Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

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VIDEO: Louisiana Tech’s Derric Jean hits half-court game-winner

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Louisiana Tech and Marshall entered Thursday night as two of the four teams (Middle Tennessee and Old Dominion being the others) fighting for the two-seed in next week’s Conference USA tournament with UAB already having locked up the top spot. As expected the Bulldogs and Thundering Herd went down to the wire, with Louisiana Tech winning 97-94 on a Derric Jean half-court shot as time expired.

Jean’s shot moved Louisiana Tech into a tie for second with Middle Tennessee, a game ahead of Marshall and Old Dominion in the loss column. Alex Hamilton led the Bulldogs with 38 points, four rebounds, six assists and four steals, and Erik McCree added 22 and ten boards.

As for Marshall, four of their six Conference USA losses have been by four points or less. James Kelly finished Thursday’s game with 27 points and five rebounds, but thanks to the heroics of Jean that performance came in a losing effort.

Louisiana Tech places serious restrictions on transferring guard Xavian Stapleton


Programs placing restrictions on transferring players comes as no surprise in college basketball, with a number of conferences having rules that make it either difficult or impossible for a student-athlete to remain within the league once they decide to move on. However some schools take this a step further, restricting student-athletes from transferring to schools on upcoming schedules as well.

Missouri did this with forward Johnathan Williams III (who’s now at Gonzaga) before relenting somewhat in the face of public criticism, and according to a report Louisiana Tech has chosen the same route in regards to guard Xavian Stapleton.

According to the Clarion-Ledger, the school is restricting Stapleton from transferring to more than 50 Division I schools. On that list are other Conference USA schools, schools that are on future non-conference schedules and schools located in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. Also on the list is Florida, where former Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White is now in charge.

“(Louisiana Tech AD Tommy McClelland) said he wasn’t going to release me just because we got a new coach,” Stapleton said. “He said he thinks I should give him a chance. If I don’t like how the program goes this year, he’d give me a transfer for next season.”

Yulonda Davis, Stapleton’s mother, says she was told differently.

“I tried to reach out to (new Louisiana Tech head) Coach (Eric) Konkol after Xavian told him that he wanted to leave,” Davis said. “He said ‘OK, I’m not going to hold him hostage. Of course I want him to stay, but I’m not going to hold him hostage.'”

The 6-foot-6 Stapleton, who averaged 6.7 points and 2.1 rebounds per game last season, began having thoughts of transferring in early June before coming to that decision later in the month. The coaching change was an interesting process for Louisiana Tech, with many players campaigning for assistant Dusty May to be promoted.

But that didn’t happen, and with the program eventually losing Matt McMahon (he took over at Murray State for Steve Prohm) there was even more instability within the coaching staff. That factored into Stapleton’s decision to leave, but unless things change (or the NCAA grants their appeal) he’ll have to find a new school while working within the limitations set by Louisiana Tech.

In the case of the school, what’s to be gained by doing this? You get criticized by the outside of placing these restrictions on a player who wants to move on, and taking this approach to dealing with a player can hurt recruiting down the line. They’d be better off simply allowing the player to move on while focusing on those who want to be a part of the program.

Miami assistant Eric Konkol to be named Louisiana Tech head coach

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Eric Konkol, the longtime assistant for Jim Larranaga, will reportedly take the reins of his own program.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN and Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reported just after midnight on Sunday that Konkol had agreed to terms to become Louisiana Tech’s head coach.

Konkol will replace Michael White, who filled the vacancy at Florida after future Hall of Famer Billy Donovan jumped to the NBA.

Parrish reported that North Florida’s Matt Driscoll, Oklahoma assistant Steve Henson and Baylor assistant Jerome Tang were among the other candidates. Current and former Louisiana Tech players had used social media to push for assistant coach Dusty May to get the job.

Konkol has served as an assistant for Larranaga at both Miami and George Mason.

Transfer guard originally headed to Louisiana Tech commits to Arkansas-Little Rock

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In mid-April Louisiana Tech announced the addition of guard Jermaine Ruttley for the 2015-16 season, with the former Florida A&M player eligible to compete immediately for the Bulldogs. Then the coaching carousel got going, with Michael White moving on to Florida and Dusty May, who some Louisiana Tech players wanted to take over, heading to Gainesville as well.

As a result Ruttley reopened his recruitment, and Saturday morning it was reported by ESPN.com that he’s decided to attend Arkansas-Little Rock. News of Ruttley’s commitment was originally reported Friday night, but that proved to be premature.

The 6-foot-3 Ruttley averaged 17.4 points per game at Florida A&M last season after playing at Kaskaskia Community College. In announcing the addition of Ruttley to the program, Louisiana Tech stated that Florida A&M was working with them and the NCAA to ensure that Ruttley would be eligible to compete immediately due to a possible postseason ban for academic progress rate issues.

Now that Ruttley has picked UALR, the Trojans will likely need similar cooperation to ensure that the high-scoring guard can take the floor in 2015-16. UALR, which has a new head coach in Chris Beard, returns its top two scorers from last season in guard Josh Hagins and forward Roger Woods.

Ruttley is the fourth addition to the UALR program, joining junior college transfers Jalen Jackson and Lis Shoshi and freshman Tyson Batiste.

Louisiana Tech players petitioning on Twitter for Dusty May to get head coaching job

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The coaching carousel has turned its focus to Ruston, Louisiana.

On Thursday night, Louisiana Tech’s Michael White agreed to become the next head coach at Florida, replacing future Hall of Famer Billy Donovan. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported on Friday that White will bring assistants Jordan Mincy and Darris Nichols with him to Gainesville.

That leaves one spot left on White’s staff for Louisiana Tech associate head coach Dusty May. Although, current and former players have made it clear that they want May to be promoted and take over the Louisiana Tech program.

Even though players like Kenneth ‘Speedy’ Smith, the 2015 Conference USA Player of the Year, have exhausted their eligibility, that hasn’t stopped them from voicing their support via Twitter.

May joined Kerry Rupp’s staff in 2009 and stayed on during White’s tenure. The Bulldogs won three consecutive regular season conference titles — one in the WAC, two in C-USA — going 83-24 in that span. According to Sean Isabella of the News Star, Louisiana Tech athletic director Tommy McClelland said he would “consider an internal hire.”

Louisiana Tech lands impact guard transfer who can play immediately

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Louisiana Tech made a move to shore up its backcourt rotation this weekend as the school announced the signing of Florida A&M transfer Jermaine Ruttley.

The 6-foot-3 Ruttley was the third-leading scorer in the MEAC last season at 17.4 points per game and he also led the Rattlers at 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

“Jermaine brings us age and immediate Division 1 experience in the backcourt,” Louisiana Tech head coach Mike White said in the release. “He is a proven scorer and he has also been a tremendous rebounding and defensive guard at both the junior college and D1 levels. We are very excited to have added to him to our roster as he will be ready to contribute right away.”

According to the official release from the school, Ruttley could be immediately eligible next season because of APR sanctions that Florida A&M is facing.

“The Rattlers have granted Ruttley his release and also provided documentation to LA Tech in support of Ruttley being eligible to compete immediately. However, the Bulldogs must still await confirmation from the NCAA,” the release said.

With the Bulldogs having a lot of unproven players in their back court for next season, besides Alex Hamilton, Ruttley could slide in as the team’s new starting point guard. A former junior college transfer, Ruttley really got rolling at the end of last season as he scored at least 17 points in each of Florida A&M’s final 10 games.