Rick Majerus

Former Villanova guard Achraf Yacoubou to transfer to St. Louis

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Late last evening, Ben Weixlmann broke the news that Villanova sophomore guard Achraf Yacoubou will be transferring to St. Louis University.

This is a solid pickup for Jim Crews, who was recently hired full-time as the St. Louis coach (Crews was the interim coach for the 2012-13 season after college basketball legend Rick Majerus passed away). Yacoubou developed into a legitimate threat from the perimeter during his sophomore season connecting on 39.6% of his three point attempts (21-53)—13 percentage points better than his freshman season.

As a sophomore, Yacoubou averaged 2.9 points per game in 12.0 minutes of action, but saw his floor time evaporate in the latter half of the Big East schedule through the rest of the season. Yacoubou averaged just a shade above 14 minutes in Villanova’s first 25 games of the season, but saw a total of just 19 minutes in their final nine contests.

When he announced his decision to transfer in early April, his initial list of schools, according to Adam Zagoria, were Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), and UNLV. A month later, Yacoubou narrowed the list down to Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, and St. Louis.

The guard from the Bronx, NY certainly doesn’t lack any confidence:

I averaged the highest 3-point percentage and field goal efficiency and was the best defensive player on the team and I also played well against Louisville and Syracuse and when I played 25 minutes I led the team in points and rebounds. But after the last Syracuse game I ended up averaging 12 minutes and I wanted to play more but I wasn’t.

With his minutes waning significantly as the season progressed, it is easy to see why Yacoubou wishes to take his remaining two years at another school.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Yacoubou will be required to sit out for the 2013-14 season, and will become eligible for 2014-15.

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11

Temple hands St. Louis first loss since death of Rick Majerus

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St. Louis has been on an astonishing run since the sudden death of former Billikens coach Rick Majerus. That’s nine wins in a row. Billikens coach Jim Crews claimed, in a recent conversation with CBS’ Matt Norlander, that they hadn’t even given it a thought.

Whether they knew it or not, the streak is over. The Temple Owls protected their nest and pulled off a 64-54 win in front of a home crowd. Khalif Wyatt exploded for 24 points on 7-11 shooting, ably backed by a 20/10 double-double from forward Anthony Lee. The Owls’ fortunes seem to hinge heavily on which Wyatt shows up on any given night. Against Kansas, the enigmatic guard scored 26, and his team nearly knocked off No. 6 in Allen Fieldhouse. Then, in the team’s A-10 opener at Xavier, Wyatt shot 2-11 and scored just six in a ten-point loss.

Inconsistency is the hobgoblin of this Temple team, which should make the rest of the season quite the roller-coaster ride for players, coaches and fans alike.

St. Louis got a big night from guard Rob Loe, who went 3-4 from deep on his way to a 17-point, 11-rebound evening. Loe’s efforts went largely unsupported, however. Guard Jordair Jett had three of the Billikens’ 13 turnovers, and the St. Louis big men simply could not penetrate the interior, where Temple’s trees combined for six blocked shots.

The A-10 season is always a raucous affair, and expansion can only make it more so. If Temple hopes to make the most of their last season in the conference (assuming nothing else expands, contracts or self-immolates in the next few months) they’ll need more nights like this one.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

Saint Louis honors Rick Majerus with memorial on Friday

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The college basketball world was rocked last Saturday whens news broke that former head coach Rick Majerus had passed away at the age of 64, after battling many health issues.

Since then, former homes for Majerus such as Utah and Marquette have paid their respects to the late coach. On Friday, Saint Louis, Majerus’ last coaching stint, honored him with a memorial service.

“His fingerprint is all over college basketball,” said Saint Louis interim head coach Jim Crews. “Everywhere you go, there he is.”

According to the Associated Press, hundreds attended the service at Chaifetz Pavilion on the Saint Louis campus. Photos of Majerus and players were featured throughout the pavilion, including plays Majerus would draw up on pieces of paper.

Majerus took over the Saint Louis program in 2007 and helped make the Billikens make the transition to the Atlantic 10 Conference. In five seasons, Majerus went 95-69, including an NCAA tournament appearance in 2012. In 25 seasons on the sidelines, Majerus complieda coaching record of 517-216, leading Utah to the Final Four in 1998.

Marquette will wear patches honoring Majerus, who served as an assistant to Al McGuire, later becoming the head coach in 1983. Utah, where Majerus won over 300 games, placed a sweater on the front seat of the bench for Majerus. The Utes beat Boise State 76-55.

“Family, friends, food, basketball, players – if that was involved Rick was singing and whistling a happy tune,” Crews told the AP. “It was always about people and that was what made Rick so special.”

The funeral for Majerus will take place on Saturday in Milwaukee.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Utah to honor former coach Rick Majerus by hanging sweater from rafters

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Rick Majerus coached at Utah for 14 seasons and now, after news of his passing, the university will honor the man who led its program to 11 NCAA tournament appearances.

Athletic director Chris Hill announced Monday that the school will be hanging a signature white Majerus sweater from the rafters at the Utes’ home arena to commemorate the longtime coach’s life and work at the university.

The team will also hold a moment of silence before its next home game and players will wear black patches on their jerseys in his honor, Hill said.

“Rick left a lasting legacy at the University of Utah, not only for his incredible success and the national prominence he brought to our basketball program, but also for the tremendous impact he made on the young men who were fortunate enough to play on his teams,” Hill said in a statement after Majerus’ passing.

“His standard of excellence extended beyond the basketball court and into the academic and personal success of his players. He will be deeply missed and we grieve for his family and all of his friends.”

In his time with Utah, Majerus amassed an overall record of 323-95, including 11 NCAA tournament appearances, two Sweet 16 berths (1991, 1996), one Elite Eight (1997), and one appearance in the national title game (1998).

He passed away Saturday at the age of 64.

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

NBA coaches share memories in wake of Rick Majerus’ death

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The death of longtime coach Rick Majerus sent shockwaves not only through the college game, where he made such an impact during his career, but even through the professional ranks, where the branches of his coaching tree spread wide.

Included in those is Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who shared a story with A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England.

“That’s a tough one for me,” Rivers told Blakely, reportedly visibly shaken by Majerus’ death. “He’s the one that gave me my name.”

And Blakely goes on to tell Rivers’ story like this:

While attending a basketball camp as a youth with Majerus as one of the camp counselors, Rivers was wearing a Dr. J (Julius Erving) t-shirt. Majerus started calling him ‘Doc,’ and the rest as they say, is history.

Milwaukee Bucks’ assistant Jim Boylan played for Majerus at Marquette. His 1977 team won the NIT championship when Majerus was an assistant.

“He’s done so much for basketball at Marquette and all through the state of Wisconsin,” Boylan told Blakely. “For me personally, he’s always been there. He’s one of those guys who, if you don’t see Rick for a while and when something was going wrong and you needed help, boom, he’d be there.

“He did so much for me over the years when I was trying to get my career going. Just extending himself and giving you whatever it is you needed, whether it was a phone call, having me come out to Salt Lake and staying with him four or five weeks at a time working. He’d basically give you the shirt off his back, if that’s what you needed. He would do whatever it took. He’s going to be really missed. Great person.”

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

Majerus tributes pour out on Twitter

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As soon as the news of Rick Majerus’ death at age 64 hit Twitter, personal stories of the man’s kindness, humor and foibles began to pour out into the community at large. In honor of one of our all-time favorite college basketball coaches, we’ll share some of the best.