Archive for March, 2014

UNLV Keeps Rice, and Loaded Recruiting Class, Too

March 29th, 2014 10:08 pm
MorganNEW YORK — UNLV not only kept their head coach.

They kept their loaded recruiting class intact, too.

By saying they will recommend a contract extension with head coach Dave Rice through the 2018-19 season instead of letting him flee to sunny South Florida, the Runnin’ Rebels also kept intact a three-man recruiting class of Dwayne Morgan, Goodluck Okonoboh and Rashad Vaughn

“Had Dave Rice not announced he was coming back, for sure Dwayne Morgan and Rashad Vaughn were going to stick together regardless,” Morgan’s trainer and mentor, Dwayne Wise, told over the phone Saturday.

“Dwayne would’ve had to get a release, which wouldn’t have been a problem. Dwayne and Rashad were definitely planning on sticking together.”

The 6-foot-8 Morgan committed to UNLV a year ago, then signed a National Letter of Intent and has since helped successfully recruit the 6-5 Vaughn to Vegas. Vaughn committed in February, choosing UNLV over Iowa State, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina, but cannot sign an NLI until next month. Through a family spokesman, the Vaughns declined to comment.

VaughnThe duo would’ve made a huge late-season addition for some lucky school, with Wise saying Louisville and Indiana would’ve been in the mix for both, while Maryland would’ve had a shot for the home-state Morgan.

“Dwayne and Rashad were definitely planning on sticking together,” Wise said. “Louisville would’ve been possibly ideal. Indiana, just a few other locations where they would’ve been a lock at the 2 and 3. Maryland, depending on the situation with their scholarships.”

It’s unclear what the 6-9 Okonoboh would have done but make no mistake, this would’ve been a huge loss for UNLV and a huge gain for somebody else’s program. According to, Vaughn is the No. 18 prospect in the Class of 2014, Okonoboh is No. 23 and Morgan No. 38.

Vaughn is projected as the No. 11 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by

Wise said there was a conference call Friday with the two players, Vaughn’s father, Morgan’s mother and an advisor to Vaughn in which they actively discussed leaving UNLV if Rice had taken the USF job, which at one point was Steve Masiello’s to lose.

“They were both looking at schools that were already considering before they committed,” Wise said.

But disaster for UNLV was avoided earlier Saturday when Wise said Rice called him to inform him he would be remaining at UNLV.

“Dave Rice contacted me and Dwayne’s mother as as soon as he knew that he had what he needed to get done to stay as a coach at UNLV,” Wise said. “He’s staying. Ne notified me.”

According to, Rice made $700,000 at UNLV, while USF is looking to pay its new coach more than $1 million a year.

Now, Wise believes, Morgan, Vaughn and Okonoboh can form the core of something positive at UNLV, along with San Francisco point guard transfer Cody Doolin and the returning core, which may or may not include junior big Khem Birch, who is considering the NBA Draft.

“With these guys even if Khem returns they are gonna possibly be a Sweet 16 team,” Wise said. “These kids are coming in with a different kind of work ethic and skill. They have a chance to be a Sweet 16 team if Khem returns.

“If Khem doesn’t return, they will definitely get into the NCAA Tournament,” Wise said.

And Dave Rice now has that to look forward to, even if he won’t be in South Florida.


Eagles Cut DeSean Jackson Over Gang Ties, Attitude, & Off Field Behavior

By Austin Knoblauch

DeSean Jackson’s run with the Philadelphia Eagles is over.
As anticipated, the Eagles released Jackson on Friday after efforts to trade him ultimately were unsuccessful. The wide receiver is coming off his best season in Philadelphia, and is expected to generate plenty of interest in the free-agent market.
Jackson, a former Long Beach Poly High and California standout, finished with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013. He was set to earn $10.25 million in 2014 and was under contract with the Eagles through 2016.
In addition to his rich contract, the Eagles reportedly were apprehensive of Jackson’s off-field behavior and bad attitude. His alleged association with Los Angeles gang members also reportedly played a role in the Eagles cutting him.
Despite this, Jackson should have plenty of suitors among NFL teams looking to improve their respective passing games. Last week, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson said Jackson was among the players the team was possibly interested in signing.
In six seasons with the Eagles, Jackson, 27, had 365 receptions for 6,117 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Miller's Time- The Miller's Have Paid Their Dues

For Sean and Archie Miller, nothing was ever good enough.

“We’d win a state championship,” remembers Archie Miller, now the coach of the Dayton Flyers, “and it was like it never happened to my dad. No: ‘Hey, great job!’ No: ‘You did it!’ Nothing. Two days later, you’d be practicing your butt off for the first AAU game of the year.”

“I remember once against Beaver Falls,” recalls Sean Miller, now the coach of the Arizona Wildcats, “it was this huge rivalry game. And we’d finally beaten them. I was dribbling the clock out. I held up my finger like, ‘We’re No. 1!’ to the crowd. I looked over at my dad and it was like he was going to throw me through the wall.”

Now these two are the first brothers in NCAA men’s basketball tournament history to make it to the same Sweet Sixteen coaching different teams.

Will that be good enough?

Oh, hell yes.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” says John Miller, 70, who won four state titles and 657 games as a high school coach in western Pennsylvania, many of them while coaching his two sons. “I mean, I thought someday something like this might happen, but not this year. From Arch’s standpoint, it’s icing on the cake for him. He’s overachieved. It’s a little different with Arizona. They’re a 1-seed; if they lose early, it’d be bad.”

If that’s as close the sons will get to an “attaboy,” it will have to do.

“I could feel that [last weekend],” Sean says. “I was so happy for Archie winning, but then I realized it was upping the pressure on me. I didn’t want to be the one screwing this thing up.”

For Sean, 45, and Archie, 35, pressure came with the furniture. There was no Miller Light.

“Sean was his whipping boy,” says Archie, whose Dayton team shocked No. 6 seed Ohio State and then No. 3 seed Syracuse to get to the Sweet 16. “Nobody knows how hard my dad was on Sean. I think about my dad now. Even just working out, getting things done, he’s a psycho, almost a kamikaze. And he’s 70 years old! I can’t imagine him in his 30s, when he coached Sean.”

Imagine The Great Santini.

Arizona’s Sean Miller acknowledges the pressure of being a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament.
“I never really patted Sean on the back,” John remembers. “Never once. If he scored 35 in a game, I’d be on him about his defense. I made it as hard and tough as any guy could be on a kid heading for college. I wanted him to be tough. And he became tough. He went from high school and took the reins of the starting point guard at Pitt — at 18 years old. For four years.”

“Archie had it easy compared to me,” says Sean, whose Arizona team coasted to the Sweet 16 with wins over 16th-seeded Weber State and No. 8 seed Gonzaga. “I can remember having to go shovel a foot of snow off the driveway because he wanted me to go shoot free throws. He’d be like, ‘You’re from Beaver County. Nobody’s going to come just hand you a scholarship. You have to outwork every single player in the country.’ And I’d go out there.”

His dad even made him dribble everywhere he went, even the mile to the gym for games. Finally, one day, somebody stole his ball. “And I thought, ‘Cool! I won’t have to dribble to games anymore!’ ” Sean says. But when he got home, his dad had a new ball waiting for him, with a giant MILLER written in black Magic Marker across it.

It must’ve worked. Sean became such a sensation dribbler, he went on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.

“I had it easy?” Archie asks. “No way. Every car ride, every dinner table, every basketball camp, you’d look him in the eye and you’d think, ‘Oh, man. He is not messing around right now.’ ”

Both sons say their father’s Egyptian-slave work ethic is the single biggest reason they’re in the Sweet 16 together. And both are thrilled for him now. Both say he’s an all-new — and much softer — man with their kids. And both are tickled for him as much as anybody.

“Twenty years later,” Sean says, “I look around and see it’s my brother and I who are standing with the winners. So I guess it worked out.”

They each would need three more wins before coaching against each other in this thing — in no less than the championship game in Arlington, Texas. For dad, it would mean that for once, he wouldn’t have to watch at least one game on his smartphone.

Archie Miller used two upsets to get his team to the Sweet Sixteen.
“Oh, I wouldn’t dread that,” says John, who also has two daughters between the boys. “It’d be fun. I’d look forward to it.”

Archie, who will have his dad in the stands Thursday night in Memphis, won’t even broach the notion. “I’ve always envisioned Sean at such a higher level than me. I mean, I know that we’re doing great things at Dayton, but it’s just ingrained in me. Maybe someday  But if I did have to coach against him? I don’t know. I’d hate to be on that sideline.”

Sean: “What if we just won one more game each? (Both coach Thursday night, back-to-back, with Dayton playing Stanford, and Arizona facing San Diego State in Anaheim, Calif.) To have the two Miller brothers standing as two of the final eight? How cool would that be?”

One person who wouldn’t find it cool at all is their mom, Barb. She was in Dayton, staying home with Archie’s daughter, and watched the Ohio State game until five minutes were left. Then she turned off the TV. Too nervous. “My daughter had to watch the last five minutes on her iPad,” Archie says. “I don’t know if she could handle the two of us going against each other.”

Dayton, by the way, was the home of another set of famous brothers — the Wright Brothers. Maybe Barb knows the same harsh rule that their mother knew.

Only one son can soar at a time.


Steve Masiello Loses Deal with USF After Background Check Issues

South Florida is forced to restart its search for a new head basketball coach after the program nixed a deal with Steve Masiello when a discrepancy was found during his background check.

Joey Johnston of The Tampa Tribune reports Masiello had reached an agreement and signed a five-year contract with the school to replace Stan Heath. A final look into his background information led to a new discovery and USF decided to kill the deal:

That background-check information was discovered by Eastman & Beaudine, a Texas-based search firm that was paid $60,000 by USF to find candidates to replace Stan Heath, who was fired on March 14.

Masiello, 36, had agreed to a five-year contract with USF and signed the deal, believed to be worth more than $1 million per season, leaving only final details to be worked out.

South Florida released a statement on the situation on Wednesday afternoon (via Brett McMurphy of ESPN):

During the search for a new men’s basketball coach, an agreement in principle was reached by USF and candidate Steve Masiello. The agreement was pending a verification of credentials. Through the verification process it was determined the candidate’s credentials could not be substantiated and therefore he did not meet the requirements for the position.”

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports notes a source close to the situation states the discrepancy was in relation to a claim Masiello made on his resume. He reportedly listed that he graduated from Kentucky, and it turns out that wasn’t the case.

A source confirmed to that the discrepancy stems from Masiello’s resume indicating he graduated from Kentucky in 2000 even though he never actually graduated from Kentucky.

The 36-year-old head coach accumulated a 60-39 record over three years at Manhattan. He was viewed as one of the most promising young coaching prospects in the country, and moving to the American Athletic Conference with USF would have been the next step.

Masiello also received praise from Louisville coach Rick Pitino, whom he played for and coached under before taking the Manhattan job. The two squared off in the second round, with the Jaspers pushing the reigning champions to the limit in a narrow loss.

The Tampa Tribune report noted Pitino had said his protege was somebody capable of having success at USF, especially given the resources that would have been available:

Now it’s unclear what the future holds for Masiello.

As for South Florida, the program is forced to reboot the coaching search, which can be a very tricky task. Going back to other candidates who understand they weren’t the first choice likely means some extra convincing will be necessary, unless the department decides to go in a new direction altogether.

All told, it’s a unique situation because Masiello is clearly a strong coach with a growing track record and the experience of having worked with Pitino. Yet that isn’t enough to overcome discrepancies during a background check.

It will be interesting to see how both parties move forward.

By Jon Rothstein | CBS Sports
 Before working at UNLV, Schroyer was head coach at Wyoming and Portland State.   (USATSI)
Before working at UNLV, Schroyer was head coach at Wyoming and Portland State.

 Tennessee-Martin is expected to name UNLV assistant Heath Schroyer as its next head coach, multiple sources told

An official announcement is expected on Thursday.

Schroyer has been with the Runnin’ Rebels since 2011 and was previously the head coach at Wyoming and Portland State. UT-Martin athletic director Julio Freire was at UNLV with Schroyer.

UNLV coach Dave Rice is targeting former Loyola Marymount head coach Max Good to be Schroyer’s replacement, two other sources told Good was fired last week after serving as head coach of the Lions since 2008.

A major storyline to watch if Good winds up with the Runnin’ Rebels is the status of top-100 recruit Elijah Stewart.

The 6-foot-5 Stewart signed to play for Good at Loyola Marymount, but has yet to receive a release from his letter of intent, another source told

By Marc Berman6 coaches Jackson will consider for Knicks


Phil Jackson will be introduced as Knicks president in a bonanza Garden press conference Tuesday. Among the first orders of business for the Zen Master in his new front-office role: picking who will coach the team next season. The list of possibilities includes a few Jackson disciples, as well as the Knicks’ embattled current coach.

1. Steve Kerr: Jackson and his former Bulls point guard, a student of the triangle offense, have remained friends. The former Suns GM is aching to become a head coach.

2. Nate McMillan: Jackson has a lot of respect for this coaching lifer, and recently named him one of the guys he is surprised doesn’t have a head job.

3. Mike Woodson: There are 3.4 million reasons to keep him for the final year of his contract, but with the Knicks 3.5 games out of playoff position, he would need an exceptional finish. He considers himself a Red Holzman disciple, too.

4. Brian Shaw: A former Lakers player and assistant coach under Jackson, Shaw would be the perfect fit — if he hadn’t just signed with Denver.

5. Kurt Rambis: Hasn’t had great success as a head coach, but Jackson’s former assistant is a triangle guy.

6. Jim Cleamons: Former Bulls/Lakers assistant (and current Bucks aide) who got a raw deal in Dallas in his lone shot as a head coach.

By Simone Bridges 


Virginia Tech has fired men’s basketball head coach James Johnson after just two seasons according to reports by WDBJ7. Athletic Director Whit Babcock announced the decision on Monday.

“I want to thank Coach Johnson for his dedication and hard work for our university and our basketball program over the past seven years,” Babcock said in a statement. “A change of this significance affects many people and is never taken lightly, but I felt a change and a new direction was necessary for the long term, best interest of our department.”

This is Babcock’s first major move since being hired as the AD in January.

In Johnson’s two seasons as head coach, Virginia Tech had dismal 22-41 overall record and was just 6-30 in the ACC. Babcock said the search for a new coach will begin immediately. Virginia Tech has a news conference scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning to discuss Johnson’s dismissal. | Hang Time Blog

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