In four seasons as a member of the Alabama basketball program 6-foot-6 forward Dakota Slaughter didn’t see a lot of playing time, as he averaged 6.2 minutes per game in 2014-15 and 4.5 throughout his three seasons on the court after redshirting in 2011-12. With a season of eligibility remaining Slaughter decided to transfer in hopes of getting more playing time as a redshirt senior, and Friday it was announced that he’ll attend UTPA.
Slaughter will be eligible to play immediately for the WAC program, which returns its top three rebounders from last season’s team. He’s the fifth addition to the program for head coach Dan Hipsher, who’s looking to rebound from a 10-21 record of a season ago.
“Dakota is a great kid and a real leader. He was awarded a Presidential Scholars Grant to attend the University of Alabama. He then went on to earn an Athletics Grant in Aid for his last two years,” Hipsher said in the release. “He is an excellent athlete that can defend, rebound and shoot the ball with great range. He plays with great passion and intelligence and really shores up our forward spot.”
Slaughter joins a front court rotation led by senior Shaquille Hines, junior Janari Joesaar and sophomore Dan Kimasa, with Kimasa being one of the best freshmen in the WAC a season ago.
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.
UTPA head coach Dan Hipsher wasn’t around to watch his Broncs fall 67-53 to Utah Valley on Thursday night, as he was ejected from the game in the first half. And as a result of his actions, the WAC has suspended him for UTPA’s game against Bakersfield for violating the league’s sportsmanship policy.
“Conference sportsmanship policies are clearly defined,” WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd said in the release announcing the suspension. “The action taken is intended to send a very clear message that there are definite lines that cannot be crossed, and that violations of the policies are not acceptable under any circumstance.”
So what did Hipsher do to receive the two technical fouls needed for an early exit? Josh Bowe of the Edinburg (Texas) Monitor provided a breakdown of the events that led to Hipsher’s ouster:
Perhaps no greater sign of that frustration occurred then in the first half, when Hipsher was ejected. After being upset with the officials up until that point, Hipsher had enough when he thought a Utah Valley played traveled after sliding across the floor with the ball.
The referees didn’t give the Broncs the call and Hipsher went ballistic, running up to the official and yelling in his face. Hipsher was given a quick first technical and then ejected after Hipsher continued and bumped into the referee.
Hipsher continued laying into the official, having to be held back by players and his son, associate head coach Andy Hipsher. When Dan Hipsher left the floor, Utah Valley led 16-11.
UTPA’s currently 2-5 in WAC play, and they’ve lost two straight games heading into Saturday’s matchup with the visiting Roadrunners. Associate head coach Andy Hipsher, the head coach’s son, took control of the team after the elder Hipsher’s ejection on Thursday night.