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Meet The Mabreys: Three sisters making a splash in women’s hoops

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A college athlete, a WNBA player, and an assistant coach.

Dara, Marina and Michaela Mabrey all have a fierce passion for basketball and an unbreakable bond with each other. Despite being almost constant competitors—whether that be in their driveway growing up or as foes in the ACC—the sisters have found a way to remain close and act as one another’s role models and confidants.

Their two brothers, Roy and Ryan, also share a love for the game, and finish out the Mabrey family starting five.

The Mabrey sisters have made quite the impact on women’s college basketball. The youngest sister, Dara, is a sophomore at Virginia Tech, while Marina and Michaela both played for Notre Dame—even overlapping for one year. On Thursday night, Dara’s Hokies will face off with Michaela’s Fighting Irish.

“I’m just super proud of both of them and where they’re at in their careers,” Michaela said. “I’m really happy to watch them every day and see how much they’ve grown, as basketball players and as women.”

The bonds of sisterhood

“As much as we can, we’re always there for each other.”

Despite the current distance between them, they find a way to talk every single day, Michaela added.

It’s been difficult for the sisters since the WNBA season ended. Marina is currently playing basketball overseas in Latvia, and her sisters haven’t seen her since September. Michaela is at Notre Dame and Dara resides in Blacksburg, Virginia, but the two face a rigorous ACC schedule that keeps them apart for most of the season. 

“We’re all super super close,” Dara said. “Even when things happen and we’re upset, we’re always the first people we call. Especially when we really need it, it does suck being away from your sister.”

Even while Marina was still in college, it could be hard to see each other with the busy schedules that college athletes undertake. But, this never stopped the Mabrey sisters from being there for one another when it really counted. 

When Marina was in her freshman year, Michaela spent time with her sister, walking her through all the challenges and obstacles of being a student athlete. And when Dara was dealing with the typical plight of being a first-year college athlete, Michaela went down to Virginia to be with her. 

Marina, learning from her big sister, did the same for Dara. 

“Marina drove through the night one night, my first summer there when I was kind of homesick,” Dara added. “She drove through the night for 11 hours from Notre Dame to Virginia Tech.”

When Michaela graduated and went into the working force, she was still able to find time for both of her sisters. 

“Last year, when I was working at LSU, we had a bye week and I was able to see Dara and watch her play against North Carolina,” Michaela said. “And I followed Marina throughout her entire tournament last year. I was at every game.”

While it could be easy to let life get in the way, that’s not how the Mabrey sisters operate.

“Those are my best friends,” Michaela beamed, seeming to smile through the phone. 

Growing up

“Obviously when you’re growing up, you do the same things your older siblings do,” Dara explained.

That’s how it all started for the Mabrey sisters. Michaela, the oldest, watched her brother Roy play basketball, and Marina and Dara followed in her footsteps from there. 

“We were all eager to play when we were younger… watching it and being around it so much made us want to do it,” Dara said. 

Each only two and a half years apart, the New Jersey natives didn’t have to wait long to be able to play against one another in their childhood driveway — where some of their most intense and competitive battles took place.

“Someone would come in crying or someone would be in trouble for pushing too hard,” Dara laughed. “There were plenty of times where someone would think it was a foul, someone thought it wasn’t a foul… Then someone would end up walking away. You’d give them 5 minutes to calm down and then eventually ours start playing one on one again.”

“I would try to play against Roy and Michaela and cry if I lost,” Marina added. “My mom would make them play with only their left hands and try to make it somewhat fair…but I stomped and cried every time I lost.”

Michaela has one story that comes to mind out of all of the pickup games the siblings played growing up.

“Last Christmas, when everybody was home, we went to the gym on Christmas morning. And it was Marina, Dara and Ryan — my little brother who’s 16.

“Marina always wins, she’s won almost every single year we’ve played. She always wins. And Ryan beat her this last Christmas. Me and my dad were on the side just laughing… They’re yelling at each other and they’re fouling each other. And my little brother Ryan ended up winning and Marina had a giant fit and it was so fun to just watch.”

While each sister had to deal with the pressure of being compared to an older sibling, Marina and Dara had to fight to escape Michaela’s shadow. Marina was apprehensive about choosing Notre Dame, as she wanted to make sure it was the right place for her. Dara, on the other hand, felt she had to differentiate herself from both older sisters.

“I was never compared to people in my class that I was playing against,” Dara admitted. “I was always compared to Marina and Michaela, which kind of stunk.

“Definitely, there was that added pressure my entire life. But I think people knew I was for real when I chose Virginia Tech, and they were like, ‘Oh she’s doing her own thing.’ That’s when they actually started taking it seriously.”

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Playing the game they love

“I just knew. When I came back from Virginia Tech I was like, ‘Oh my gosh I want to go there,’” Dara gushed. 

Instead of following in her sister’s footsteps to Notre Dame, Dara chose to go to another ACC school. In her freshman year, the 5-foot-7 guard averaged 11.2 points per game and was shooting 46.2 percent from beyond the arc. This year, Dara is averaging 12.7 ppg and is shooting 38.4 percent from three.

“I’m undersized, obviously, so I have to make up for it by playing as hard as I can,” Dara explained. “You can erase any mistakes when you do that. I’ve always been a believer in that, but what some people don’t know is that there’s a lot more where that comes from.”

“I’m just super proud of her and how she’s progressed the last year,” Michaela said of her sister. “I’m super excited for her and her career taking off a little bit more this year, and how their team is playing. They’ve got a really great team and Dara is a huge part of it.”

Michaela is no stranger to great teams, either, as part of the winningest class in Notre Dame women’s basketball history from 2012-2016. Marina was at Notre Dame from 2015-2019, overlapping with her sister for one year and being a part of the 2018 national championship team. 

“Winning the ACC championship together and everything like that, it was so unique,” Michaela said. “That year still to this day is one of the best years of my life, and to be able to share that with Marina.”

The oldest Mabrey sister thought about going overseas to play professionally after she graduated, but changed her mind “kind of last minute.” She had been told by different people that she’d make a great coach, so she tried it. 

“I love it, I love being back at Notre Dame and helping these girls just have the best experience on and off the court,” Michaela gushed. 

Marina went on to be drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks as the 19th pick in the second round, and averaged four points and 1.2 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game in her rookie campaign. 

“For Marina, this has been her dream since I can’t remember how old… she is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever been around,” Michaela said, getting audibly choked up. “If she has a dream, she’s going to go get it. This has been something she’s talked about forever, being a WNBA player.”

The middle Mabrey sister is currently playing for TTT Riga in Latvia, where she is averaging 15.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 9 games. 

“I’m learning a lot about what it takes to be a pro here,” Marina explained. “I feel like I’m becoming a much better point guard because I’m working very hard every game to get my teammates involved and also understand when it’s time for me to contribute.”

Beyond her basketball skill, Marina is known for creating the “This Is My Kitchen” campaign.

“This is my kitchen campaign came about because people on Twitter would put down women’s basketball,” Marina explained. “They would make it hard for people to support us because of their disrespectful comments stereotyping where women belong, such as in the kitchen, cleaning or cooking. I got tired of reading it and of no one standing up for women’s basketball so I decided to.”

Her shirts gained the support of a wide variety of people, from NBA stars—such as Kyle Kuzma and Bradley Beal—to her teammates. Even the late legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi showed their support for the campaign.

“A lot of NBA players were in support of the movement and tweeted their support,” Marina said. “They reached out to me to have girls they know wear the shirt, so I’m happy that the world will spread that women’s sports deserve respect.”

Looking ahead

For the second year in a row, Dara will be up against one of her best friends. 

Marina was a senior at Notre Dame when Dara was a freshman, and the two faced off once, with the Fighting Irish handling the Hokies easily in an 80-51 win. Their parents sat in the stands wearing shirts that had the Irish on one side and Hokies on the other—Marina’s creation.

This year, Dara will face Notre Dame with Michaela on board as an assistant coach. 

”It’s definitely a unique situation,” Michaela admitted. “And, obviously, I’ve been watching Virginia Tech since Dara went there so I think I have a little advantage… But, I do my scouts the same every single time, whether we’re playing Dara or anyone else in the ACC. I think it’s just going to be an exciting moment for Dara and I.”

“Michaela’s a really good coach and it turns out, of course, that she’s scouting Virginia Tech. So she’s probably going to tell her players every single one of my weaknesses and how to defend it,” Dara laughed. 

Just as Dara didn’t follow her sisters to Notre Dame, she may not follow their career paths either.

“I’d like to do either [coach or play professionally], but if I can get a really good broadcasting job, I also might do that because I know that basketball definitely doesn’t last forever,” she said.

Marina is excited to get back to the Sparks in May and utilize what she’s learned overseas in her second year with the team. She’s excited to “earn more playing time, get better individually and become a better teammate.”

Michaela is focusing on how she can impact the women at Notre Dame both on and off the court, and is excited about the future of women’s collegiate and professional basketball.

“I think there’s a lot of attention that has stirred around women’s basketball the last few years,” Michaela said excitedly. “Even with the new rules that the WNBA put in and how much respect we get from NBA players, from men’s college basketball players. I think it’s just going to keep going up and up.”

“For women sports to reach the respect level of men sports, we’ll just have to keep pushing and give it time,” Marina added. “The WNBA is young compared to the NBA in years and we’re on track to be popular and start to strive towards much more popularity and attention.”

2020 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Saddiq Bey is the most underrated player in this class

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Villanova wing Saddiq Bey is the most underrated prospect in the 2020 NBA Draft class.

At 6-foot-8 and 216 pounds, Bey — a 20-year old sophomore — averaged 16.1 points and shot 45 percent from three for Villanova this past season, but the crux of his potential as a pro actually comes on the other end of the floor.

Bey is one of the most versatile defenders in this year’s draft class. He was the best defender on Villanova this season, a year where the Wildcats finished 36th nationally and second in the Big East in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Throughout the season, he was given the first crack at guarding every opponent’s best perimeter weapon, from Marquette’s Markus Howard to Seton Hall’s Myles Powell to Kansas’ Devon Dotson. He has the length, the agility and the ability to flip his hips, which allows him to keep the quicker guards from turning a corner and beating him to the rim. He’s also able to navigate screens and keeps shooters from getting open looks off of pindowns.

Over the course of the last five years, Villanova has grown into being a program that is known for their ability to develop NBA role players. Part of the reason their alumni have success in the NBA is that Jay Wright loves switching defensively and does not mind having his guys guard bad matchups. That was no different this past season. It’s why I project Bey as a plus-defender in the NBA. It’s not hard to find clips of him walling up against bigger defenders and holding his own in the post. And while he’s not a great rebounder statistically, it’s also not all that hard to find examples of him boxing out much bigger, much better rebounders in front of the rim.

He’s a three that can stay in front of point guards and hold his own against fours in the paint.

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Those are the kind of defenders that you want in the NBA draft, especially when they shoot the ball as well as Saddiq Bey does.

On the season, Bey hit 45 percent of his three while shooting more than five threes per game. He finished the season in the 98th percentile nationally in terms of spot-up shooting, according to Synergy, and he also showed the ability to catch-and-shoot on the move. Villanova’s offense doesn’t feature all that many situations where players run off of pin-downs, but there are a few examples of Bey running off of screens and hitting threes. Playing in Villanova’s system also allowed him to showcase his feel for being able to move with a driver to free himself for a clean look. He’s not year a great shooter off the dribble but that’s something that he can continue to develop with time and work.

The other thing that interests me about Bey is that he does have some ability as a playmaker. He was 5-foot-8 as a freshman and 6-foot-1 at the end of his sophomore season. He was a point guard growing up, and you can see it in his reads as a point guard. He can see when no one tags the roller. He has shown the ability to make cross-court passes off the dribble when a tagger leaves a shooter in the corner. He’s not Trae Young, but he doesn’t need to be to be effective as a 3-and-D wing in the NBA.

Now, there are some real concerns about him and what his ceiling can be because his has a startling lack of burst off the dribble and finishing around the basket. He’s not blowing by anyone. His first step is slow, and his strides are not long. He’s not going to cross up a defender and get to the bucket; one of the weaknesses in his game is that he can get sloppy with his dribble. He’s not a blow-by artist, either, and in theory, that’s fine. The role he’s going to be asked to play in the NBA won’t put him in may isolation situations.

The concern is that he struggled to beat closeouts as well. In the NBA, he’s going to be a floor-spacer with gravity, meaning that his value is in forcing a defender to remain attached because of the threat of his jumper. In order for him to be more than that, he needs to be able to makes defenses pay when they succeed in running him off of the three-point line, and I think there’s an easy fix here.

I mentioned it earlier, but Bey has short strides. You’ll see it in the example below:

Bey is able to use his dribble to get Creighton’s Ty-Shon Alexander, one of the best defenders in the Big East, off balance. He gets his shoulders past Alexander, but his first step after the crossover is a short stride; he needs two dribbles to get from the three-point line to a ten-foot pull-up, and that gives Alexander ample time to contest.

Bey is never going to be an explosive slasher, but putting in the work to lengthen his stride on his first step should make him a more effective player off the bounce.

And when he does that, I don’t see any way that he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo — and Ryan Arcidiacono, and Jalen Brunson, and Mikal Bridges, and Eric Paschall — in becoming a good role player that finds a way to last in the NBA.

Saddiq Bey is one of the safest picks in this year’s NBA draft, and given the success Villanova players have, I cannot understand why he isn’t valued higher by the industry.

Matt Haarms decides to leave Purdue, enter transfer portal

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue center Matt Haarms has entered the transfer portal and intends to play his final college season at another school, coach Matt Painter announced Monday.

The slim, 7-foot-3 Haarms was one of the Big Ten’s top defenders and played a key role during the Boilermakers’ 2019 NCAA Tournament run, when he replaced injured center Isaac Haas in the starting lineup.

But Haarms lost the starting job following a hip injury in December and wound up averaging 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2 blocks per game while shooting 52.4% from the field.

He finished fourth on Purdue’s career list for blocks with 210.

Louisville’s Nwora enters NBA draft after All-America season

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville forward Jordan Nwora has announced on social media that he will enter the NBA draft.

Nwora was selected to The Associated Press All-America third team as a junior. His decision to turn pro was expected after limited participation in last year’s NBA combine because of a knee injury. He returned to the Cardinals and was named Atlantic Coast Conference preseason player of the year before going on to average 18 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting 44% from the field. The 6-foot-7 Nwora was named to the AP’s All-ACC first team.

The Buffalo, New York, native said on his verified Twitter account that the abrupt end to the season was “heartbreaking and awful” because he believed No. 14 Louisville (24-7) was ready to win the NCAA championship. But he noted that community health and safety should be the priority because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nwora called Cardinal teammates and coaches his family in his post and added, “I will proudly represent Louisville wherever I go.”

Florida guard Scottie Lewis returning for sophomore season

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida guard Scottie Lewis, one of the Southeastern Conference’s top defenders, is returning for his sophomore season.

Lewis made the announcement Monday via social media by saying “we have some unfinished business.”

“My dream of playing in the NBA is still a top priority, but my heart is in Gainesville!” he added. “I am excited for the journey that lies ahead. My story hasn’t even started, and trust me the best is yet to come!”

A McDonald’s All-American in high school, the 6-foot-5 Lewis had been considered a one-and-done prospect when he arrived in Gainesville last summer. But his defensive prowess overshadowed his offensive skills for much of his first collegiate season.

The New Jersey native averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds to go along with a team-leading 36 blocks. He was second on the team with 36 steals.

He was at his best in SEC play, averaging 9.2 points and shooting 43.6% from 3-point range. He scored a career-high 19 points in the team’s regular-season finale against Kentucky. The postseason was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gators (19-12, 11-7 SEC) now await word on a pair of sophomores: point guard Andrew Nembhard and versatile forward Keyontae Johnson.

Nembhard entered the NBA draft last year before withdrawing his name and returning for a second season. Johnson led Florida in scoring this season, averaging 14 points, and was second on the team with 7.1 rebounds. He also led the team with 38 steals.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

College Basketball’s 2020 Coaching Carousel

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The college basketball coaching carousel is rolling for the 2020 offseason. Keep up to date on the college basketball hot seat and college basketball coaching changes this spring.

To help keep track of all of the movement, CBT has created this page to stay up to speed.

As the offseason continues, and new hires are made, we’ll update this list with every coaching change.

Be sure to follow our Twitter account @CBTonNBC for the latest college basketball news and notes.

THE 2020 COACHING CAROUSEL

High Major College Basketball Coaching Carousel

NONE YET

Mid Major College Basketball Coaching Changes

AIR FORCE

  • OUT: Dave Pilipovich

One of college basketball’s toughest jobs has opened up. Pilipovich spent just over nine seasons with the Falcons, 110-151 record. Air Force only made one CIT appearance during Pilipovich’s tenure — never finishing higher than sixth in conference play.

  • IN: Joe Scott

Air Force went back to Joe Scott as head coach. Scott is a 16-year veteran who previously coached the Falcons from 2000 through 2004. During the 2003-04 season, Scott led Air Force to the NCAA tournament. After the season, Scott departed to coach at Princeton, his alma mater. Scott also spent nine seasons as the head coach at Denver.

ALABAMA STATE

  • OUT: Lewis Jackson

Following 15 seasons at the helm, Lewis Jackson resigned as head coach. An accomplished alum at the school, Jackson made two NCAA tournament appearances and an NIT. But the Hornets haven’t made the postseason since a CIT berth in 2014, struggling to only eight wins in three of the past four seasons.

ALCORN STATE

  • OUT: Montez Robinson

Alcorn State announced they wouldn’t be renewing the contract of head coach Montez Robinson after five seasons. Things appeared promising for Robinson early in his tenure. The Braves had back-to-back second-place finishes in the SWAC and a notable 18-14 finish in 2016-17. Things didn’t sustain, however, as Alcorn State struggled to stay at .500 the next three seasons.

CENTRAL ARKANSAS

  • OUT: Russ Pennell

Pennell took a leave of absence from the program on Dec. 16th, and three weeks later the two sides “agreed to part ways.” UCA was 1-9 on the season when Pennell took his leave of absence. Under interim head coach Anthony Boone, the Bears have gone 9-11 with a 9-10 record in the Southland.

  • IN: Anthony Boone 

The interim tag was lifted from Anthony Boone as he’s the new head coach at UCA. A five-year associate head coach with the program before taking over at midseason in 2019-20, Boone was solid down the stretch. The Bears were 9-13 and a notable 7-3 at home once Boone took over.

EVANSVILLE

  • OUT: Walter McCarty

Just 18 months into his tenure with the Purple Aces, McCarty was placed on administrative leave in December and was eventually fired in January after multiple incidents of what was termed “inappropriate conduct” by McCarty. At the time, Evansville was 9-4 on the season with a win over then-No. 1 Kentucky in Rupp Arena.

  • IN: Todd Lickliter

Lickliter has since been hired as his replacement. He had been the head coach at Butler and Iowa back in the 00’s, and was hired by McCarty as an assistant coach when he got the job. Evansville has lost their last 18 games and became the only team in college basketball history to beat the No. 1 team in the country and go winless in league play in the same season.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN

  • OUT: Mark Byington

Head coach Mark Byington took the James Madison job after a successful seven-year stint. Byington led Georgia Southern to four 20-win seasons and a CBI appearance during his tenure. The past three seasons, the Eagles had 20-win campaigns, so Byington’s consistency will be missed.

  • IN: Brian Burg

Texas Tech assistant coach Brian Burg is taking over at Georgia Southern. Burg spent the past four seasons with the Red Raiders under head coach Chris Beard. Burg also spent time at Campbell, North Carolina Central and Little Rock.

GRAND CANYON

  • OUT: Dan Majerle

To date, Grand Canyon is probably the best job that has opened up during the carousel. He had been the head coach there for seven season, but never won a league title or earned a bid to the tournament. It’s a program that has money, plays in a league that can be won and has a desire to invest in the hoops program. Their homecourt is absolutely electric. Rick Pitino has been a name that has been linked with the job this offseason.

  • IN: Bryce Drew

After taking the year off to do television, Bryce Drew is back on the sidelines. The former Valparaiso and Vanderbilt head coach gets a fresh chance to lead an up-and-coming program. Drew’s energetic presence should fit in nicely at Grand Canyon, a program that’s developed a tremendous homecourt environment  with an underrated fanbase. Drew had success recruiting McDonald’s All-Americans to a place like Vanderbilt. It’ll be fascinating to see the type of talent he can draw to Grand Canyon.

IDAHO

  • OUT: Don Verlin

Verlin was fired over the summer after 11 seasons in Moscow following the disclosure of NCAA violations that were committed during his tenure. Verlin had a 177-176 record as the Idaho head coach.

  • IN: Zac Claus

Claus has acted as the interim coach since the change was made over the summer, and last month he was officially named head coach. The Vandals are 7-22 this season and currently sitting at 3-15 in the Big Sky.

ILLINOIS-CHICAGO

  • OUT: Steve McClain

McClain was let go after five seasons with the Flames. He went 18-17 this season, a disappointing record given the talent he had at his disposal. He had finished above .500 in league play for each of the last three years.

  • IN: Luke Yaklich

UIC made a notable local hire with former Texas and Michigan assistant Luke Yaklich. Credited with being one of college basketball’s up-and-coming assistants, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, Yaklich returns to the Land of Lincoln. Yaklich was a successful high school coach in the Chicagoland area and previously was an assistant at Illinois State as well.

IONA

  • OUT: Tim Cluess

Cluess was one of the best and most consistent mid-major coaches in college basketball, and he opted to step down from Iona due to the health problems that have kept him off of the sideline for much of this season. This is a good job, one that is going to attract some relatively big names. The early favorites for the role are Rick Pitino and former assistant Jared Grasso.

  • IN: Rick Pitino

The most shocking hire of college basketball’s offseason is already done. Rick Pitino is back in the college game. After spending time away from basketball and joining a Greek pro team, the former national champion head coach takes over the Gaels. Pitino is an iconic name in the sport, a legendary coach and a master recruiter. Seeing what a hungry Pitino is capable of at Iona will be one of the 2020-21 season’s more intriguing mid-major subplots.

JAMES MADISON

  • OUT: Louis Rowe

James Madison is moving on from an alum. Rowe only lasted four seasons as head coach. Going 43-85 overall and 21-51 in CAA play, the Dukes never finished higher than seventh in the conference under Rowe. Rowe’s ouster was the least-surprising move during this college basketball coaching carousel.

  • IN: Mark Byington

The Dukes were able to pluck Mark Byington from Georgia Southern to be their new head coach. In seven seasons with the Eagles, Byington had four 20-win seasons and a CBI appearance. The past three seasons, Byington led Georgia Southern to 20-win seasons.

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT

  • OUT: Mike Dunlap

Veteran coach Mike Dunlap is out after six seasons with the program. Things looked positive with a semifinal appearance in the CBI last season before the Lions finished only 11-21 this season. It was the only postseason appearance for Loyola Marymount in six years. Dunlap finished with an 81-108 record.

  • IN: Stan Johnson

Marquette associate head coach Stan Johnson has been tabbed as the new Loyola Marymount coach. Spending the past five years with the Golden Eagles, Johnson helped Marquette to multiple NCAA tournament appearances. Johnson has also been an assistant with Arizona State, Drake, Utah and Cal State Northridge.

NORTHERN COLORADO

  • OUT: Jeff Linder

The Bears will seek a new head coach after Linder left for the Wyoming job. In four seasons, Linder turned Northern Colorado into a consistent winner. The program has three straight 20-win seasons and back-to-back 15-5 records in Big Sky play. Postseason success also came thanks to a CIT title in 2018. Linder made a strong mark in just four seasons and will be tough to replace.

  • IN: Steve Smiley

Northern Colorado promoted Steve Smiley to replace Linder. An associate head coach with the Bears since 2016, Smiley also spent time as an assistant at Weber State. Smiley also brings experience from the JUCO ranks as well. Replacing Linder will be tough. But Smiley’s presence on Linder’s staff means he’s seen the program’s recent formula to success.

SAMFORD

  • OUT: Scott Padgett

Following six seasons at Samford, the program moved on from former Kentucky star Scott Padgett. It seemed like Padgett had things going in the right direction with a 20-win season and CIT appearance in his third season. But the Bulldogs never came close to achieving those benchmarks in Padgett’s final three seasons. Padgett is a former assistant under Manhattan coach Steve Masiello and also spent time at Samford before getting the head job.

  • IN: Bucky McMillan

Samford turned to the local high school ranks to fill its head-coaching vacancy. Mountain Brook High School coach Bucky McMillan takes over the Bulldogs after a 12-year run and five state titles. McMillan isn’t a typical hire but he’s run a winning program before.

SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE

  • OUT: Rick Ray

The school announced the removal of head coach Rick Ray on March 3rd. In five years with the Redhawks, Ray never found his footing, going 51-104 overall and 27-59 in OVC play. The former Mississippi State head coach has spent time as an assistant at Clemson, Purdue, Northern Illinois and Indiana State.

  • IN: Brad Korn

SEMO is turning to the Big 12 for its new head coach. Brad Korn has spent the past five seasons under Bruce Weber’s staff at Kansas State — the past four as an assistant coach. Korn has also spent considerable time as an assistant coach at Southern Illinois and Missouri State.

TARLETON STATE

  • OUT: Chris Reisman

Stepping down as men’s basketball coach due to a promotion, Reisman is remaining with Tarleton State. Reisman will serve in an administrative role as assistant athletic director after two seasons as head coach. Tarleton transitions into Division I this season as a member of the WAC.

  • IN: Billy Gillispie

Returning to the Division I level is the controversial former Kentucky and Texas Tech head coach. Gillispie spent the past four seasons as coach and athletic director at Ranger College in the junior college ranks. Gillispie took Ranger to back-to-back tournaments the past two seasons.

UAB

  • OUT: Rob Ehsan

Ehsan replaced Jerod Haase as the head coach of the Blazers. But after four years, he was let go. Ehsan finished at .500 or above in every season that he was in charge, winning 20 games twice and finishing with a record of 76-57 and 38-34 in league play. The overwhelming favorite to replace him is Andy Kennedy, an alum and a former assistant at the school.

  • IN: Andy Kennedy

After a two-year hiatus, Andy Kennedy is back on the sidelines. The former Ole Miss boss is returning to his alma mater with this decision. Following 12 years with the Rebels, Kennedy resigned and spent the past two seasons in the broadcast booth. Although Kennedy has a notable 266-169 mark as a head coach, he only has two NCAA tournament appearances in 13 seasons as a head coach. The Big Dance will be the benchmark Kennedy will be expected to achieve at UAB.

UNC WILMINGTON

  • OUT: C.B. McGrath

McGrath was relieved of his duties as UNCW head coach in mid-January after the program got off to a 5-14 start to the season, losing their first six games in CAA play. In two and a half years at the helm of the Seahawks, McGrath had a 26-60 overall record and a 10-32 mark in league play. Assistant coach Rob Burke was named the interim head coach.

  • IN: Takayo Siddle

The Seahawks went back to Kevin Keatts with their hire to replace McGrath, grabbing Siddle, who is currently an N.C. State assistant coach, to take the program over. Keatts brought them to two NCAA tournaments in three years before leaving for Raleigh and being replaced by McGrath.

WESTERN ILLINOIS

  • OUT: Billy Wright

Head coach Billy Wright will not have his contract renewed for the 2020-21 season, the school announced March 3. Over six seasons, the former assistant at the school went 53-115 overall with a 20-74 mark in Summit League play.

  • IN: Rob Jeter

Returning to the head-coaching ranks is Jeter. The former Milwaukee head coach amassed a 184-170 mark in 11 seasons with the school, making two NCAA tournament appearances. Jeter has most recently spent time as an assistant at Minnesota and UNLV.

WESTERN MICHIGAN

  • OUT: Steve Hawkins

After 17 seasons as head coach, and 20 overall at the school, Steve Hawkins is out at Western Michigan. The veteran head coach’s contract will run out and not be renewed. Hawkins finishes with two NCAA tournament appearances and a 291-262 at Western Michigan.

  • IN: Clayton Bates

Western Michigan opted to promote associate head coach Clayton Bates to be the program’s new head coach. Bates has been an assistant with the Broncos on-and-off since 2000 as he brings plenty of experience with the program.

WYOMING

  • OUT: Allen Edwards

Things changed quickly at Wyoming under Edwards. His first season, Wyoming claimed the CBI and won 23 games. The second season made it back-to-back 20-win seasons. Years three and four saw Wyoming only win 17 total games. The Cowboys saw the program plummet the past two seasons.

  • IN: Jeff Linder

Wyoming moved quickly to secure Northern Colorado’s Jeff Linder as the Cowboys’ next head coach. Linder is coming off of a strong four-year stretch with the Bears. Following a rebuild, Linder helped the Bears to three straight 20-win seasons — including a CIT title in 2018. Linder was an impressive 48-28 in Big Sky play during his tenure at Northern Colorado.