s a tough question to answer, isn’t it? Does being a “shooter” simply mean merely being a high-level marksman from beyond the arc? Can a player who thrives in the mid-range but rarely ventures out into three-point land be eligible? How heavily should we be valuing stats like efficiency and effective field goal percentage when taking all of this into account?

One number that we like to use is “180″. How do you become a 180 shooter? By shooting 50% or better from the field overall, 40% or better from three and at least 90% from the charity stripe. From this point forward we’ll track this until the end of the regular season, providing weekly updates as well as a look into how some of the nation’s best find (and connect on) their quality looks.

After returning from his two-year LDS mission a few months before the start of the 2012-13 season, BYU junior guard Tyler Haws had some adjustments to make. From a personnel standpoint gone were Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery, with Fredette taking the nation by storm with his prolific scoring ability during the 2009-10 season and Emery also being a valuable cog in that particular team’s attack. That change not only meant that Haws (11.3 ppg in 2009-10) would have more opportunities to score, but also that BYU would need him to hit the ground running.

Add in the school’s move from the Mountain West to the West Coast Conference, and Haws would also need to do this while adjusting to new opponents and styles of plays. It’s safe to say that Haws handled his return to college basketball very well, scoring 21.7 points per game while shooting 48.3% from the field and 38.1% from beyond the arc. It became commonplace to see Haws scoring 25 points or more, and the same can be said for Haws’ production in 2013-14.

Now averaging 24.6 points per game, Haws has become a much better three-point shooter (up to 46.5%) while maintaining his field goal (47.8%) and free throw (88.0; 87.7 last season) percentages. Through 22 games (Haws missed two games in November) Haws has scored 25 points or more in ten games, most notably racking up 48 points in a triple-overtime loss at Portland on January 23, and of those ten games he’s scored at least 30 in seven of them.

Given how good Haws has been for BYU it makes you wonder if his production has been taken for granted, and this is something head coach Dave Rose mentioned after his junior guard scored 33 in a win over Saint Mary’s on Saturday.

“That’s amazing that he’s been as good and consistent as he’s been,” Rose said. “I think even you guys (the media) are starting to overlook (that).

“He’s always been really good for us in closing out games,” Rose said of Haws, whose number was retired at Lone Peak High last Friday night. “He was good again (Saturday). You’ve got to give so much credit to Ty because of the work he puts in, the skill level that he has, and the consistency that he plays with. The rest of our team — you look at Matt (Carlino) and Kyle (Collinsworth), they deliver the ball to him in the right spot at the right time to do what he does.”

Haws, while certainly a proficient shooter from beyond the arc, tends to do the majority of his work inside of the three-point line. According to hoop-math.com just 19.5% of his shot attempts this season have been three-pointers, with two-point jumpers making up 60.2% of his shot attempts. Haws has made 39.5% of those shots, and when combined with the fact that he converts when at the rim (70.3% shooting on those looks) the end result is a player who’s both an elite shooter and an elite scorer.

Haws is the first line (if not paragraph) on every opponent’s scouting report and with good reason. The various ways in which he can score makes for a tough matchup night in and night out, and that will continue to be the case. The task for us observers is to not take that for granted.

THE TOP TEN (Note: Players much be eligible to be ranked in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. And here’s a glossary that includes the stats you’ll see used in these posts. Tempo neutral numbers per kenpom.com.)

1) Jason Calliste (Oregon) 
52.9% FG, 51.4% 3PT, 88.2% FT = 192.5
Shot %: 17.0
eFG %: 65.9
True shooting %: 72.5

2) Riley Grabau (Wyoming)
45.7, 48.0, 91.7 = 185.4
Shot %: 17.4
eFG %: 63.7
True shooting %: 69.7

3) Phil Forte III (Oklahoma State)
45.8, 47.3, 91.8 = 184.9
Shot %: 22.0
eFG %: 64.2
True shooting %: 69.0

4) Doug McDermott (Creighton) 
50.0, 43.9, 89.3 = 183.2
Shot %: 37.9
eFG %: 57.5
True shooting %: 62.5

5) Max DiLeo (Monmouth)
55.1, 53.1, 75.0 = 183.2
Shot %: 15.9
eFG %: 67.3
True shooting %: 69.5

6) Billy Baron (Canisius)
47.4, 44.6, 90.7 = 182.7
Shot %: 28.4
eFG %: 57.9
True shooting %: 64.3

7) Tyler Haws (BYU)
47.8, 46.5, 88.0 = 182.3
Shot %: 31.0
eFG %: 52.3
True shooting %: 60.1

8) Johnny Dee (San Diego)
44.6, 43.9, 92.9 = 181.4
Shot %: 30.5
eFG %: 55.4
True shooting %: 60.8

9) Brett Olson (Denver) 
48.1, 40.6, 92.5 = 181.2
Shot %: 22.0
eFG %: 56.9
True shooting %: 63.5

10) Jarvis Summers (Ole Miss)
50.8, 52.2, 77.8 = 180.8
Shot %: 25.1
eFG %: 58.1
True shooting %: 632.8

Inside the Arc (zero three-point attempts) 

1) C Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State)
66.7% FG, 1.76 points per shot

2) F Steve Forbes (IPFW)
66.5% FG, 1.77 points per shot

3) F Curtis Washington (Georgia State)
65.3% FG, 1.57 points per shot

4) Jameel Warney (Stony Brook)
64.8% FG, 1.55 points per shot

5) Marquise Simmons (St. Bonaventure)
63.7% FG, 1.56 points per shot

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8
January 15
January 22
January 29