Coaching positions filled at Memphis, UNLV, Texas Tech

SPECIAL NOTE:  On Wednesday, April 20 we found out the sad news that Syracuse lost a giant during the early years of the Big East Conference battles.  Dwayne “Pearl” Washington had a brain tumor and passed away at the age of 52.  Longtime Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim referred to the Brooklyn playground legend in a press conference as, “A very humble guy.”

He was the first Syracuse player to make the jump to the NBA after a stellar three-year career for the Orangemen during 1983-1986.  The steady point guard averaged 15.6 points per game, to go along with 6.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals.  Named as part of the 1984 All-Big East Rookie Team, he was the MVP of the 1986 Big East Tournament.  His most famous shot was a half-court buzzer beater on January 21, 1984 to beat Boston College, three years before the introduction of the three-point shot in college basketball.

A true giant in Big East basketball, his unselfish play and always thinking about the team first won him many fans throughout upstate New York.  He especially shined against similar giants like Patrick Ewing from Georgetown and the sharp-shooting Chris Mullin out of St. John’s.  He will be sorely missed as his Number 31 jersey will hang inside the Carrier Dome for decades to come.

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In the last few weeks, there was lots of coaching news:

On April 14, Memphis filled the vacancy left behind by Josh Pastner in getting a credible, championship winning coach (1998 while with Kentucky) in Orlando “Tubby” Smith.  Smith is one of only two coaches to take five different schools to the NCAA Tournament (Lon Kruger of Oklahoma is the other).  Only time will tell if the Tigers will reclaim the heart of true Elvis wannabes before things get “All Shook Up” by February.

The very next day, Chris Beard bolted from UNLV to take over at Texas Tech.  The strange note about this hire was that Beard had accepted the Runnin’ Rebels job a few days after their exit from the Mountain West Conference tournament.

That created a new opening on April 16 when Marvin Menzies from New Mexico State took over the UNLV position.

Combine that with four-time NBA head coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr. taking over at Tulane, will 2017 be the year the mid-major comes up big again?

Other news worth taking note

Only two schools will be banned on the APR list as the student-athletes continue to get higher scores in most forms of academia.  That is excellent news for our leaders of tomorrow.

Alcorn State and Savannah State will be on the postseason banned list for 2017.

Considering there were ten schools on the banned list in 2012, the NCAA has come a long way.  If you want to read the full stats, point your browsers or tape your finger here:

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/25561126/only-two-schools-hit-with-ncaa-postseason-ban-due-to-low-apr-scores

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