SOUTH BEND, IN – DECEMBER 09: Head coach Jamion Christian of the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers is seen during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purcell Pavilion on December 9, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 521949767 less
SOUTH BEND, IN – DECEMBER 09: Head coach Jamion Christian of the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers is seen during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purcell Pavilion on December 9, 2014 in South … more
Photo: Michael Hickey, Getty
EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Jamion Christian of the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers look on during the second half while playing the Michigan State Spartans at the Jack T. Breslin Student Events Center on November 29, 2013 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State won the game 98-65. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 185392817 less
EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Jamion Christian of the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers look on during the second half while playing the Michigan State Spartans at the Jack T. Breslin Student Events … more
Photo: Gregory Shamus, Getty
UAlbany head coach Will Brown talks with reporters after 69-60 loss to the Stony Brook Seawolves during the first half of an NCAA college basketball quarterfinal game in the America East Conference tournament, Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (Hans Pennink / Special to the Times Union) less
UAlbany head coach Will Brown talks with reporters after 69-60 loss to the Stony Brook Seawolves during the first half of an NCAA college basketball quarterfinal game in the America East Conference tournament, … more
Photo: Hans Pennink
LOUISVILLE, KY – JANUARY 11: Rick Pitino the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to his team during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at KFC YUM! Center on January 11, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 671040029 less
LOUISVILLE, KY – JANUARY 11: Rick Pitino the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to his team during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at KFC YUM! Center on January 11, 2017 in … more
Photo: Andy Lyons
PITTSBURGH, PA – MARCH 17: Assistant coach Gerry McNamara of the Syracuse Orange reacts against the Kansas State Wildcats during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) (Getty Images) less
PITTSBURGH, PA – MARCH 17: Assistant coach Gerry McNamara of the Syracuse Orange reacts against the Kansas State Wildcats during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy … more
A Siena men’s basketball player reached by phone on Thursday afternoon was asked if he’d heard the report Mount St. Mary’s Jamion Christian was going to be the Saints’ next head coach.
“Just found out like 30 seconds ago,” the player responded. From whom? “Actually, a lunch lady at school.”
It seemed like everyone was talking about a NewsChannel 13 bulletin that Christian, who has led Mount St. Mary’s the past six seasons, was being hired by Siena and would be introduced at a news conference as soon as Friday.
However, Siena immediately responded with an athletic department spokesman saying the job hadn’t been offered to anyone. A source confirmed Siena hadn’t hired Christian.
In addition, another source familiar with the search process insisted Siena hadn’t decided on a coach and that it wouldn’t necessarily be Christian, though he’s still a candidate.
Christian has a record of 101-95 at Mount St. Mary’s, a Northeast Conference school that has made NCAA Tournaments in 2014 and 2017 under his watch.
Christian, 36, is known for his “Mount Mayhem” system that combines defensive pressure with prolific 3-point shooting. He is signed at Mount St. Mary’s through the 2026-27 season.
The confusion seemed almost fitting during a wild month that saw Jimmy Patsos resign under pressure April 13 as a result of a college investigation into alleged misconduct.
Since then, Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino all but expressed interest in the job and Will Brown of crosstown rival University at Albany was linked to the opening. He sidestepped those rumors earlier this week, saying he hadn’t been contacted.
Patrick Beilein, the Le Moyne coach rumored to be the favorite immediately after Jimmy Patsos stepped down, appeared to rule himself out as a candidate.
“Heard (Siena is) after some d1 (coaches) .. which makes sense,” Beilein texted, indicating the Saints preferred someone with Division I head coaching experience. Le Moyne plays at the Division II level, but the Dolphins beat Siena in an exhibition game this season.
Syracuse assistant coach and former Orange player Gerry McNamara has been reported as a candidate, along with Iowa assistant Andrew Francis, who served on Fran McCaffery’s Siena staff for three straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles from 2008-10.
The Saints haven’t won a championship since then and went 8-24 this year, which helped hasten Patsos’ departure.
Siena got a late start on its coaching search with the NCAA’s live recruiting and signing periods already underway.
Also, promising freshmen Prince Oduro and Roman Penn have received releases to transfer from the college. Both have left open the option of returning to Siena.
Mack talks about Luke Murray, Mike Pegues and Dino Guadio joining the Louisville basketball coaching staff. Matt Stone, Courier Journal
Louisville pledge Courtney Ramey competes at an Adidas AAU event.(Photo: Adidas)
Courtney Ramey is zeroing in on a college decision.
His father, Terrell, told 93.9 The Ville’s “Louisville Sports Live” on Wednesday night that he and his son, the hotly-pursued unsigned Class of 2018 guard, will go out to dinner Thursday evening and discuss schools.
Louisville, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas are in contention for the 6-foot-3 Ramey, who is the No. 56 player in ESPN’s 2018 prospect rankings. Ramey originally committed to Louisville in February 2017 but backed off his pledge when news of the FBI investigation into college basketball broke in late September.
“We’re going to look to make a decision real soon, because it’s been long enough,” the elder Ramey told “Louisville Sports Live.”
More on Ramey’s decision: Louisville basketball reportedly set to host 2018 guard Courtney Ramey for campus visit
The Rameys planned to meet with new Louisville coach Chris Mack and his staff last week in St. Louis, where Courtney led his Webster Groves High team to a second consecutive state championship this season.
But a scheduling mixup with the organizers of the Iverson Classic high school all-star game forced them to postpone the meeting so the younger Ramey could travel to Philadelphia.
Courtney Ramey, named Missouri’s Mr. Basketball last week, instead traveled to Louisville on Tuesday for a campus visit with his uncle.
“It was actually my fault. I put that on my back,” Terrell Ramey said. “I said, ‘Oh, darn.’ So I called Coach Mack and I explained it to him and gave him my regrets and told him I was apologetic for it.”
The Rameys hadn’t talked in depth about the Louisville visit as of Wednesday evening, but Terrell Ramey said Mack “sprinted and tried to make up ground and still be genuine in the process.”
More on this: Courtney Ramey’s visit with Louisville basketball coaches postponed
Mack text messaged Terrell Ramey a few weeks ago aiming to rekindle Courtney’s recruitment, but Ramey didn’t respond, leading Mack to make his comments two Mondays ago that Louisville wasn’t recruiting Ramey.
But a mutual friend re-connected Terrell Ramey and Mack the day after Mack’s comments, and the conversations picked up from there. Mack sent the Rameys videos of Louisville’s recent team workout, along with some other clips to review.
“Courtney’s always loved Louisville,” Terrell Ramey said. “He committed there. We still don’t know much about Coach Mack from Xavier. We never had conversations. They never recruited Courtney through that process, and he explained rational reasons why. But he’s very hungry, seems like a good guy. He’s very, very ambitious to get that program going. He’s very adamant of the desire of wanting Courtney.”
Terrell Ramey added that Mack and his staff focused on telling the younger Ramey “how important he would be to Louisville and the culture there and what it would mean to the community” if he re-committed to the Cards after the tumult over the past eight months.
Mack is searching for guards to add for next season. Ryan McMahon and Darius Perry are the only scholarship ball-handlers on the current roster, and Louisville’s staff missed out on four graduate transfer guards it pursued.
More on the prospects: Big Board 1.0: Early look at Class of 2019 prospects on Louisville basketball’s wish list
Adding a four-star, top-60 prospect this late in the recruiting cycle would be a boost for Mack in his first month on the job.
“The community, the facilities, the players, the conference, the location — all that hasn’t changed,” Terrell Ramey said. “Now, a whole new staff does mean a whole lot. I can’t undersell that. Like I told Chris Mack, there’s other programs that have that leap-frog over you. Are those deal-breaker things? Who knows? That’s the conversation me and Courtney are going to have and go from there.
“But what Chris Mack has done, he’s come out and sprinted and tried to make up ground and still be genuine in the process, and I appreciate that and Courtney appreciates it. That’s why we appreciated it enough to go up (Tuesday) and make sure he got that presentation and got that information.”
Here’s the full interview with Terrell Ramey on “Louisville Sports Live“
Jeff Greer: 502-582-4044; email@example.com; Twitter: @jeffgreer_cj. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/jeffg.
SportsPulse: Villanova had the national championship game in hand with a few minutes to play in the national championship. Players reveal what they were thinking as they anxiously watched the clock wind down against Michigan. USA TODAY Sports
Late on April 2 in the euphoric locker room at the Alamodome, Eric Paschall fielded his first call as a national champion. It came from Donovan Mitchell, the NBA rookie sensation with the Utah Jazz.
“I got a FaceTime call from Donovan in the locker room,” said Paschall, who grew up in Dobbs Ferry, just down the road from Mitchell in Elmsford. “It’s great to see what he’s doing. I always knew he was capable of this. It’s a blessing to see what we’ve both been able to accomplish.”
For Paschall, that growing list of accomplishments included a breakout NCAA Tournament that helped spur Villanova to its second NCAA title in three years. Despite his success, including a spot on the all-tournament team, the redshirt junior resisted the urge to join his childhood friend in the NBA.
Villanova Wildcats forward Eric Paschall (4) blocks a shot by Michigan Wolverines guard Charles Matthews (1) in the first half in the championship game of the 2018 men’s Final Four at Alamodome. (Photo: Soobum Im, USA TODAY Sports)
NATIONAL SEMIS: Paschall, 3-point barrage help Villanova down Kansas
It was the most important decision in what’s been a whirlwind month — and perhaps the biggest gut-check since he left Fordham for Villanova.
“I was thinking about it. I just ultimately decided to come back to school and to get my degree,” said Paschall, who has one season of eligibility left with the Wildcats. “I have another year to get better. I just feel like it was a good decision for me. I’m going to rest my body and then start working on my game.”
A Dobbs Ferry star
The one-time Dobbs Ferry High School star put himself in better position for a future in pro ball by leaving Fordham. As a freshman there, Paschall earned Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, but he was mired in a losing program that fired coach Tom Pecora. He considered both Florida and Villanova, and chose Villanova to be challenged.
For a player who was a big-fish, small-pond player in high school and college, the move required a major adjustment. He dropped his body fat from 16 to 5 percent while working with strength coach John Shackleton.
“I knew coming in here that I wouldn’t be the best player,” he said. “I knew I had to work myself to where I am now.”
As his body began to transform, Paschall sat out his redshirt season in 2015-16, one when he also watched the Wildcats win a national title. He quickly earned minutes off the bench last season for the Big East regular-season champs, but the team was upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
As a junior, Paschall started all 38 games at forward and averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while earning the reputation as Villanova’s best defender. He scored a game-high 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting against Kansas in the national semifinal, which sparked the conversation about a potential NBA future.
“It’s always great to do that in a game,” he said. “My coaches and teammates believed in me to do that. They gave us all the confidence and the freedom to have those types of games. It could be any of us and you saw that the next game.”
Another of the team’s role players, sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo, had 31 points as Villanova routed Michigan 79-62 in the final. Paschall had six points and eight rebounds and found great satisfaction in knowing the part he played in the outcome.
“It was a lot different than the first time,” he said. “Being able to be a part of that was special.”
Paschall should play an even more vital role as a senior. Fellow starters Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman all declared for the NBA Draft, although Spellman did not hire an agent. Their departure would leave Paschall and DiVincenzo as the top returning players on a defending national champion.
For that chance, Paschall’s wish to join Mitchell in the NBA can wait.
“Just being able to be a leader on this team next year is an honor in itself,” Paschall said. “Going into it, you can’t really think about that stuff, about the future. My decision was just to come back, be a leader on this team. I look at it as I have another opportunity to get better.”
Follow Josh Thomson on Twitter and Facebook at @lohudinsider.
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Memphis target Trendon Watford details his initial impressions of Penny Hardaway and Mike Miller while offering an update on his recruiting process.
CP3 forward Antavion Collum (bottom) battles Nike Team Florida forward Scott Barnes (top) for a rebound during their Nike EYBL game in Dallas, Texas.(Photo: Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal)Buy Photo
For promising college basketball prospects such as Jaykwon Walton and Antavion Collum, progress is often measured by what’s taking place off the court.
Walton, for instance, had just finished another impressive performance during the first evaluation period Sunday morning and didn’t need a box score to explain that coaches noticed the improvements in his game.
“I can see by how much they’re calling and texting my mom during the games,” Walton said. “I can see they’re very interested.”
Memphis is among the schools watching Walton closely these days, part of coach Penny Hardaway’s effort to put together a dynamic 2019 recruiting class. The Tigers have six available scholarships to hand out at the moment, and they’re chasing after some of the nation’s most ballyhooed recruits to fill those slots.
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But Hardaway made clear last week he’s not just looking for top-10 recruits. He wants a complete roster, with role players and stars, and plans to “carefully blend it together.”
It’s why versatile, up-and-coming players such as Walton and Collum, who plays for Tennessee Prep, are emerging as attractive options for Memphis.
Why Walton’s stock is rising
Walton averaged 15 points and 5.8 rebounds over four games playing on the Under Armour Association in the Dallas area this past weekend. He also saw his recruiting stock rise as Team Thad compiled a 3-1 record.
Over just the past few days, Walton received new scholarship offers from Louisville, Florida, Missouri and Auburn. Memphis could be next.
Walton said that assistant coach Tony Madlock came down to his hometown of Montgomery, Ala., last week to observe a workout. Hardaway and Madlock then watched Walton’s games with Team Thad on Saturday night and Sunday morning as part of the first evaluation period.
Jaykwon Walton said that Memphis assistant coach Tony Madlock came down to his hometown of Montgomery, Ala., last week to observe a workout. (Photo: Albert Cesare / Advertiser)
“They told me they were going to recruit me hard,” said Walton, who is listed as a four-star recruit by both 247Sports and ESPN. “They got a new coaching staff in, so they’re going to re-evaluate me. Hopefully, we’ll get it rolling.”
Walton was previously being recruited by former Memphis coach Tubby Smith and his staff and took an unofficial visit to a Tigers’ football game last fall. He’s a 6-foot-6 guard with the athleticism and length to score at the rim and the ability to shoot from 3-point range.
With Team Thad, he showcased all of those skills for college coaches. Walton also listed Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech as schools involved in his recruitment.
Where Memphis and Hardaway fit into that situation is fluid.
Collum noted Friday Hardaway “tried to get me to early commit” when he was first hired by Memphis last month. Since then, Collum said, the Tigers have continued to communicate with his parents.
Collum previously played for Hardaway at East High School before transferring to Tennessee Prep last year. He was also once a member of Team Penny and initially planned to play for the Bluff City Legends this offseason. But Collum elected to rejoin Team CP3, based out of North Carolina, ahead of the first evaluation period.
“I didn’t really get to showcase my ball-handling because they had dominant guards,” Collum said of his decision to leave East and Team Penny last year. “So when I left, the teams that I went to, they kind of gave me the option to play. They didn’t put no handcuffs on me. They let me play my game.”
Nonetheless, Collum said his relationship with Hardaway remains strong.
“Me and Penny, we still cool,” Collum said. “There’s no hatred. We still see eye to eye. It’s still love. He understands my decisions and why I’m making them from a business standpoint.”
Collum listed Florida, Missouri and Ole Miss as other schools actively recruiting him right now. He was recently ranked among the top 100 2019 recruits in the country by both Rivals and 247Sports, more proof that his decision to switch teams is paying off.
But Collum said playing for Hardaway at Memphis sounds like an intriguing landing spot.
“Everybody is going to be interested in home,” Collum said, “and then you got Penny as a coach and Mike Miller on the coaching staff. You’re going to weigh your options. You’re going to think about it.”
BYU forward Yoeli Childs, left, and guard Elijah Bryant high five in Provo on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017.
PROVO — Mark Durrant has the answer to stop BYU basketball players from taking off early for professional basketball, the money pot, and the exotic travel: postpone marriages.
Now, before some have a cardiac episode, he is just having a little fun.
Still, he has a point.
Durrant has street cred in Provo, where he grew up, and is a great follow on Twitter. The former BYU player, who competed during the height of Roger Reid’s run with the Cougars, has an older brother Devin, who played for an Elite Eight BYU team. Mark possesses a great local culture sense of humor, and periodically leaves his law practice to do color commentary on BYU basketball broadcasts.
BYU’s basketball program is in the second of two years in which key players have left the program early to pursue pro careers, leaving teammates to rebuild and coaches to cover their tracks with transfers and young recruits.
Eric Mika left after his sophomore year in 2017, opting to take his game and his wife to Italy, a country where he and his beloved served as missionaries. Elijah Bryant, who does a YouTube video with his wife, announced last week he had hired an agent and is looking to play for pay.
Yoeli Childs, who will be a junior next fall, is exploring his draft stock. He is single. So far.
“I’ve figured out what to do,” said Durrant. “Would you like to hear the great revelation?”
Yeah, I answered.
“Here’s the silver bullet. Guys getting married. College is so fun. Why would you ever want to get out of college. Once you get married, college isn’t fun anymore and you say, ‘I’ve got to move on with life.’ The last thing I wanted to do when I was in college was to leave college; it was great. But once you get married, it all changes. With Mika and Bryant, they were like saying, ‘Why should I spin my wheels another year? I’ve got a family, let’s go make some money.’
“So my advice for coach (Dave) Rose is not to let Yoeli get married and don’t let anybody else get married.”
On a more serious, realistic note, Durrant says losing talent from one year to the next in college is just part of the program.
Durrant remembers back in his day when Michael Smith, the team’s most prolific scorer, left a Ladell Andersen-coached team that was ranked in the top three at one point. What it means, said Durrant, is that other players simply need to step up.
With Smith gone, the Cougars were picked to finish last in the WAC. “We had Andy Toolson and Marty Haws and we just had to play better. Everyone had to step up their senior year.
“It’s not the end of the world to lose Elijah as long as others fill the void, play better, kind of like Marty did for us. I hope they do.
“The thing with Elijah is he let people know so the coaches could plan for it. Mika’s situation was a little bit of a surprise.”
In the coming months, a player like TJ Haws, who like Bryant, likes to have the ball in his hands, can score outside, penetrate, finish at the rim, draw fouls and make free throws, is a perfect example of someone who needs to step up.
Haws played in a funk last season. Unlike the year before when he took freshman shots but showed streaks of brilliance, this past year he missed wide-open looks, attempts he’d ordinarily bury.
There are a lot of theories out there as to why Haws struggled. Did the emphasis on playing tough defense impact his shot? Did not having a green light to shoot in the deliberate offense coached by Heath Schroyer hurt his confidence?
Bottom line is the 2018-19 season is an opportunity for guys like Haws, Jahshire Hardnett, McKay Cannon, Zac Seljaas, Nick Emery, Rylan Bergersen and incoming freshmen off missionary service Connor Harding and Gavin Baxter to perform.
Opportunity is a great motivator. Rose can use it.
There are points to divvy out.
And he can always stoke up the old college-life fire.
Atmosphere scenes from Rutgers basketball’s memorable win over Seton Hall. Jerry Carino
5 things to know about the talented Young and what his pledge means for Rutgers’ backcourt moving forward
Texas Longhorns guard Jacob Young (3) reacts during the first half against the Nevada Wolf Pack in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament(Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel, Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
There is no doubt that Texas transfer Jacob Young, who committed to Rutgers Saturday night, has impact high-major talent.
But the addition of Young, who will sit out next season and then have two years of eligibility, raises a crucial question: What does adding a point guard of this pedigree mean for Rutgers’ backcourt going forward?
Here are five things to know about Young and his pledge:
1. The 6-foot-2 Young possesses the raw material to start in the Big Ten. The Houston native was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. His time at Texas was mostly unremarkable until the final month of this past season, when he averaged 13.3 points — including 29 against Texas Tech and 14 at Kansas. That may have been a glimpse into his future, and the Longhorns were sorry to see him go.
3. Much like incoming Rutgers wing Ron Harper Jr., Young has a famous father. Michael Young was a third-team All-America wing at Houston, helping “Phi Slamma Jamma” reach back-to-back NCAA Tournament finals in 1983 and 1984. He was a first-round draft pick of the Boston Celtics and played three NBA seasons. An older son, Joseph Young, appeared in 53 games as a guard for the Indiana Pacers this past season.
4. Baker probably will run the show next season. That’s not Rutgers’ optimal situation but it’s do-able — he has solid playmaking instincts, although he thrived off the ball as a freshman. Rutgers would love to bring in a postgrad point guard as a stopgap for 2018-19, but the postgrad market is hypercompetitive. The addition of Young could signal a shift in focus because the final open 2018 scholarship likely will be held for coveted wing Aundre Hyatt (a 2019 prospect who may reclassify 2018) or a power forward who can shoot (which remains a priority). Absent those options, it may be rolled over for the critical 2019 class.
5. Rutgers could be hedging its bet regarding top 2019 target Paul Mulcahy. The Scarlet Knights seemed to have the inside track at the Gill St. Bernard’s point guard, a program-elevating talent who is vastly under-ranked by the scouting websites. Mulcahy is starting to pick up broader interest now; he’s on Villanova’s radar. It’s unclear if Young’s addition will impact Mulcahy’s view of Rutgers — the opportunity to get the keys from day one obviously has been a big part of the attraction — but it makes sense for the Scarlet Knights to collect talent like Young while they can and not put all the eggs in Mulcahy’s basket.