Is anyone really surprised?
After dealing with an academic scandal last season in which the SMU program was unable to participate in the postseason, Larry Brown opted to resign from his position as head coach of the Mustangs.
Brown’s decision to step down comes at the worst possible time for SMU, as the NCAA world is in the midst of the first live recruiting period of July, and Dallas is dealing with an unfortunate tragedy.
Tim Jankovich, who was hired as the head coach in waiting, will now step in for Brown as the head man after previous stints with Illinois State and North Texas. Jankovich took over for Brown when the Hall of Famer was suspended for nine games last year in relation to last year’s NCAA sanctions. Jankovich and the Mustangs won all nine games.
Brown brought the SMU program from the bottom of the barrel to a perennial contender for conference titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. He took the Mustangs to the Big Dance in one of his four seasons on the job, led them to an NIT Final in 2013-14, and he had an overall record of 94-39 at the school.
But the Mustangs could’ve had a lot more success than they are currently given credit for.
Unfortunately, it was Brown that held them back.
SMU staff members completed academic assignments for former five-star recruit Keith Frazier, resulting in the NCAA scandal that limited a 25-5 team from competing in both the AAC Tournament and the Big Dance.
And that’s not the first time that Brown has had issues with the NCAA.
When he coached at UCLA, the program was given a postseason ban and probation for using ineligible players. At Kansas, the program was banned from the postseason following an NCAA Championship – Brown dashed to the San Antonio Spurs following the title.
Brown has a reputation for leaving teams before he gets too comfortable. He has coached at SMU, Kansas, Davidson (offseason only!) and UCLA at the college level, while he also coached the Carolina Cougars (ABA), Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats.
He is the only coach to win both an NCAA title and an NBA Championship, and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2002.
And he might not be done in the coaching profession.
Just talked to Jay Wright about Larry Brown. They are close. Wright still feels as though LB isn't done coaching.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) July 8, 2016
Brown wanted a five-year extension at age 75. SMU only wanted to give him a maximum of 2-to-3 years.
Now it’s time for both of them to move on.
Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.
Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.
“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”
Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.
Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.
“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”
“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”
Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.
I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”
“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”
The Madness is Underway
As we inch closer to selection Sunday, many conference tournaments are underway finding teams who will automatically make the NCAA Men’s basketball. Here are the teams that currently in the tournament:
Atlantic Sun: Liberty
Big South: Gardner–Webb
Horizon: Northern Kentucky
Missouri Valley: Bradley
MEC: Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Summit League: North Dakota State
Summit League: Saint Marry’s
Out of the 32 conferences with automatic bids in the tournament, 12 of them have been clinched. All the until selection Sunday the remaining 20 conferences will have their tickets punched. Who will that be? Stay tuned!
Tennessee Basketball Ranked 4th In (Early) Preseason Top 25
A school built on football lure now has a thriving basketball team to get behind. In a early CBS basketball poll, the Volunteer squad is ranked 4th in the preseason. This should bring relief to a fan base whose struggled with a lackluster football team in recent years.
Under Coach Rick Barnes (SEC Coach of the year 2017) the Vols went 26-9 last year, won a share of the regular season SEC title and reached the final of the SEC tournament. Tennessee should return most of their pivotal pieces for the 2018-19 season.
Admiral Schofield (2017-2018 ALL SEC second teamer) who tested the NBA waters has returned for his senior year to play along side Grant Williams (SEC player of the year) and Kyle Alexander. If they can stay healthy along with the supporting cast, this team has a legitimate chance to reach the final four.
According to Andy Katz, “Tennessee is the team to beat in the SEC this year,” and did I mention Coach Barnes recruiting is nothing to take lightly. Recently committed 5 star combo guard, Josiah James added his name to the class of 2019 and pushed the Vols recruiting into the top 10 nationally.
Although it’s too early to tell how this season will play out its certain the hype is warranted and reaching heights it hasn’t seen since the Bruce Pearl era.
Could it be!? Tennessee – a basketball school?
Follow the journey when the Volunteers tip off against Louisiana Lafayette on November 9th.
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