After leading Pittsburgh to 11 NCAA Tournaments in 13 years as head coach, one time TCU player Jamie Dixon on Monday accepted an offer by returning to his alma mater replacing Trent Johnson as the new head coach of TCU.
Multiple online and broadcast reports on Sunday cited that the athletic director that hired Dixon at Pitt is no longer in that capacity. Also, with the school recently switching conferences from the Big East to the ACC was a much harder sell in the general scheme of things going forward. Also, this will give Coach Dixon a new beginning in the hopes that the Horned Frogs will someday reach the NCAA Tournament. The last time TCU reached the Big Dance was in 1998.
Coming off fabulous three year run at SFA, Brad Underwood to also join the Big 12
A Kansas native who went to Kansas State and later would return to his alma mater as an assistant under both Bob Huggins and Frank Martin. Brad Underwood helped guide Stephen F. Austin during the last four seasons, culminating with an 89-14 record and three regular season plus Southland tournament titles and three straight NCAA appearances. Three days after firing Travis Ford, Brad Underwood agreed to be the new head coach at Oklahoma State.
Bottom line, expect some growing pains early next season. A big question for me is how quickly can these two schools gel and mesh quickly as a team in terms of hanging around in what is usually Kansas and everybody else in the ultra competitive Big 12. Depending on how other schools rebuild and reload, an at-large berth is never out of the question.
Ben Simmons hires agent, applies for NBA Draft
Also making news in the first off day off from the NCAA Tournament in a week was super freshman forward Ben Simmons from LSU decided on Monday to forego his final three years of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft. The 6’10” forward from Melbourne, Australia averaged 19.2 points per game to go along with 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2 steals. He was the runaway winner of this year’s Wayman Tisdale Award as National Freshman of the Year, named after the one-time Oklahoma great who later went to a decent career in jazz circles before passing away a few years ago.
He played on a team that finished 19-12, barely missing out on the NCAA let alone the NIT and other post-season tournaments. If he is picked first come late June, he will become the first player since 1998 to be drafted number 1 and not play in the NCAA Tournament.
The last player to do that was Michael Olowokandi of Pacific University. The Nigerian born and London raised player was taken first by the Los Angeles Clippers and turned out to be one of the biggest busts of all-time and only played in the NBA for nine years.