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Atlantic 10 Offseason Reset: VCU, Davidson, Dayton headline much improved conference

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The grad transfer market is still in full swing, but for the most part, we know what the meaningful parts for the majority of the teams around the country will be.

That means that it is time to start talking about what is coming instead of what was.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at key personnel changes, the impact of the coaching carousel and the most important storylines heading into the 2019-20 season for each of college basketball’s top seven conferences.

Today, we are talking Atlantic 10

KEY OFFSEASON STORYLINES

THE LEAGUE WILL BE MUCH, MUCH BETTER THIS SEASON: The Atlantic 10 got lucky last season. There was one team in the league worthy of an at-large bid – VCU – and that team lost in the conference tournament. That’s the only reason they ended up as a two-bid league instead of a one-bid league.

This year should be different. VCU and Davidson are both sitting in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25. Dayton isn’t all that far behind them. Rhode Island and Richmond both bring back essentially all of the pieces that mattered last season. The top of the league is as strong as it has been in a while, and I think there’s a real chance that we’re talking about the conference getting three or four bids to the NCAA tournament this season.

That, of course, all depends on what happens during non-conference play. Last year it was hideous for the league, and that left them in a position where the computer numbers were ugly and there was no way to add quality wins for the teams that needed quality wins. The bottom of the conference should be just as bad this season, but with three teams at the top worthy of top 25 consideration combined with a much stronger middle, there’s reason to be hopeful.

VCU AND DAVIDSON FIGHTING FOR FIRST PLACE: I think you can go either way when it comes to who is the favorite to win the league, but I don’t think you can pick anyone other than VCU or Davidson. They finished 1-2 in the Atlantic 10 last season and, combined, they lost three players from their rotations. VCU graduated a third-string center and lost a guy who lost his spot in the rotation to a freshman while, hopefully, getting Marcus Evans back to the peak of his powers; more on him later. Davidson brings back their top six, including one of the best backcourts in all of college basketball in Kellan Grady and Jon-Axel Gudmundsson. It will be a fun race between the two programs that couldn’t play more contrasting styles.

(Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

WILL DAYTON’S TALENT COME TOGETHER?: On paper, Dayton is right there with Davidson and VCU. They lose Josh Cunningham, but with the rest of their rotation – including a bonafide pro in Obi Toppin – returning and four sit-out transfers entering the fold, there is more than enough talent, depth and experience on the roster. The reason I have them a notch below the favorites is because I want to see how all the pieces come together. They can certainly win the league, but managing minutes and egos is going to be the toughest part of Anthony Grant’s job this season.

THE BATTLE FOR FOURTH: Best I can tell, there are going to be at least three – if not more – teams fighting for that spot. Rhode Island seems to make the most sense, given just how much they bring back, while Richmond is the sleeper that all the coaches in the conference are talking about. I also think it is worth noting that St. Bonaventure will be better than some believe given that they managed to find a way to keep Mark Schmidt in Olean for another season.

But I also think that it’s possible that a team like La Salle, or George Mason, or Saint Louis can pop up and surprise some people. There’s depth in the conference that wasn’t necessarily there a year ago.

CAN CHRIS MOONEY GO FROM ALMOST-FIRED TO NCAA TOURNAMENT?: Richmond is going to be the most interesting team in the league. There are big-money boosters that have spent the last year or two trying to get Chris Mooney fired. Someone even put up a #FireMooney billboard on I-95 in the city. The irony here is that Mooney may have his best team since the 2011 team that reached the Sweet 16. Grant Golden is arguably the best big man in the league while Jacob Gilyard was a second-team all-Atlantic 10 player last year. Nathan Cayo is back and, perhaps most importantly, Richmond’s best wing scorer Nick Sherod should be healthy again. Throw in Wagner transfer Blake Francis, and there are a lot of pieces on this roster.

We’ll see if Mooney can make it all fit together, but this team is certainly good enough, on paper, to win 12 conference games.

WHO’S GONE

  • PHIL MARTELLI, St. Joseph’s: An Atlantic 10 and Philadelphia institution is gone. After 34 years at the school and 24 seasons as the head coach of the Hawks, Phil Martelli was fired this spring. He landed on his feet – as an assistant coach on Juwan Howard’s staff at Michigan – but St. Joe’s is going to have to completely rebuild. As of right now, there are seven scholarship players on the roster.
  • JAVON BESS, Saint Louis: Bess was the best defender in the Atlantic 10 last season, the anchor for what was the best defense in the league. He also doubled as the best scorer and shooter on the roster of a Billiken team that struggled to score. This is a big, big loss for a team coming off an NCAA tournament trip.
  • JOSH CUNNINGHAM, Dayton: The Flyers will have more than enough talent to replace Cunningham, but losing an all-league senior that was capable of going for 20-10 on any given night is never ideal.
  • COURTNEY STOCKARD, St. Bonaventure: Stockard took a step forward as a senior, helping the Bonnies to remain top four in the league despite losing Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. He was a deserving first-team all-league player last season.
  • OTIS LIVINGSTON, George Mason: The Patriots are going to have to change the way they play this season with Livingston gone. He was one of the best lead guards in the league for the last four years and the guy that allowed Dave Paulsen to run offense without worrying about what happens at the end of a shot clock.
  • ERIC WILLIAMS, Duquesne: The Dukes bring everyone else back, and Keith Dambrot has the respect of every coach in the league, but Williams was their best player. Losing him is a hard way to make up ground in a league where the top five teams all bring everyone back.
Obi Toppin (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

WHO’S BACK

  • EVERYONE, VCU: Well, that’s technically not true. Michael Gilmore, a backup center, graduated and Sean Mobley, who started to lose minutes by the end of the year, transferred. So there are some changes. But all of the truly important pieces – star guard Marcus Evans, De’Riante Jenkins, Marcus Santos-Silva, Issac Vann, Vince Williams, etc. – are back, and they’re joined by a really good recruiting class. They’re old, they’re experienced, they’re deep, they’re talented and they were a No. 8 seed last season. This is a preseason top 25 team.
  • EVERYONE, Davidson: Last season, Kellan Grady was the guy we all thought would be the best player in the Atlantic 10 after a sterling freshman season got him on the radar of the NBA. Despite being banged up, Grady averaged 17.3 points as a sophomore … and his teammate, Jon-Axel Gudmundsson, won Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. Both of them are back, along with the rest of Bob McKillop’s top six from a team that went 24-10 last season.
  • EVERYONE, Rhode Island: The Rams bring back their top four scorers, including Fatts Russell, Cyril Langevine and Jeff Dowtin, and the only player they lose from their rotation averaged just 5.7 points. There is a lot of reason to like this group.
  • OBI TOPPIN, Dayton: One coach told me that Toppin is not only clearly the most talented player in the league, he is the only guy in the conference that is a surefire pro. A late-bloomer, he hasn’t stopped improving throughout his career and should be in line for a major breakout season.
  • NICK SHEROD, Richmond: Grant Golden, Jacob Gilyard and Nathan Cayo are the bigger names and they all return, but Sherod is the guy that coaches in the league believe is the difference-maker. He’s a big-time shooter and scorer on the wing that they were missing after he went down with a knee injury.
  • KYLE LOFTON and OSUN OSUNNIYI, St. Bonaventure: Losing Stockard is going to hurt, but sophomores Lofton and Osunniyi are going to be very, very good for a long time in this league. One coach told me he thought Lofton was “the best freshman I’ve seen in the Atlantic 1 in a while, you would never have guessed he was a freshman” based on the way he played and his poised.
  • JORDAN GOODWIN and HASAHN FRENCH, Saint Louis: Goodwin is a do-it-all wing and French might be the best, and certainly is the most powerful, big man in the conference.

WHO’S COMING

  • DAYTON’S TRANSFERS: The Flyers had four players sitting out as transfers last season — Ibi Watson (Michigan), Jordy Tshimanga (Nebraska), Rodney Chatman (Chattanooga) and Chase Johnson (Florida). With Jalen Crutcher and Toppin both returning, the Flyers have as much talent on paper as anyone.
  • SCOTT SPENCER, La Salle: A transfer from Clemson, Spencer should fit perfectly in Ashley Howard’s system and give the Explorers a bit of a scoring pop to help offset the loss of Pookie Powell.
  • BLAKE FRANCIS, Richmond: The transfer from Wagner averaged 17 points before sitting out this past season.

WAY-TOO-EARLY ALL-ATLANTIC 10 TEAM

MARCUS EVANS, VCU (Preseason Player of the Year)
KELLAN GRADY, Davidson
JON-AXEL GUDMUNDSSON, Davidson
OBI TOPPIN, Dayton
GRANT GOLDEN, Richmond

(Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

WAY-TOO-EARLY POWER RANKINGS

1. VCU: We’ve talked plenty about the Rams at this point, but I think their ceiling is still going to be determined by what they get out of Marcus Evans. Their star point guard has suffered an injury to each of his achilles since transferring to VCU from Rice. He rehabbed his entire sit-out season, and then spent last summer rehabbing the second injury. Somehow, he hasn’t lost any of his explosiveness and still managed to average 13.6 points and 3.2 assists last year. I spoke with him back in February, and Evans told me he was excited about this offseason because it was the first time he would have a chance to spend the summer getting better instead of getting healthy. He’s my pick to be the 2020 Player of the Year in the Atlantic 10.

2. DAVIDSON: This Davidson team has a chance to be the best group Bob McKillop has coached since the Stephen Curry days. A healthy Kellan Grady combined with Jon Axel Gudmundsson will give the Wildcats one of the best backcourts in the country. They’re going to be experienced, and Luka Brajkovic and Luke Frampton should both take a significant step forward as sophomores. Brajkovic was one of the best bigs in the league as a freshman. As always, their ceiling will be determined by just how good their defense will be, but on paper this group looks like a tournament team.

3. DAYTON: It’s easier to bet on VCU and Davidson as league champs because we know what they are, but keep in mind that the Flyers return the majority of their rotation from a team that went 21-12 overall and 13-5 in the league last season, and that among the players they return is future draft pick Obi Toppin. Oh, and they also add four sit-out transfers, three of whom came from high-major schools. It’s going to be a fun three-team race.

4. RHODE ISLAND: The Rams certainly have the talent to be relevant in the Atlantic 10 race, but with essentially the same team, they went .500 in the league last season and finished four games behind third-place Dayton. How are they making up all that ground when the teams above them return everyone?

5. RICHMOND: Every coach I’ve spoken to believes that the Spiders are the x-factor in the league race this year. For starters, bringing back Grant Golden and Jacob Gilyard gives them one of the best 1-2 combinations in the league. Bringing back Nick Sherod’s size and scoring on the wing will be important, and Nathan Cayo was underrated league-wide. Throw in Wagner transfer Blake Francis, and this should be the most improved team in the conference.

6. ST. BONAVENTURE: Mark Schmidt lost Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley before last season and still managed to churn out an 18-win season and a fourth-place finish in the A-10, so we shouldn’t be all that worried about them after losing four of their top six, including Courtney Stockard. They have one of the best homecourt advantages in the league, Schmidt will find a way to get the best out of his roster and sophomores Kyle Lofton and Osun Osunniyi are ready for bigger roles.

7. LA SALLE: I love this La Salle group. They should have more talent and depth this year, and you know they are always going to play hard. They’ve had a year under Ashley Howard, and what we saw as the season progressed was that this team played together much better than La Salle did under John Giannini. Keep an eye on sophomore Jack Clark.

8. GEORGE MASON: They’re going to have to play differently without Otis Livingston running the show, but Justin Kier is a going to have a chance to become a star in the league. Throw in sophomore Jordan Miller and a healthy Goanar Mar, and there are some pieces for Dave Paulsen here.

9. SAINT LOUIS: The Billikens were built on their defense last season and couldn’t score. They lost their best defender and best scorer in Javon Bess. I like Jordan Goodwin, I love Hasahn French and I think Fred Thatch is in line for a big sophomore season, but I need to see it from this group.

10. DUQUESNE: Coaches in the league have faith that Keith Dambrot will be able to find a way to make it work this year, and there are some pieces returning – notably Sincere Carey – but losing Eric Williams is big. He was their best player.

11. UMASS: The Minutemen have some talent and they bring in a good recruiting class, but I am going to need to see Matt McCall win there before I buy in. Keep an eye on freshman Tre Mitchell.

12. GEORGE WASHINGTON: Jamion Christian should be able to get the most out of this roster, and they’ll play a fun style that will see them bombing away from three, but it will take him a few years to get the kind of talent in the program he needs to make a run at the top of the league.

13. FORDHAM: Fordham won three Atlantic 10 games last season and lose their best player, Nick Honor.

14. ST. JOSEPH’S: Best I can tell, St. Joe’s currently has seven scholarship players on the roster, one of whom is a former walk-on. The post-Martelli era is going to have a rough start.

College Basketball’s 2019 Coaching Carousel

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College basketball’s coaching carousel has started for the 2019 offseason as we’ll see numerous changes in the coaching ranks over the next several months.

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

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

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

HIGH MAJOR OPENINGS

ALABAMA

OUT: Avery Johnson and Alabama agreed to part ways after Alabama missed the NCAA tournament this season. Johnson spent four seasons with the Crimson Tide, but they made just one NCAA tournament in that time.

IN: The Crimson Tide made the first major splash of the 2019 offseason with the hiring of Buffalo’s Nate Oats. Oats is an interesting fit in Alabama. He is from Wisconsin, played and coached at the Division III level in the state and spent 11 years coaching high school ball in Michigan before heading to Buffalo. He’s never coached outside of the Great Lakes region. And now he’s taking over Alabama?

ARKANSAS

OUT: Mike Anderson is out with the Razorbacks after eight years and three NCAA tournament appearances. The Razorbacks join an aggressive group of SEC schools looking for head coaches despite recent tournament appearances.

IN: After a successful stint at Nevada, Eric Musselman has made the move to the SEC as the new head coach of the Razorbacks. Musselman led the Wolf Pack into national prominence with three NCAA tournament appearances and a Sweet 16 last season.

CALIFORNIA

OUT: Three days after Wyking Jones received word that he would get one more season in Berkeley, athletic Director Jim Knowlton changed his mind and fired Jones after just two seasons as the head coach. Jones was promoted after Cuonzo Martin left Cal to take over at Missouri. There isn’t much talent on the Cal roster, but there is plenty of it in California.

IN: It looks like former Georgia and Nevada head coach Mark Fox is going to be getting this gig. It’s not a terrible hire. Fox had plenty of success in Reno, and he does have a really good reputation in coaching circles. There was some new blood that deserved a shot, but they could have done worse.

CINCINNATI

OUT: The UCLA coaching search took forever but it finally landed a coach in Mick Cronin. Although Cronin didn’t make deep NCAA tournament runs, he weathered the Bearcats’ transition from the Big East to the American by taking the program to nine straight NCAA tournament appearances. Cronin’s hire at UCLA may draw criticism, but there is little doubt that he’s a huge part of keeping Cincinnati one of the most consistent programs in the country.

IN: The Bearcats did not promote assistant Darren Savino, as many thought and expected them to do, instead hiring John Brannen, who has spent the last four seasons with Northern Kentucky after six years on staff at Alabama.

NEBRASKA

OUT: Nebraska finally did the inevitable, firing Tim Miles after seven seasons with the program. Miles has been the head coach of the Cornhuskers since 2012, racking up a 116-114 record and a 52-76 mark in Big Ten play. He reached the NCAA tournament in his second season in Lincoln, but failed to get back. In 2017-18 season, Nebraska finished 22-11 and went 13-5 in the Big Ten, becoming the first school from that conference to miss out on the NCAA tournament after winning more than 11 games in league play.

IN: Fred Hoiberg was hired to replace Tim Miles, and it’s a pretty great fit. Nebraska is not all that different from Iowa State in terms of the fanbase, the recruiting base, their standing within the conference, etc. Hoiberg should be able to get the same kind of player, play the same style and win some basketball games.

NEVADA

OUT: Eric Musselman is moving on to Arkansas after helping take Nevada to the NCAA tournament three times — including a Sweet 16 run in 2018. Helping the program reach a national level, Musselman did an effective job of recruiting transfers and stud freshmen to make the Wolf Pack the top program in the Mountain West.

IN: The Wolf Pack worked quickly, replacing Musselman with former UCLA and New Mexico head coach Steve Alford, who had much more success in Albuquerque than the did in Westwood.

ST. JOHN’S

OUT: Chris Mullin is stepping down as the coach of the Red Storm after four seasons at the helm. A legendary player at St. John’s in the ’80s, Mullin was never able to recapture the magic of his playing days as the team’s head coach. St. John’s only made one NCAA tournament appearance during Mullin’s four years as they went from 12-0 to barely making the Big Dance in 2018-19.

IN: The search did not go quite as well as people in and around New York would have liked, but the Johnnies ended up with a decent — albeit somewhat out of left field — hire as they brought in Mike Anderson, who had been fired by Arkansas.

TEMPLE

OUT: Fran Dunphy, a stalwart in Philadelphia hoops, is in the final stages of his coaching career, as he will step down at Temple after the season.

IN: This was decided before the season started, but he will be replaced by Aaron McKie, a Philly native and Temple alum that has spent five years as a member of Temple’s staff.

TEXAS A&M

OUT: The Aggies moved on from head coach Billy Kennedy following the conclusion of the SEC tournament.

IN: The worst kept secret in college basketball is finally official: Buzz Williams will be the next head coach at Texas A&M. This is a great hire and a great fit. The SEC got tougher today.

UCLA

OUT: The first coaching carousel move of this offseason happened way back in December when Steve Alford was fired. Although UCLA isn’t the job it used to be, it remains one of the best and most storied programs in the country. It also might be the most fascinating coaching search in the nation since the Bruins wasted a three-month head start on the rest of the country.

IN: Following a long and drawn-out search, Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin is heading West. After the Bruins attempted to land Kentucky’s John Calipari and TCU’s Jamie Dixon, they ended up with Cronin, a coach who led the Bearcats to only one Sweet 16 in 12 seasons. With UCLA fans and alums hoping for national titles will Cronin be enough for their high standards? Only time will tell.

UNLV

OUT: Marvin Menzies three-year tenure as the head coach at UNLV is over, and it will be fascinating to see who that administration tabs to be the guy to try and take that program back to the heights of the 1990s. There have been some big names that have popped up, from Thad Matta and Rick Pitino to Tyronn Lue and Jason Kidd.

IN: Replacing Menzies will be South Dakota State head coach T.J. Otzelberger. As the head coach of the Jackrabbits, Otzelberger led the program to multiple NCAA tournament appearances while coaching one of the nation’s best players in Mike Daum.

VANDERBILT

OUT: The Commodores and new athletic director Malcolm Turner opted to move on from head coach Bryce Drew after only three seasons. Drew led Vanderbilt to an NCAA tournament appearance while also recruiting two McDonald’s All-Americans to the school last season. But the program struggled to a 9-23 season and 0-18 mark in the SEC.

IN: Vandy has signed Jerry Stackhouse, a former NBA player that has some experience coaching in the AAU ranks, to replace Bryce Drew.

VIRGINIA TECH

OUT: Buzz Williams is heading to Texas A&M after helping lead the Hokies back into national relevance. Williams led Virginia Tech to three straight NCAA tournament appearances — including the program’s second-ever Sweet 16 appearance in 2019.

IN: After Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard turned down the job, Virginia Tech moved quickly to hire Wofford’s Mike Young. Leading the Terriers to five NCAA tournament appearances and seven postseason trips in the past decade, Young is coming off of a season in which he led Wofford into the Round of 32 from the mid-major ranks.

WASHINGTON STATE

OUT: One day after its season ended with a loss to Oregon in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament, Washington State has parted ways with head coach Ernie Kent. Kent spent five seasons in Pullman, posting an overall record of 58 wins and 98 losses. Against Pac-12 competition the Cougars were just 22-68 during Kent’s tenure, with the program’s best conference mark being a 7-11 record during the 2014-15 season (Kent’s first at the school). Washington State is considered by many on the west coast to be one of, if not the worst job in the high-major ranks.

IN: Signing a six-year deal, former San Francisco head coach Kyle Smith is the next head coach at Washington State. Smith has been a Division I head coach for nine seasons, the last three coming with the Dons. After taking Columbia to multiple CIT appearances, Smith had three straight 20-win seasons with San Francisco.

THE REST

APPALACHIAN STATE

OUT: Jim Fox’s tenure at Appalachian State came to an end this year. He was never able to get things going in the right direction, finishing below .500 every season and mustering just one finish in the top five of the Sun Belt. That came in 2017-18, when the Mountaineers finished 9-9 and tied for 5th in the league.

IN: App State hired away former Wofford assistant Dustin Kerns from Presbyterian, where he had the best season in program history in his second year.

BELMONT

OUT: A legend has moved on. Rick Byrd retired after spending 33 seasons as the head coach of the Belmont Bruins, ushering them from NAIA into being one of the best mid-major programs in the country. This will be a sought-after job in the mid-major ranks.

IN: Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander has been tabbed as the man to replace Byrd. Alexander spent 16 years as an assistant coach at Belmont from 1995-2011 so this is an expected move as well. As head coach of the Bison, Alexander led the program to three straight 20-win seasons and an NCAA tournament appearance last season before an NIT runner-up finish this season.

BYU

OUT: After 14 seasons as the head coach at BYU, Dave Rose is stepping down. Rose went to the NCAA tournament eight times in his first ten seasons as the head coach of the Cougars, but in the last four years, BYU has mustered just three trips to the NIT. The name popping up here is Mark Pope, who played in the NBA and has been at Utah Valley State for the last four years.

IN: It took longer than expected, but BYU finally has the name they wanted all along in Utah Valley State’s Mark Pope. A former BYU assistant who spent a handful of years in the NBA, Pope has led the Wolverines to back-to-back 20-win seasons and three straight CBI appearances.

BUFFALO

OUT: Following four successful seasons, head coach Nate Oats has been hired at Alabama. Leading the Bulls to three NCAA tournament appearances in four seasons as coach, Oats led Buffalo to a top-25 mark this season and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament’s Round of 32.

IN: Associate head coach Jim Whitesell will take over the Bulls as he’s been with the program since 2015. A former head coach at Loyola (IL) for seven seasons, Whitesell has a 109-106 record at the Division I level with no NCAA tournament appearances.

CAL POLY

OUT: After 10 years at the helm, Cal Poly is moving on from head coach Joe Callero. Peaking in years three-through-five with two 18-win seasons and an appearance in the 2014 NCAA tournament, Callero never got the program back on track during his final five seasons. Finishing with a 6-21 record and 2-12 mark in the Big West this season, the Mustangs will be looking for only their fourth different head coach since the program transitioned into Division I in 1994. While Cal Poly hasn’t been particularly successful, they have allowed coaches plenty of time to build things their own way.

IN: Cal Poly hired Fullerton assistant coach John Smith, who has ties to the junior college scene in California.

ELON

OUT: Matt Matheny was at Elon for 10 years, seeing them make the move from the SoCon to the CAA, but he was never able to get it going at the school. The Phoenix had just one second above .500 since the move in 2014 and in 10 years, he made it to just one postseason — a 2013 trip to the CIT.

IN: The Phoenix have hired Mike Schrage, who has spent the last two years on Chris Holtmann’s staff at Ohio State. Schrage has connections in the state of North Carolina after spending eight years on staff at Duke.

FAIRFIELD

OUT: Moving on from head coach Sydney Johnson after eight seasons, Fairfield will try to make a move up the MAAC with its new hire. Finishing 116-147 during his tenure at Fairfield, Johnson led the Stags to three CIT appearances — most recently in 2016-17. Johnson had some early momentum with a 22-win season and third-place finish in the MAAC in year one, but Fairfield never achieved those heights again. The Stags finished 9-22 and 6-12 in conference play in 2018-19.

IN: Longtime Stony Brook assistant coach Jay Young will be the next head coach the Stags.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

OUT: After three seasons as the head coach of the Colonials, the school announced on Friday that Maurice Joseph will not be returning to the program next season. MoJo was put in a difficult spot, taking over the program on an interim basis in September of 2016 after head coach Mike Lonergan was fired. He earned a contract with the success they had that season, but he was unable to build on it.

IN: GW moved quickly, hiring Jamion Christian away from Siena. Christian is a Virginia native that spent five seasons coaching at Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland before spending one season at Siena. This is a hire that should work out quite well for GW.

GEORGIA STATE

OUT: Ron Hunter left Georgia State after five seasons in Atlanta to take over at Tulane, who fired Mike Dunleavy after just three seasons in New Orleans.

IN: Rob Lanier, who has spent the last the five years as Rick Barnes’ associate head coach, will be the man that replaces Hunter. Lanier also had two different stints on Barnes’ staff at Texas, and helmed Siena from 2001-05.

HOLY CROSS

OUT: After a long career and four seasons in charge at Holy Cross, Bill Carmody announced his retirement on June 18. Carmody took the Crusaders to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and had a record of 58-73 during his tenure.

IN: Long-time Marquette assistant coach Brett Nelson is the new head coach at Holy Cross. A former McDonald’s All-American as a player at Florida in 2000, Nelson has been on coaching staffs at Ball State, Drake, Arkansas and Marshall. Nelson was associate head coach with the Golden Eagles since 2017.

HOWARD

OUT: Head coach Kevin Nickelberry resigned after nine years with the program. Howard made a CBI appearance in 2019 as Nickelberry was 96-194 during his tenure.

IDAHO STATE

OUT: The contract of head coach Bill Evans will not be renewed as he went 71-141, with a 46-83 mark in Big Sky games. Evans was the head coach for seven seasons, winning Big Sky Coach of the Year in 2016.

IN: Idaho State has hired Ryan Looney away from Point Loma, a Division II program in California that is coming off of a trip to the Division II national title game with the best player in the Division II ranks, Daunton Hommes, on his roster.

KENNESAW STATE

OUT: Veteran head coach Al Skinner announced his decision to step down after the 2018-19 season on Feb. 21 in an official announcement from the school. Skinner spent four seasons with the Owls, never finishing above fourth place in the Atlantic Sun. Kennesaw State bottomed out with a 6-26 mark this season as Skinner was 41-84 in four seasons at the school. Formerly head coach at Boston College and Rhode Island, Skinner once made seven NCAA tournament appearances in nine years with the Eagles, but he hasn’t coached a tournament team since 2009.

IN: It took a while to get it done, but Kennesaw State finally replaced Al Skinner by going out and hiring Amir Abdur-Rahim.

LIPSCOMB

OUT: Head coach Casey Alexander is going to Belmont — where he was a former assistant coach under Rick Byrd for 16 years. Alexander led the Bisons to an NIT runner-up finish, NCAA tournament appearance in 2018 and three straight 20-win seasons as replacing him will be difficult.

IN: Veteran Division II head coach Lennie Acuff is the choice for Lipscomb. With a career 554-325 record over stops at Alabama-Huntsville, Berry and Belhaven, Acuff has a winning track record throughout a long career. It’ll be intriguing to see how Acuff acclimates to the Division I level.

MARYLAND-EASTERN SHORE

OUT: UMES made the decision to move on from Clifford Reed.

IN: UMES hired Jason Crafton, who was on staff with the 76ers last season, as their head coach. He spent the previous six seasons as the head coach at Nyack College.

MERCER

OUT: Bob Hoffman is out as Mercer’s head coach after 11 years at the helm, according to a release from the school. Most famous for guiding the Bears to the Round of 32 with an upset win over Duke in 2013-14, Hoffman never figured things out once Mercer transitioned from the Atlantic Sun into the SoCon the following season. Mercer is taking a risk with this decision as Hoffman led the program to six postseason appearances in seven seasons before a bad 2018-19 campaign ended in an 11-19 record. Hoffman achieved a 209-164 overall record during his tenure with the program.

IN: Purdue assistant coach Greg Gary has been tabbed as the new head coach at Mercer. An assistant coach at the Division I level for 25 years, Gary has spent the past eight seasons with the Boilermakers after multiple stints at Duquesne and time with South Florida, Tulane and McNeese State.

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE

OUT: After a 6-26 seasons that saw the Delta Devils go 4-14 in the SWAC, MSVU opted to make a move on Andre Payne.

IN: Former NBA guard Lindsey Hunter was hired to take over MVSU.

MONTANA STATE

OUT: Brian Fish was at Montana State for five years but never finished better than sixth in the Big Sky despite the fact that he has had Tyler Hall on the roster for the last three years. That’s not good. The timing for this was awful, however — Fish lost his daughter last month.

IN: Cal State Fullerton assistant coach Danny Sprinkle is making the move to Montana State, where he played four seasons from 1995-1999. Sprinkle helped lead the Bobcats to the program’s last NCAA tournament appearance in 1996 as a freshman guard.

MORGAN STATE

OUT: Todd Bozeman is out at Morgan State after the program opted not to renew his contract. In 13 years with the Bears, Bozeman led the program to an NIT appearance and back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2009 and 2010. But Morgan State hasn’t achieved a winning season since 2012-13 as the program has fallen on tough times. Bozeman was 195-218 during his stint, and he’s the winningest coach in program history.

NIAGARA

OUT: The Purple Eagles announced their decision to move on from head coach Chris Casey in an official release. In six seasons at Niagara, Casey was only above .500 one time, finishing with a solid 19-14 record and CIT appearance in 2017-18. But the Purple Eagles reverted back to a 13-19 record this season as Casey finishes his tenure with a 64-129 record.

IN: After a couple of years of seeing his name pop up during the coaching carousel, John Beilein’s son, Pat Beilein, finally has a Division I coaching gig. He was hired by Niagara to replace Chris Casey.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY

OUT: Leaving for the Cincinnati head job is John Brannen. In four seasons leading the Norse, Brannen did an impressive job of taking the newly-minted Division I program to the postseason. Twice going to the NCAA tournament and also making an NIT appearance, Brannen started a strong foundation for the future.

IN: Darrin Horn is back in the head-coaching game after spending a few seasons as an assistant at Texas under Shaka Smart. Formerly head coach at Western Kentucky, and then South Carolina, Horn should be familiar with how recruiting works with the Norse since he’s already recruited the state of Kentucky when he was with the Hilltoppers.

OHIO

OUT: Saul Phillips is out at Ohio after five seasons in the MAC. Coming to the Bobcats after taking North Dakota State into the Round of 32, Phillips never found similar success with Ohio. The Bobcats had back-to-back 20-win seasons in Phillips’ second and third season, reaching the CBI in 2016, but Ohio has not improved in years after back-to-back 14-17 seasons. With Ohio sending recent head coaches onto the high-major ranks in John Groce (Illinois) and Jim Christian (Boston College), Phillips turned out to be a disappointing hire. Phillips finishes 81-77 at Ohio with an underwhelming 40-50 mark in MAC play.

IN: The Bobcats officially announced on Selection Sunday that they have hired Jeff Boals away from Stony Brook. Boals is a former team caption for Ohio, leading them to the 1994 NCAA tournament. He spent years as an assistant in the area, including an eight-year stretch at Ohio State, before taking over Stony Brook. This past season he led the Sea Wolves to a 24-8 record.

PRESBYTERIAN

OUT: Former head coach Dustin Kerns has moved on to Appalachian State after two seasons with the program. Kerns led a turnaround for the Blue Hose as they finished 2018-19 with a 20-16 mark and CIT appearance after an 11-21 first season.

IN: Presbyterian turned to a familiar face to lead the program. Former player Quinton Ferrell has been named the new head coach after spending five seasons as an assistant coach at College of Charleston. Ferrell led the Blue Hose to a Division II NCAA tournament appearance and two 20-win seasons as a player.

SAN FRANCISCO

OUT: Head coach Kyle Smith signed a six-year deal to become the new head coach at Washington State after three straight 20-win campaigns with the Dons. Smith helped San Francisco to back-to-back CBI appearances in his first two seasons as he was 63-40 with the school.

IN: Promoted to new head coach is associate head coach Todd Golden. A former Auburn assistant and player at Saint Mary’s, Golden takes over for his former boss, Kyle Smith. Golden should be familiar with the WCC from his days as a player and assistant as he’s a rising star in the coaching world.

SAINT JOSEPH’S

OUT: Saint Joseph’s made the decision to fire Phil Martelli after 24 seasons as the head coach. The Hawks have missed the last three NCAA tournaments, although the program was plagued by injuries during that stretch. It’s the end of an era in Hawk Hill, as Martelli had been with the program for 34 years.

IN: The Hawks announced that they have hired former 76ers assistant coach Billy Lange to take over for Phil Martelli.

SIENA

OUT: Jamion Christian left Siena after just one season, taking over at George Washington after Maurice Joseph was fired.

IN: The Saints made the sensible decision to replace Christian, promoting assistant coach Carmen Maciariello to head coach. He’s a local kid that graduated from Siena and spent the first year of his coaching career as the DBO at Siena.

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

OUT: Head coach T.J. Otzelberger is heading to UNLV as the Jackrabbits will need to find a new head coach. Otzelberger leaves South Dakota State after a 70-33 mark in three seasons that included two NCAA tournament appearances.

IN: The Jacks promoted from within, bumping Eric Henderson up to head coach. With Mike Daum and David Jenkins moving on, he is going to have a bit of a rebuilding job on his hands.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS

OUT: Following a quarterfinal exit from the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, head coach Barry Hinson announced in his postgame press conference that he was leaving his post at Southern Illinois. It hasn’t been made clear if Hinson is resigning, or being fired, as he said, “It is time for me to step away,” during an emotional press conference. In seven seasons at Southern Illinois, Hinson went 116-111 — twice winning 20 or more games in a season. But the Salukis never made the postseason as the once-proud Valley program has struggled to find its footing since six consecutive NCAA tournament appearances earlier this century. Hinson has also spent time at Oral Roberts and Missouri State as he’s fifth all-time in Missouri Valley Conference wins.

IN: Southern Illinois officially announced the hiring of Loyola associate head coach Bryan Mullins. A member of the SIU Hall of Fame as a four-year player from 2006-09, Mullins helped the Salukis to two NCAA tournament appearances — including the Sweet 16 in 2007 as the team’s point guard. The 32-year-old Mullins is an exciting hire for the Salukis as he’s received a lot of praise for his rise at Loyola. Mullins is also the program’s all-time leader in assists and steals as he’ll have local recruiting credibility that the program lacked a bit under Barry Hinson.

SOUTHERN MISS

OUT: Doc Sadler has resigned his position as head coach, the school announced in a release. Spending five seasons with the program, Sadler did an admirable job turning around a Golden Eagles program gutted by NCAA sanctions due to former coach Donnie Tyndall’s widespread academic fraud. Sadler’s teams at Southern Miss improved all five seasons, culminating in this season’s respectable 20-13 finish and CBI appearance.

IN: The Golden Eagles hired Jay Ladner, who had spent the past five seasons as the head coach at Southeastern Louisiana, to replace Sadler.

SIU-EDWARDSVILLE

OUT: The Cougars decided not to renew the contract of previous head coach Jon Harris, as they’ve officially named assistant coach Brian Barone as interim head coach. Harris was an underwhelming 31-88 in his four seasons at the helm. Barone has been an assistant with the program for two seasons as his interim tag is based on pending approval from the school’s Board of Trustees. Since transitioning into Division I in 2008-09, SIU-Edwardsville has never won more than 12 games in a season.

IN: Brian Barone, who has spent the last two years as an assistant with SIUE, was named the interim coach last week after Harris was fired.

STETSON

OUT: The Hatters opted to move on from head coach Corey Williams. Spending six years at Stetson, Williams never found his footing with the Atlantic Sun program, as the Hatters never finished above seventh in the league. Williams, a former standout at Oklahoma State, was previously an assistant at Florida State under head coach Leonard Hamilton as he finished with a 58-133 mark during his Stetson tenure.

IN: Donnie Jones is the new head coach at Stetson after spending the past few seasons as an assistant coach at Wichita State and Dayton. A former head coach at Marshall and UCF, Jones is 133-128 during his coaching career.

STONY BROOK

OUT: Jeff Boals has left Stony Brook to take over Ohio, where he is an alum and a former team captain. The Sea Wolves are coming off of a 24-8 season, after Steve Pikiell helped build that program into one of the better programs in the America East.

IN: The Seawolves replaced Boals by promoting assistant coach Geno Ford to the head coaching position. Ford has 10 years of head coaching experience, including seven at the Division I level with Kent State and Bradley.

TENNESSEE TECH

OUT: After 17 years with the program, head coach Steve Payne is stepping down. Spending eight years as the head coach, Payne guided the Golden Eagles to two postseason appearances (CIT and Vegas 16) during his tenure while achieving four winning seasons. Consistency eluded Payne, however, as Tennessee Tech never had back-to-back winning campaigns. Finishing 8-23 overall and 12th place in the Ohio Valley Conference this season, Payne leaves with a 118-134 career mark. Before becoming head coach, Payne also spent nine seasons with Tennessee Tech as an assistant coach.

IN: Former Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey is taking over at Tennessee Tech after recently spending time as an assistant coach at Alabama. Pelphrey also spent time as a head coach at South Alabama as he’s made two NCAA tournament appearances in nine seasons.

TROY

OUT: After six seasons, Troy has decided in a change-of-direction by letting go Phil Cunningham. The Trojans made one NCAA tournament appearance with Cunningham in charge during the 2016-17 season as they had a 22-win season and a surprising run in the Sun Belt conference tournament. But Cunningham never made a postseason appearance outside of that as he was 80-111 during his time in charge.

IN: Longtime UT Arlington head coach Scott Cross, who spent last season as an assistant at TCU, will reportedly be the next head coach at Troy. This is a terrific hire — it was a head-scratching decision when Cross was fired last year.

TULANE

OUT: The Mike Dunleavy experiment died on Saturday afternoon, as the former NBA head coach saw his tenure in New Orleans come to an end after a 4-27 season. The Green Wave did lose three starters to injury and saw two players leave the program last season and wind up in the NBA, but 4-27 is 4-27. It’s not a great job in a league where it will be hard for them to get into the top half of the conference.

IN: Tulane made a really nice hire by going out and getting Ron Hunter from Georgia State. Hunter reached three NCAA tournaments in five seasons with the Panthers and has proven to be able to get players, particularly transfers from larger programs looking for a fresh start.

UMKC

OUT: Kareem Richardson’s tenure with the Kangaroos has come to a close. He spent six seasons at the school, but after an 11-21 season came to an end in the WAC quarterfinals, the program opted to make a change. He is the only coach that has taken UMKC to the postseason.

IN: Billy Donlon, who is the former head coach at Wright State, was named UMKC’s head coach. He has also spent time on staff at Northwestern and Michigan.

UTAH VALLEY STATE

OUT: Mark Pope is heading to BYU after leading the Wolverines to some solid success. With three straight CBI appearances and back-to-back 20-win seasons, Pope is going to be very tough to replace for Utah Valley State.

IN: Mark Madsen, a former Stanford player and longtime part of the Los Angeles Lakers organization — as a player and as a member of the coaching staff — was hired to replace Pope.

WILLIAM & MARY

OUT: The Tribe announced a move to replace 16-year head coach Tony Shaver. Compiling a 226-268 record during his tenure, Shaver made two trips to the NIT with William & Mary while also advancing to the CAA Tournament finals four times. Finishing 14-17 this past season, William & Mary made that last NIT appearance in 2015.

IN: William & Mary announced the hiring of George Mason assistant coach Dane Fischer as the program’s new head coach. Fischer has also spent time as an assistant at Rider and Bucknell as he’s known for his recruiting prowess and emerging respect as a rising coach to watch.

WOFFORD

OUT: Virginia Tech made a quick move in hiring Mike Young away from the Terriers. Spending 17 seasons as head coach at Wofford, Young made five NCAA tournament appearances in the past decade — including a Round of 32 appearance this season.

IN: Wofford announced on Sunday that they were promoting associate head coach Jay McAuley to head coach. McAuley had spent four years as an assistant on Mike Young’s staff at Wofford in two different two-year stints.

College Basketball 2019-2020 Preseason Top 25

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There is so much that is going to happen between now and the time that next season starts that it almost seems foolish to publish a preseason top 25 today.

But we’re doing it anyway!

A couple of notes: Who is going to head to the NBA is very much in the air right now. There are still a number of freshmen that have yet to announce where they are playing their college ball. The transfer market has barely heated up. For decisions that are up in the air, you’ll see an asterisk next to their name. We’re making predictions on what certain players will do and ranking based off of them. 

So with all that said, here is the preseason top 25.

1. MICHIGAN STATE

  • WHO’S GONE: Matt McQuaid, Kenny Goins, Nick Ward
  • WHO’S BACK: Cassius Winston, Xavier Tillman, Joshua Langford, Aaron Henry, Kyle Ahrens, Gabe Brown, Foster Loyer, Marcus Bingham, Thomas Kithier
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Rocket Watts, Malik Hall, Julius Marble
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford, Kyle Ahrens, Aaron Henry, Xavier Tillman

2. KENTUCKY

  • WHO’S GONE: P.J. Washington, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, Reid Travis
  • WHO’S BACK: E.J. Montgomery, Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickly, Nick Richards
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Kahlil Whitney, Tyrese Maxey, Keion Brooks, Johnny Juzang, Dontaie Allen, Nate Sestina
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans, Kahlil Whitney, Keion Brooks, E.J. Montgomery

3. DUKE

  • WHO’S GONE: Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Marques Bolden
  • WHO’S BACK: Tre Jones, Alex O’Connell, Jack White, Javin DeLaurier, Jordan Goldwire, Joey Baker
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Vernon Carey, Wendell Moore, Matthew Hurt, Cassius Stanley
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Tre Jones, Alex O’Connell, Wendell Moore, Matthew Hurt, Vernon Carey

4. KANSAS

  • WHO’S GONE: Lagerald Vick, Dedric Lawson, Quintin Grimes, K.J. Lawson, Charlie Moore
  • WHO’S BACK: Devon Dotson, Ochai Agbaji, Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett, Silvio De Sousa, Mitch Lightfoot, David McCormack
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Isaiah Moss, Jalen Wilson, Tristan Enaruna, Isaac McBride, Christian Braun
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Devon Dotson, Isaiah Moss, Ochai Agbaji, Silvio De Sousa, Udoka Azubuike

5. VILLANOVA

  • WHO’S GONE: Eric Paschall, Phil Booth, Jahvon Quinerly
  • WHO’S BACK: Jermaine Samuels, Cole Swider, Saddiq Bey, Collin Gillespie, Dhamir Cosby-Rountree, Brandon Slater
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Bryan Antoine, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Justin Moore, Eric Dixon
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Collin Gillespie, Bryan Antoine, Saddiq Bey, Jermaine Samuels, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

6. LOUISVILLE

  • WHO’S GONE: Christen Cunningham, Khwan Fore, Akoy Agau
  • WHO’S BACK: Jordan Nwora, Dwayne Sutton, Ryan McMahon, Steve Enoch, Malik Williams, Darius Perry
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Samuell Williamson, Jaelyn Withers, Josh Nickelberry, Fresh Kimble, David Johnson, Aidan Igiehom, Quinn Slazinski
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Fresh Kimble, Samuell Williamson, Dwayne Sutton, Jordan Nwora, Malik Williams

7. MARYLAND

  • WHO’S GONE: Bruno Fernando
  • WHO’S BACK: Anthony Cowan, Jalen Smith, Serrel Smith Jr., Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins, Ricky Lindo, Darryl Morsell
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Chol Marial, Makhi Mitchell, Makhel Mitchell, Donta Scott
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Anthony Cowan, Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins, Ricky Lindo, Jalen Smith

8. VIRGINIA

  • WHO’S GONE: De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, Jack Salt
  • WHO’S BACK: Braxton Key, Mamadi Diakite, Jay Huff, Kihei Clark
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Casey Morsell, Tomas Woldetensae, Kadin Shedrick, Justin McKoy
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Kihei Clark, Casey Morsell, Braxton Key, Mamadi Diakite, Jay Huff

9. TEXAS TECH

  • WHO’S GONE: Jarrett Culver, Matt Mooney, Tariq Owens, Brandone Francis, Norense Odiase, Khavon Moore
  • WHO’S BACK: Chris Beard, Davide Moretti, Kyler Edwards, Deshawn Corprew, Andrei Savrasov
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Jahmius Ramsey, Chris Clarke, T.J. Holyfield, Kevin McCullar, Russel Tchewa, Terrence Shannon
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Jahmius Ramsey, Davide Moretti, Deshawn Corprew, T.J. Holyfield, Chris Clarke

10. FLORIDA

  • WHO’S GONE: KeVaughn Allen, Jalen Hudson, Kevarrius Hayes, Keith Stone, DeAundre Ballard
  • WHO’S BACK: Noah Locke, Andrew Nembhard, Keyontae Johnson, Dontay Bassett, Isaiah Stokes
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Kerry Blackshear Jr., Scottie Lewis, Tre Mann, Omar Payne, Jason Jitoboh
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Andrew Nembhard, Noah Locke, Scottie Lewis, Keyontae Johnson, Kerry Blackshear Jr.

11. GONZAGA

  • WHO’S GONE: Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke, Josh Perkins, Zach Norvell, Geno Crandall, Jeremy Jones
  • WHO’S BACK: Killian Tillie, Filip Petrusev, Corey Kispert
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Admon Gilder, Drew Timme, Oumar Ballo, Ryan Woolridge, Brock Ravet, Anton Watson, Martynas Arlauskas, Pavel Zahkarov
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Ryan Woolridge, Admon Gilder, Corey Kispert, Killian Tillie, Filip Petrusev

12. SETON HALL

  • WHO’S GONE: Michael Nzei
  • WHO’S BACK: Myles Powell, Myles Cale, Quincy McKnight, Sandro Mamukelashvili, Ikey Obiagu
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Tyrese Samuel
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Quincy McKnight, Myles Powell, Myles Cale, Sandro Mamukelashvili, Ikey Obiagu

13. NORTH CAROLINA

  • WHO’S GONE: Coby White, Nassir Little, Luke Maye, Cam Johnson, Kenny Williams, Seventh Woods
  • WHO’S BACK: Leaky Black, Garrison Brooks, Brandon Robinson
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Cole Anthony, Armando Bacot, Jeremiah Francis, Anthony Harris, Christian Keeling, Justin Pierce
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Cole Anthony, Leaky Black, Brandon Robinson, Armando Bacot, Garrison Brooks

14. ARIZONA

  • WHO’S GONE: Justin Coleman, Ryan Luther, Brandon Randolph
  • WHO’S BACK: Dylan Smith, Chase Jeter, Brandon Williams, Alex Barcello, Ira Lee
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Nico Mannion, Josh Green, Max Hazzard, Terry Armstrong, Christian Koloko, Zeke Nnaji, Stone Gettings
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Max Hazzard, Nico Mannion, Josh Green, Ira Lee, Chase Jeter

15. UTAH STATE

  • WHO’S GONE: Quinn Taylor
  • WHO’S BACK: Sam Merrill, Neemias Queta, Diogo Brito, Brock Miller, Abel Porter
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Alphonso Anderson, Liam McChesney, Sean Bairstow
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Diogo Brito, Abel Porter, Sam Merrill, Brock Miller, Neemias Queta

16. SAINT MARY’S

  • WHO’S GONE: Jordan Hunter
  • WHO’S BACK: Jordan Ford, Malik Fitts, Tommy Kuhse, Tanner Krebs, Dan Fotu, Jock Perry
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Alex Ducas, Kyle Bowen
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Jordan Ford, Tommy Kuhse, Tanner Krebs, Malik Fitts, Jock Perry

17. XAVIER

  • WHO’S GONE: Ryan Welage, Zach Hankins, Kyle Castlin, Elias Harden
  • WHO’S BACK: Quentin Goodin, Naji Marshall, Paul Scruggs, Tyrique Jones
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Kyky Tandy, Dahmir Bishop, Zach Freemantle, Jason Carter, Daniel Ramsey, Dieonte Miles
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Quentin Goodin, Paul Scruggs, Naji Marshall, Jason Carter, Tyrique Jones

18. LSU

  • WHO’S GONE: Tremont Waters, Naz Reid, Kavell-Bigby Williams
  • WHO’S BACK: Javonte Smart, Skylar Mays, Emmitt Williams, Marlon Taylor, Darius Days
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Trendon Watford, James Bishop
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Javonte Smart, Skylar Mays, Marlon Taylor, Trendon Watford, Emmitt Williams

19. BAYLOR

  • WHO’S GONE: King McClure, Makai Mason, Jake Lindsey
  • WHO’S BACK: Tristan Clark, Mario Kegler, Jared Butler, Devonte Bandoo, Mark Vital, Freddie Gillespie, Matthew Mayer
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Jordan Turner, MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler, Mark Vital, Mario Kegler, Tristan Clark

20. MEMPHIS

  • WHO’S GONE: Jeremiah Martin, Kyvon Davenport, Mike Parks Jr., Raynere Thornton, Kareem Brewton, Antwann Jones Jr.
  • WHO’S BACK: Tyler Harris, Alex Lomax, Isaiah Maurice
  • WHO’S COMING IN: James Wiseman, D.J. Jeffries, Lester Quinones, Malcolm Dandridge, Damian Baugh, Lance Thomas, Precious Achiuwa, Boogie Ellis
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Tyler Harris, Boogie Ellis, D.J. Jeffries, Precious Achiuwa, James Wiseman

21. AUBURN

  • WHO’S GONE: Jared Harper, Bryce Brown, Malik Dunbar, Horace Spencer, Chuma Okeke
  • WHO’S BACK: Samir Doughty, J’Von McCormick, Danjel Purifoy, Anfernee McLemore, Austin Wiley
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Isaac Okoro, Tyrell Jones, Jaylin Williams, Babatunde Akingbola, Allen Flanigan, Jamal Johnson
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: J’Von McCormick, Samir Doughty, Danjel Purifoy, Isaac Okoro, Anfernee McLemore

22. TENNESSEE

  • WHO’S GONE: Admiral Schofield, Kyle Alexander, Jordan Bone, Grant Williams
  • WHO’S BACK: Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bowden, Yves Pons, Derrick Walker Jr., John Fulkerson, D.J. Burns, Jalen Johnson
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Josiah James, Drew Pember, Olivier Nkamoua, Davonte Gaines
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bowden, Josiah James, Yves Pons, John Fulkerson

23. CREIGHTON

  • WHO’S GONE: Sam Froling, Kaleb Joseph, Connor Cashaw
  • WHO’S BACK: Davion Mintz, Ty-Shon Alexander, Mitchell Ballock, Jacob Epperson, Damien Jefferson, Marcus Zegarowski
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Shereef Mitchell
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Davion Mintz, Marcus Zegarowski, Ty-Shon Alexander, Mitchell Ballock, Jacob Epperson

24. VCU

  • WHO’S GONE: Michael Gilmore
  • WHO’S BACK: Marcus Evans, Isaac Vann, Deriante Jenkins, Marcus Santos-Silva, Vince Williams, Mike’L Simms, P.J. Byrd, Malik Crawford
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Jarren McAlister
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Marcus Evans, Isaac Vann, Vince Williams, Deriante Jenkins, Marcus Santos-Silva

t25. OHIO STATE

  • WHO’S GONE: C.J. Jackson, Keyshawn Woods
  • WHO’S BACK: Kaleb Wesson, Andre Wesson, Luther Muhammad, Duane Washington, Kyle Young, Justin Aherns, Musa Jallow, Jaedon LeDee
  • WHO’S COMING IN: D.J. Carton, Alonzo Gaffney, EJ Liddel, Ibrahima Diallo, CJ Walker
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: C.J. Walker, Duane Washington Jr., Luther Muhammad, Andre Wesson, Kaleb Wesson

t25. DAVIDSON

  • WHO’S GONE: Nathan Ekwu, Dusan Kovacevic
  • WHO’S BACK: Kellan Grady, Jon Axel Gudmundson, Luka Brajkovic, Luke Frampton, Kishawn Pritchett, Carter Collins, David Czerapowicz, Bates Jones
  • WHO’S COMING IN: Hyunjung Lee, David Kristensen
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Kellan Grady, Jon Axel Gudmundson, Luke Frampton, Kishawn Pritchett, Luka Brajkovic

Preseason All-American Teams

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With the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA draft and return to school having come and gone, we can now have a full sense of what the 2019-20 season will look like.

A number of would-be All-American candidates ended up keeping their names in the draft despite the fact that they may not end up getting drafted, but there is still a solid crop of upperclassmen to pair with some talented newcomers that will give us a pretty strong contingent of All-Americans.

So without further ado, here is a first look at what those All-American teams could end up looking like.

(Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

PRESEASON FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICANS

CASSIUS WINSTON, Michigan State: Winston, for my money, will enter this season this season as the Preseason National Player of the Year. He is the lone First-Team All-American returning from last season, and he will be playing for the consensus No. 1 team in the country. It may be hard for him to improve on the 18.8 points and 7.5 assists that he averaged last year, but that is largely because he should have more help this year with Josh Langford healthy and Aaron Henry on the verge of a breakout year.

MARKUS HOWARD, Marquette: Markus Howard averaged 25 points and 3.9 assists last season, and that was when he was playing on a team that still had both of the Hauser brothers on it. This year, they are gone, meaning that there is a real chance that he ends up averaging upwards of 30 points this year. I don’t know how many wins that will lead Marquette to, but it is enough to get him some hype in the preseason.

MYLES POWELL, Seton Hall: Powell is Howard-lite. He’s not quite as consistent or efficient, but he is just as dangerous when he gets into a rhythm. As a junior, Powell averaged 23.1 points, and I would expect him to be just as dangerous as a senior on a team that returns everyone from last season. Hopefully, we’ll have at least one duel between Seton Hall and Marquette that turns into a shootout between Howard and Powell.

JORDAN NWORA, Louisville: The Cardinals got Nwora back for his junior season after he spent this past year proving himself as one of the most improved players in college hoops. He averaged 17 points and 7.6 boards while shooting 37.4 percent from three, and he should see an uptick in his efficiency this year with Louisville’s talented freshman class providing him with some more help.

JAMES WISEMAN, Memphis: Wiseman, to me, has the best chance to end up being a First-Team All-American. The way he plays should fit in well with the style that the Tigers play under Penny, and he is the consensus top player in this recruiting class and projected as the first pick in the 2020 NBA Draft playing on a team that many believe will be a top ten team.

Cole Anthony, Jon Lopez/Nike

PRESEASON SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICANS

COLE ANTHONY, North Carolina: If Wiseman doesn’t end up being the best freshman this season, I think Anthony will. At the very least, he has a chance to put up the most impressive numbers. Think about what Coby White did for North Carolina last year, and Anthony is not only a better fit for North Carolina than White was, he is also probably a better player.

DEVON DOTSON, Kansas: Dotson really came on strong down the stretch of last season and should be the sparkplug that keeps Kansas in the mix for the Big 12 title this year. Think about this: Both Quentin Grimes and R.J. Hampton are playing some where other than Kansas this season at least in part because Dotson will handle the lead guard duties.

KERRY BLACKSHEAR JR., TBD: It is a bit difficult to truly rate Blackshear since we don’t know where he is going to be yet, but I think there is an argument to be made that he will be the best frontcourt player in college basketball next season. The fifth-year senior was terrific playing in Virginia Tech’s system a year ago, and will be an anchor no matter where he ends up this year.

MAMADI DIAKITE, Virginia: I’m fine being out on an island on this one, but I think that Diakite is the guy on Virginia’s roster that benefits the most from all the talent they lost this offseason. We already know how good he is defensively, but he has a burgeoning perimeter stroke and proved during run to the national title that he was better offensively that some believed. There is plenty of space left on the bandwagon when you’re ready to join me.

ISAIAH STEWART, Washington: There’s a real chance that Stewart ends up being the most productive of the elite freshmen in this class. He has a terrific motor and is an absolute monster around the rim, checking in as the best rebounder in this class. He’ll soak up Noah Dickerson’s touches offensively and anchor the Syracuse zone defensively.

Sam Merrill (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP)

PRESEASON THIRD TEAM ALL-AMERICANS

TRE JONES, Duke: He may end up being the best defender in college basketball next year, and I think that his leadership will be vital for a Duke team that is going to be very young again. If he doesn’t improve his perimeter jumper, however, ranking him here will look silly come March.

ANTHONY COWAN JR., Maryland: Cowan had something of a disappointing junior season, as his efficiency went down. I’m looking at him to bounceback this season and prove himself one of the best point guards in college hoops. I can see him averaging 17 points and six assists for a team that I currently have in the top five nationally, but I can also see a situation where he ends up being the piece that holds Maryland back.

TYRESE MAXEY, Kentucky: Once again, it is tough to figure out who, exactly, will be Kentucky’s All-American candidate next season, so we’re going with Maxey because he seems to be the guy that projects as the leading scorer right now.

JARRON CUMBERLAND, Cincinnati: Cumberland quietly was awesome this past season, averaging 18.8 points and 3.6 assists while shooting 38.8 percent from three to help keep Cincinnati relevant after they lost so many critical pieces the season before. How will he adjust to John Brannen taking over for Mick Cronin?

SAM MERRILL, Utah State: Merrill has a case as the best player in college basketball outside of the top seven leagues. He’s coming off of a season where he led the Aggies to the Mountain West crown and a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament while averaging 20.9 points and 4.2 assists. USU will enter this season as a preseason top 25 team.

ALSO CONSIDERED

  • UDOKA AZUBUIKE, Kansas
  • YOELI CHILDS, BYU
  • TRISTAN CLARK, Baylor
  • AYO DOSUNMU, Illinois
  • ANTHONY EDWARDS, Georgia
  • JORDAN FORD, Saint Mary’s
  • JON AXEL GUDMUNDSSON, Davidson
  • KIRA LEWIS, Alabama
  • NAJI MARSHALL, Xavier
  • SKYLAR MAYS, LSU
  • ANDREW NEMBHARD, Florida
  • JALEN PICKETT, Siena
  • PAYTON PRITCHARD, Oregon
  • JAVONTE SMART, LSU
  • JALEN SMITH, Maryland
  • KILLIAN TILLIE, Gonzaga
  • KALEB WESSON, Ohio State

Juwan Howard adds former St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli to Michigan staff

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It’s the line that gets dropped and repeated time and again when a coach with minimal experience or a lack of regional ties gets a head coaching gig.

“The staff will be so important.”

It’s cliched at this point, but it’s also true. A head coach sometimes is only as good as the three people he hires to be his assistants. The three people that will recruit the players to the program and help guide the day-to-day as much – if not more – than anyone. It gets repeated because it’s true. A coach fortifying his program with smart and pragmatic hires is paramount.

Juwan Howard appears to have just done exactly that at Michigan.

The newly-appointed Wolverines coach is adding former St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli to his staff, giving the first-time head coach who has never spent time on a bench at the collegiate level the benefit of an experienced, veteran head coach of over 20 years who has been a National Coach of the Year while winning and recruiting big at a mid-major program.

It is, to use another cliche, a home run hire.

Martelli, who was awkwardly fired from St. Joe’s after 24 years this spring, knows the college game as well as maybe anyone in the country. Whether it’s advice on recruiting, practice plans, games strategy, booster relations or working with an administration and compliance, Martelli is going to be able to give Howard an informed opinion on nearly any question that gets posed. Martelli has the precise profile of a former head coach that Howard was looking to add.

Sure, Martelli may not be a powerhouse on the recruiting trail for Michigan, but Howard’s NBA ties, as well as those of his other reported hire of Howard Eisley, and the college know-how and continuity of Saddi Washington, who is expected to be retained from John Beilein’s staff, the Wolverines should be pretty well set on the trail. Getting players is always the first step, but helping them win is the next – and often helps with the first. Martelli can be of serious service there, especially for Howard, who has experience as an assistant with the Miami Heat but whose last college experience came as a player 25 years ago.

One of the best signs that someone has the chops to make it in coaching – and maybe in any industry – is when they know what they don’t know. Howard’s hiring of Martelli suggests he’s  aware of the shortcomings on his resume, and immediately sought to buttress those weaknesses with someone who has serious, high-level experience. There’s a long way to go before we can even begin to judge the Howard era in Ann Arbor, but the first steps seem to be on the right path.

Recapping The Coaching Carousel: Who were the biggest winners and biggest losers?

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The 2019 college basketball coaching carousel has not quite finished spinning — of this writing, there are two jobs that are still open: Howard and Morgan State — but barring something unforeseen, all of the relevant coaching changes have been made.

That means it is time for us to sit back and figure out who won, who lost and who was left out of this year’s carousel.

And more than anything, the most interesting part of the coaching changes that were made this season had to do with who was not involved instead of the guys that got new gigs.

WINNER: COACHES IN THE FBI’S CROSSHAIRS

To date, the only head coach that has lost his job as a result of the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball has been Rick Pitino, and I think there is an argument to be made that Pitino would have kept his job had he not found himself in a second embarrassing scandal in the span of less than two years. Put another way, he was fired as much for having an assistant coach pay for hookers and strippers for players and recruits as he was for Brian Bowen getting paid.

It looks like the rest of the head coaches that were caught up in this mess are going to survive. Bruce Pearl got an extension last season, before he led Auburn to the 2019 Final Four. USC’s Andy Enfield has a ton of talent on his roster this season, and after missing the NCAA tournament last year, the Trojans look like they are in the mix to be a top 25 team again this season. Arizona’s Sean Miller had a rough 2018-19 season, but he’s bringing in one of the best recruiting classes in the country this year and looks like he’ll head into next season as a favorite to win the Pac-12 again. Like LSU’s Will Wade, Miller dodged a bullet as a judge ruled that he will not have to testify in the current trial happening in New York. Bill Self may have seen his Big 12 title streak come to an end as a result of this investigation, but if Kansas gets Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes back next season, they will enter 2019-20 as the favorites to start a new streak.

It’s not over yet, but at this point, it looks like all of those coaches are going to live to fight another day.

(Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

LOSER: DIVERSITY

To date, there are 53 Division I head coaching positions that have opened up this spring, and of those 53, 51 of those jobs have been filled. Of those 53 jobs that opened up, 17 of them had a black head coach leave, either after getting fired or jumping to a better job. Take away the four HBCU programs that opened, and just three of the 13 programs that previously had a black head coach replaced them with another black head coach — George Washington, Georgia State and Kennesaw State.

All five high-major programs that fired a black head coach — Arkansas, Alabama, Cal, UNLV and Washington State — replaced them with a white head coach.

Compare that with the white head coaches that left their jobs. There were 36 of them, and 30 of those 36 programs replaced the previous white head coach with another white head coach, including seven of the 11 high-majors. St. John’s, Tulane, Temple and Vanderbilt were the only high-majors that fired a white head coach and replaced him with a black head coach.

In total, just eight of the 65 head coaches in Power Five leagues (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) are black. Every head coach in the Big Ten and the Pac-12 is white. That’s just 12.3 percent, significantly behind football, where 12 of the 65 Power Five head coaches are black.

Both the Big East and the American have embraced diversity, as half of the schools in both leagues have black head coaches, but even then, just 21.8 percent of the head coaches in the seven leagues that we can call high-major are black.

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I feel pretty comfortable saying that percentage is significantly lower than the number of current and former high-major players that are black.

And don’t, for a second, think that the people discussing those numbers aren’t also discussing how the four assistant coaches that were fired as a result of the FBI’s investigation into college hoops corruption are all black and the five head coaches that have remained employed with their seven-figure salaries are all white.

WINNER: COACHES ON THE HOT SEAT

Pat Chambers has been the head coach at Penn State since 2011. He has not yet made an NCAA tournament, but he wasn’t fired this offseason thanks to an impressive surge at the end of the season from the Nittany Lions. Dave Leitao finished tied for last in the Big East again this season, but since DePaul finished with a winning record, he was brought back for a fifth season. Jim Christian missed his fifth straight tournament with Boston College and will now be asked to win without Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson, because he will be back on Chestnut Hill for a sixth year. Chris Mooney survived at Richmond. So did Josh Pastner, who has struggled at Georgia Tech and currently is dealing with an NCAA investigation into his program.

But perhaps the biggest name here is Danny Manning. He’s made one NCAA tournament in five seasons at Wake Forest, and has yet to finish above .500 in ACC play in a single season. In four of the five years he’s been in Winston Salem, the Demon Deacons have won five or fewer league games. He’s had talent on his roster, too — John Collins, Bryan Crawford, Devin Thomas, Codi Miller-McIntyre, Jaylen Hoard, Chaundree Brown.

Some guys on the hot seat lost their job — Steve Alford, Ernie Kent, Tim Miles, Chris Mullin, etc. — but it wasn’t the bloodbath some expected it to be.

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

LOSER: HIRES THAT MAKE GEOGRAPHICAL SENSE

Nate Oats grew up in Watertown, Wisconsin. He played at a Division III program in Wisconsin, then spent the first 22 years of his coaching career in and around the great lakes. Six seasons at the Division III level in Wisconsin, 11 years at the high school level in Detroit, six years at the Division I level at Buffalo. He was just hired to takeover Alabama from Avery Johnson. That is a weird, weird fit. I have little doubt that Oats will be able to do well with the players currently on the Alabama roster, but I do not know how he is going to be able to recruit. One source connected to high school recruiting in the south told NBC Sports he can’t know how Oats will do at that level “because I don’t know him. I’ve never even shaken his hand.”

The same can be said for Mike Anderson at St. John’s. Anderson has spent the last 37 years coaching in Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri, and now he’s heading up New York City to rebuild the Johnnies? That, too, is a weird fit.

(That said, I’ve come around a bit on this hire after talking to a couple of smart people. He’s going to need to make a hire that can get him on the right side of the power brokers in NYC, but I think the ’40 Minutes Of Hell’ brand might be able to work for St. John’s in the Big East. New York doesn’t have the greats that it has had in the past, but there is talent to be found and, an abundance of toughness and athleticism everywhere you look. I don’t know if that is a style that can win the league or get to a Final Four, but I do think it could be good enough to make the Johnnies relevant on an annual basis, and that’s not something that we have said in a long time.)

Perhaps the biggest example of this is Mick Cronin. A Cincinnati native that has spent his career coaching in Ohio and Kentucky, Cronin is heading out west to take over California’s flagship program, UCLA. Not only is it a weird fit geographically, but stylistically, too. Cronin is a screamer, he’s intense and he built a consistent winner with the Bearcats based on defending and rebounding. He’s like Ben Howland, only smaller and angrier. Howland did make three Final Fours, but he angered enough people in SoCal to get himself fired after winning a Pac-12 regular season title.

We’ll see if it works out better from Cronin.

WINNER: THE STATE OF TEXAS

Let’s start with the obvious: The best hire of this year’s carousel was the one that was probably the longest in the making — Texas A&M bringing in former assistant Buzz Williams to take things over. Buzz is a Texas native that had built Marquette and Virginia Tech into top 10 teams before heading to College Station, and I fully expect him to find a way to do the same thing with the Aggies.

That said, the biggest winner in this year’s carousel was probably Houston, who held off Arkansas and kept Kelvin Sampson as their head coach. Sampson has led the Cougars to back-to-back NCAA tournaments, and they came within a possession of knocking off Kentucky and advancing to the Elite Eight this season despite the fact that they lost Rob Gray. He’s a terrific basketball coach, one that will keep Houston at or near the top of the AAC as long as he is on the sidelines. The same can be said for Chris Beard, who will be returning to Texas Tech, where he led the Red Raiders to the Big 12 regular season title and the Final Four, next season.

Also worth mentioning: Jamie Dixon and UCLA couldn’t work their way around his buyout, so he is still at TCU. And not that he was going anywhere, but Scott Drew is still at Baylor.

The level of coaching in the collegiate ranks in the state of Texas has never been higher …

LOSER: THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

… and that’s not necessarily a good thing for Shaka Smart, who has yet to find the level of success at Texas that he had at VCU. That was weighing on the minds of many within the coaching industry this year, as there was plenty of speculation that Shaka would try and find a way out of Texas before Texas sent him packing. And the heat isn’t going to get turned down at all any time soon, not with the competition that he has in his own state these days.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

SIX MORE WINNERS

NEBRASKA: Nebraska fired Tim Miles after what felt like half-a-decade on the hot seat, replacing him with Fred Hoiberg. Miles was a good coach that had some bad luck in his final two seasons, but I’m not sure there is a better fit for Nebraska that Hoiberg. The job isn’t all that different from Iowa State — same part of the country, same passionate fanbase, same homecourt advantage — which is where The Mayor had a ton of success before jumping to the NBA.

MIKE YOUNG: Young has been a basketball coach for 33 years of his life, and 30 of them were spent at Wofford. This past season, as the Terriers head coach, Young led his team to the best season in program history before replacing Buzz Williams at Virginia Tech. He’s the first coach since 2003 to go from the SoCon to a power five program, and it’s a job in the heart of Southern Virginia, where Young’s roots lie.

CINCINNATI: Losing Mick Cronin is a tough blow for the Bearcats. He led them to nine straight NCAA tournaments, and that is nothing to scoff at. He’s a really good basketball coach and was a perfect fit for that program. But Brannen is a solid replacement, a guy that led Northern Kentucky — a recent addition to Division I — to two NCAA tournaments in the last three years. He has roots in Kentucky and Ohio as well. He’ll do well there.

WASHINGTON STATE: Kyle Smith is the first coach since Jan Van Breda Kolff in 2001 to leave the WCC for a better job in a bigger league, as he left San Francisco for Washington State. Before that, he led Columbia to the best season they’ve had in the KenPom era. He’s won at tough jobs, and Wazzu might just be the toughest high major job in college basketball.

THE SEC: Buzz Williams taking over Texas A&M is the obvious big name here, but Rick Barnes remaining at Tennessee because UCLA wouldn’t pay his buyout is huge for the Vols. Eric Musselman replacing Mike Anderson is probably an upgrade, and while Nate Oats in Alabama is a weird fit, he should be able to, at the very least, get the job done with the group currently on the roster. LSU and Auburn look like they won’t have to fire Will Wade and Bruce Pearl, at least not yet, and while Jerry Stackhouse is an outside-the-box hire at Vanderbilt, he’s replacing a guy that didn’t win a league game last season.

GEORGE WASHINGTON: The Colonials went out and made a really nice hire to replace Maurice Joseph, hiring Jamion Christian away from Siena. Christian is one of the brighter young coaches in college hoops, having taken Mount St. Mary’s to two NCAA tournaments in five seasons before getting the job at Siena.

TWO LOW-KEY HEAD-SCRATCHING HIRES

SOUTHERN MISS: Doc Sadler spent five seasons at Southern Miss, winning 20 games this part year and just about erasing the memory of the NCAA sanctions that were left over from Donnie Tyndall’s tenure. Then Sadler left to become an assistant at Nebraska, a school that fired him, and instead of hiring Mark Adams — the man responsible for Texas Tech’s defense and a legend in the Texas JuCo ranks — Southern Miss hired Jay Ladner, a guy that went 17-16 at Southeastern Louisiana last year.

NEVADA: Nevada’s decision to replace Eric Mussleman with Steve Alford isn’t a terrible hire by any means. Alford had quite a bit of success as the head coach at New Mexico before taking over at UCLA. The head-scratching part is the fact that he got a 10-year deal from Nevada.