Milwaukee Athletics

Butler set to hire LaVall Jordan to be new head coach

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Butler is set to hire LaVall Jordan to be the team’s new head coach, sources confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 38-year-old Jordan just finished his first season as a Division I head coach at Milwaukee as he is a Butler alum and former assistant for the Bulldogs under head coach Todd Lickliter.

Jordan has a unique tie to this position at Butler since his athletic director, Barry Collier, is his also his former head coach. During his career as a player at Butler, Jordan made three NCAA tournament appearances, helping the Bulldogs to their first tournament win in 39 years in 2001 during his senior season.

A respected recruiter during his time in the Big Ten as an assistant at Iowa and Michigan, Jordan should understand what it takes to win at Butler from a talent standpoint since he helped the program succeed as a player and assistant coach. Replacing Chris Holtmann is going to be tough but this could be a strong hire for Butler given Jordan’s background and reputation as an up-and-coming coach.

The key question for Jordan will be how he handles the on-court coaching at such a high level as a young coach. In his only season at Milwaukee, Jordan only finished 11-24. But the Panthers also peaked at the end of the year and nearly made the NCAA tournament after making the Horizon League conference tournament title game as the No. 10 seed. For a team of mostly underclass players in a rebuilding year, it was a positive sign of things to come for Jordan at Milwaukee.

But Jordan now also has to go head-to-head with respected and experienced coaches like Jay Wright, Chris Mack and Ed Cooley. It might take some time for Jordan to figure out who he is as a coach, but if he can continue to bring in talent then Butler should be in a good position to continue to make NCAA tournament runs.

This hire is also intriguing for Butler because they didn’t promote an assistant coach like they’ve done so many times before. Holtmann, Brad Stevens, Todd Lickliter and Thad Matta were all Butler assistant coaches who were promoted from within, but Collier is opting for an “outside” hire by picking Jordan instead of current Butler assistant Ryan Pedon.

Obviously, Jordan has many ties to Butler as a former player and assistant coach, so it’s not as if he’s a total stranger to the program’s culture, but he hasn’t been with the Bulldogs in any capacity since 2007, so he has been gone from the program for the last decade.

Seton Hall lands Sacred Heart transfer Quincy McKnight

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Seton Hall has pulled in a transfer as talented Sacred Heart guard Quincy McKnight pledged to the Pirates on Friday.

The 6-foot-3 McKnight was a first-team All-NEC conference selection this past season after averaging 18.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game as a sophomore. McKnight will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer restrictions, but he’ll have two years of eligibility left remaining.

McKnight was clearly one of the most talented players in the NEC last season, so this up-transfer to the Big East definitely makes sense. This is also a really tough loss for Sacred Heart for the second consecutive season as they also lost former NEC Player of the Year Cane Broome to transfer last offseason when he ended up at Cincinnati.

 

Report: Seton Hall expecting big man Angel Delgado to stay in the NBA Draft

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Seton Hall big man Angel Delgado is expected to remain in the NBA Draft after previously entering the process without an agent, according to a report from Adam Zagoria of SNY.

The 6-foot-10 Delgado is coming off of a huge junior season in which he was the nation’s leading rebounder after averaging 15.2 points and 13.1 boards per game.

Just missing the NBCSports.com All-American teams, Delgado had a double-double in 25 of his final 27 games, with his only non double-double performances coming against Villanova both times.

While Delgado will be one of the draft’s best rebounders, he’ll have to prove himself in other areas like post scoring and post defense in order to get picked in June’s NBA Draft. Even if Delgado doesn’t get picked, he’s the type of hard-nosed big man who could easily find himself on an NBA roster because of his activity on the interior.

 

DePaul lands five-star point guard Tyger Campbell

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DePaul made some major moves for the future on Monday as the program landed a commitment from five-star point guard Tyger Campbell.

The 6-foot-0 Campbell is regarded as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2019, but a source told NBCSports.com that Campbell is attempting to move up to the Class of 2018 to get to campus a year earlier.

Earlier on Monday, DePaul also landed a commitment from Northern Illinois graduate transfer Marin Maric, a big man who should come in and potentially start next season. Both of these commitments are tied together by DePaul hiring assistant coach Shane Heirman, the former head coach at La Lumiere, last week.

Both Maric and Campbell spent time at La Lumiere, as the Blue Demons have formed a recruiting pipeline to the defending high school national champions.

Campbell is DePaul’s second commitment in the Class of 2018–if he opts to reclassify–as he joins shooting guard John Diener.

DePaul gets potential impact grad transfer in Northern Illinois center Marin Maric

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DePaul earned a commitment from graduate transfer center Marin Maric on Monday as the former Northern Illinois product pulled his name out of the NBA Draft process and committed to the Blue Demons.

The 6-foot-11 Maric put up a team-leading 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game for the Huskies last season as he shot 56 percent from the field. Maric also ended the season on a high note, as he had six consecutive double-doubles to close out the season.

This is a potentially important addition for DePaul since they desperately needed some quality size to go with its crowded backcourt rotation. Maric is the type of player who could start right away for DePaul and eat up minutes inside.

Entering a new stadium located in the city’s South Loop this season, the Blue Demons will have an intriguing roster that includes two transfer additions in Austin Grandstaff and Max Strus as well as freshmen like Jaylen Butz and Justin Roberts. This roster might not be good enough to make an NCAA tournament run next year, but it’s a solid core that could really help the program get out of the Big East cellar.

Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges returning to Villanova

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Villanova will gain two key pieces back for next season as point guard Jalen Brunson will return for his junior season.

The 6-foot-2 Brunson averaged 14.7 points and 4.1 assists per game as a sophomore last season as he was one of the better floor leaders in the country. Brunson should find himself on a lot of preseason lists next season as he has a chance to return and be an All-American

“Jalen is an outstanding student who loves being at Villanova and wants to complete his degree by the end of his junior year,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “This was a simple decision made by Jalen’s family. Jalen wants to graduate, be a leader on this year’s team, and compete for a championship.”

With both Brunson, forward Mikal Bridges and guard Donte DiVincenzo coming back next season, Villanova should be in great position to be a big national championship contender as they still have plenty of talent in the fold. The Wildcats should also get guard Phil Booth back from injury while big man Omari Spellman should also be cleared after sitting out last season.