Rhode Island adds JUCO power forward Earl Watson to roster

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Rhode Island has added a front court player to its program, as the school announced on Wednesday that Chipola (Florida) College power forward Earl Watson is now a member of the team. Watson, who’s listed at 6-foot-7, 250 pounds, will only practice with the team for the remainder of the current season. That will ensure that he has two full seasons of eligibility remaining, beginning with the 2014-15 campaign.

Watson averaged 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season at Chipola, a season in which he tallied four double-doubles. Interestingly enough Watson was expected to join the Wichita State program this past summer, however a math class that was not completed resulted in his being unable to do so.

That ultimately led to Watson joining Dan Hurley’s program at Rhode Island, giving the Rams another interior body for practices as the prepare for the remainder of Atlantic 10 play.

“We are happy to have Earl join our basketball program,” Hurley said in the release.  “Earl is a nice addition for our roster.  He is an experienced, mature player and provides us with another physical presence.”

Watson joins a front court that next season will return (at the very least) Gilvydas Biruta, Hassan Martin and Jarelle Reischel. Mike Aaman hasn’t played since mid-November, undergoing an emergency appendectomy following a loss at Arizona. Aaman was also the victim in an off-campus incident in which he was allegedly assaulted. Jordan Hare took a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons in early February and has not returned since.

Transfer Watson academically ineligible at Wichita State

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Following a surprise Final Four run, there’s little doubt that Gregg Marshall and Wichita State are pulling in better players than the school has seen since Xavier McDaniel and Antoine Carr toed the stripe on campus.

With big-time recruits come big-time headaches, it seems. Marshall had 6’7″, 240-lb. juco transfer Earl Watson schedule to join the team next season, but Marshall told the Wichita Eagle on Thursday that the beefy forward would not, in fact, be making the trip.

Marshall texted beat writer Paul Suellentrop that Watson “did not get done all he needed to in order to be admitted at this time.”

Pressed for details, Marshall said “There’s an academic class he’s got to finish up to have the number of hours to be admissible to school.”

It’s not great news, nor is it the worst, as Suellentrop points out:

Had Watson qualified, WSU would have been one scholarship over the NCAA limit of 13. WSU’s front line, missing departed seniors Carl Hall and Ehimen Orukpe, will rebuild with 6-9 seniors Kadeem Coleby and Chadrack Lufile, 6-8 senior Cleanthony Early, 6-7 junior Darius Carter and 6-8 freshman Shaq Morris.

Watson would have been a nice fill-in for the toughness and experience lost when Hall graduated, but Early’s leadership and a good-sized front line ensure that the Shockers will be a MVC favorite yet again this season.

Who will Steve Lavin choose to replace Mike Dunlap at St. John’s?

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The St. John’s staff has welcomed the positives that come along with sending a coach to the NBA, but there now comes the less glamorous side of the departure: realizing his importance and finding a replacement.

For his two seasons in Queens, Dunlap was Lavin’s in-game tactician, spending much of the 2011-12 season filling in for him as head coach, while Lavin recovered from prostate surgery.

From an X’s-and-O’s standpoint, Dunlap was one of the best in the country at the college level and, with assistant Tony Chiles, who is the Red Storm’s recruiting go-to man, and Rico Hines, who can recruit and develop talent, it would seem likely that St. John’s would look for another Dunlap-type coach to fill his spot.

Jon Rothstein of CBS and Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv have compiled a list of possible candidates, categorized below.

The Former Players

Lavin could bring someone with ties to his former employer, UCLA, to fill the gap, which, according to Zagoria could Gerald Madkins. Madkins has served in the New Orleans Hornets’ front office and as a college assistant.

He could also go with Earl Watson, one of his former players at UCLA, who, as a recruiter, could pitch Lavin’s ability to move players to the NBA. Watson, 33, played for the Utah Jazz last season.

The TV Analysts

Rothstein and Zagoria both mention Paul Biancardi, the former Wright State coach who now works as a national recruiting analyst for ESPN. He could, again, work well as a recruiter, as he has connections at the grassroots and high school level.

Tim O’Toole is also mentioned. O’Toole served as Fairfield’s head coach from 1998-2006 and is now a college basketball analyst for ESPN.

Other Names

Barry Rohrssen, Former Manhattan coach

Tom Abatemarco, Colorado assistant coach

Frank Allocco, De La Salle head coach

Jim Boylen, Indiana Pacers assistant; former Utah head coach

Tim Grgurich, Former NBA assistant coach

Darrick Martin, Former UCLA and NBA player

Lane Odom, Former college assistant

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_