Hall of Fame coach Tarkanian hospitalized in Vegas

Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian still hospitalized in Las Vegas with pneumonia



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Arizona Coach Sean Miller Jumps onto Court, Looks Ready for Action

With the Arizona defense trying to guard UC Irvine 7’6″ center Mamadou Ndiaye, Wildcats coach Sean Miller decided to spring into action to try to help out.

Miller jumped onto the court early in Wednesday’s game, trying to give his defense some coaching. He also looked like he would be ready to take a wide-open three-pointer if Ndiaye decided to kick the ball out.

The refs either didn’t see Miller or just didn’t care. Whatever the case may be, Miller may want to stick to the sidelines from now on.

[Vine, h/t SB Nation]

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Former UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian Hospitalized with Pneumonia

Jerry Tarkanian, former UNLV college basketball coach, has been hospitalized after having trouble breathing. He was diagnosed with pneumonia by doctors at Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Danny Tarkanian, his son, relayed the news, via Nikki Bowers of KLAS-TV. Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal provided more information on the legendary coach:

This isn’t the first health scare for Tarkanian, who suffered a heart attack in April. At the time, Danny Tarkanian said his father was “very tired” but “smiling” after his release from the hospital, per The Associated Press (via the Los Angeles Times).

The 84-year-old coached at three different Division I schools, including Long Beach State and Fresno State, but he was most famous for his run with UNLV that led to an NCAA championship in 1990.

“Tark the Shark” finished with a 761-202 record and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.


Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich Tells LeBron James Critics to ‘Go Swim in the Lake’

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich knows a thing or two about basketball, so when he talks, everyone should listen to what he says.

Before Wednesday night’s game between the Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers, Popovich had nothing but kind words to say about Cavs superstar LeBron James, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

That’s high praise for a four-time league MVP coming from a coach with five championship rings.

Considering they have squared off in the NBA Finals three times since 2007, Popovich has studied James enough to know just how good he is. There are a lot of critics out there, but that’s only because James is held to such a high standard.

For anyone who wants to nitpick James’ game, listen to what Popovich has to say first. There’s a reason he will go down as one of the greatest coaches ever.

[Dave McMenamin]

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Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl Hits Shot from Top of Arena, Yells ‘War Damn Eagle!’

Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl looks to be embracing his new team.

Pearl joined Legendary Shots as they went to Auburn Arena to pull off some trick shots, including one from the top of the arena by Pearl himself.

Afterward, Pearl shouted “War damn Eagle!” 

(It should be noted that this may have taken more than one attempt.)

[247 Sports]

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What’s in a Coach, Anyway?

A quick look over at Basketball Reference’s league leaders page generally provides a good summary of how the league’s talent stacks up against themselves, even after two weeks of play. It doesn’t take extreme mathematics to understand that the Cavaliers will struggle, the Lakers will struggle hard, and Klay Thompson deserved every last dollar of his contract extension. Maybe no one expected a player who just got paid to nail his career high the next night. Pay it no mind—this is all obvious.

What’s not obvious? Almost everything else.

The Rockets (7–1) downgraded from Chandler Parsons to just-got-paid Trevor Ariza and banished half their bench in favor of the esteemed trio of Troy Daniels, Tarik Black, and Kostas Papanikolaou—typically not a good look. (In fact, that isn’t even a proper vantage point!) Our Professor Emeritus, Sam Quinn, swears he hadn’t heard of these guys until six months ago. I hadn’t heard of them until a week ago. Kevin McHale, a coach I’ve doubted in a nume…

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Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall under NCAA probe

The investigation stems from alleged violations during Tyndall’s tenure at Southern Miss.



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Monmouth gives basketball coach Rice an extension (Yahoo Sports)

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) — Monmouth University has given basketball coach King Rice a three-year contract extension through 2019.

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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: Coach Cal Adds Familiar Prototypes to 2015 Class

Kentucky coach John Calipari has a pretty good idea of what he’s looking for when he goes out on the recruiting trail each year, prowling for his next batch of superstars. In case he needs a reminder, he can just revisit old programs from the Wildcats to his previous college gigs at Massachusetts and Memphis.

Calipari landed commitments from two more big-time prospects on Thursday, getting pledges from point guard Isaiah Briscoe and center Skal Labissiere. Both players are ranked among the top 10 recruits in the Class of 2015, according to 247Sports, and bump the Wildcats class up to second nationally behind Arizona.

The Wildcats previously held a commitment from Charles Matthews, a 4-star shooting guard from Chicago who chose them in February.

Thursday’s additions follow a pair of formulas that Calipari has used for quite some time: instant contributors who already have NBA potential and guys who fit into a mold that has already produced results.

In other words, the pro talent that Calipari has previously developed in college serve as prototypes for what he looks for in future stars, and both Briscoe and Labissiere have striking similarities to past Coach Cal products.

Briscoe, at 6’3.5″, has an extraordinary body for a point guard, much like ex-Kentucky floor general John Wall (6’4″) and former Memphis guard Derrick Rose (6’3″). Labissiere, at 6’10″ and 200 pounds, is very similar in stature to former Kentucky big men Anthony Davis (6’10″) and Nerlens Noel (6’11″), as well as Calipari’s first superstar in college, ex-UMass great Marcus Camby (6’11″).

The New Jersey-based Briscoe cited Calipari’s knack for producing pro talent at the point, saying on ESPNU’s Recruiting Nation he “has a machine going on with getting point guards to the NBA, like Eric Bledsoe and Derrick Rose. I could see myself in that mold and being the next great point guard to come out of Kentucky.”

Briscoe, a converted shooting guard, still loves to score, which is no different than Wall, Bledsoe or Rose. Each of them were double-digit scorers in their lone college seasons, with Bledsoe and Wall doing so on the same Kentucky team in 2009-10.

“I know that Isaiah Briscoe wants to play with the ball in his hands,” Evan Daniels of Scout.com told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

This knack for putting a team on his back could be seen in 2012-13 in leading Roselle Catholic to a state championship in New Jersey, as well as helping his travel team to the Peach Jam title this past summer. He was as comfortable scoring on drives to the basket as he was pulling up from outside, another similarity to his predecessors.

Labissiere, originally from Haiti but currently living in Memphis, has “all the tools you look for in a young big man,” according to Daniels. “He clearly has the height, but also the mobility, athleticism, scoring touch and ability to play facing the rim or with his back to it. On top of that, defensively he has potential. He has good timing and with his length is able to get to shots.”

That last part is most important for Labissiere, at least initially. He’s lighter than Camby, Davis or Noel, but has comparable shot-blocking ability, something that made all of those undersized centers such dominant forces on the defensive end. The strength might not be there, but the athleticism is and will enable him to contend with bigger ball-handlers.

While he works on building strength, Labissiere will be able to fall back on a shooting range that pro scouts must love. His ability to stretch the defense in that way differs from his predecessors but may set a precedent for another model that Calipari can reference in assessing future big men.

Calipari spent four years coaching in the NBA, three as head coach of the New Jersey Nets and another as an assistant with Philadelphia. Though his tenure wasn’t very successful, it was long enough to give him an understanding of what pro teams are looking for in college prospects, and since returning to Division I at Memphis in 2000, he’s made it a point to construct an amateur roster that closely resembles an NBA lineup.

Those worlds intermingle on a regular basis, and Calipari brought them together for a scouting combine in October. NBA scouts were on hand to watch his current players during what also served as a great recruiting pitch for future prospects, according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

“The event is a chance for Calipari to impress a throng of top high school recruits on campus visits and once again frame his program as college basketball’s best NBA feeder system,” Wojnarowski wrote in September.

Assuming Briscoe and Labissiere actually end up in Lexington—Briscoe has said he won’t sign his national letter of intent until the spring, while Labissiere has indicated skipping college and playing overseas is an option and CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish reported Wednesday that the NCAA plans to closely investigate Labissiere’s recruitment—they figure to find themselves in a situation similar to Kentucky’s current crop of freshmen.

Guards Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis and frontcourt players Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles all have more experienced players ahead of them, yet with Calipari’s plan to implement a platoon system, they’ll all get decent playing time. Seven Wildcats on the 2014-15 roster are projected to be drafted, according to NBADraft.net, but Kentucky ended up having players who seemed destined to leave school stick around after last season.

Whatever roles Briscoe and Labissiere have at Kentucky, it’s no stretch to assume they’ll be ones that fall in line with how Calipari used his past NBA stars.


Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott Rips Team’s Defensive Effort

The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t stopped anyone this season, and head coach Byron Scott has seen enough.

Per Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Scott unloaded on his team after an ugly 109-102 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Nov. 12: “They got pretty much anything they wanted in the paint with no resistance whatsoever. It was just terrible. That was probably the worst defense that we’ve played from the preseason all the way to this particular point.”

And that’s saying something.

Because while the loss to the Pelicans—which featured 60 paint points for the Pellies—was an undoubtedly poor showing, it wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary. Scott’s Lakers have allowed a league-worst 114.4 points per 100 possessions, as seen on NBA.com, which has them on course to make history in a way the organization would probably like to avoid.

Scott has voiced frustration plenty of times this season, but he has yet to find a solution to the Lakers’ problems. Perhaps that’s because the roster he inherited came with precisely zero above-average defenders.

I mean, asking Carlos Boozer for better defense is roughly the equivalent of asking a car on jacks to drive faster. Shout all you want; it’s not happening.

And Kobe Bryant, for all of his incredible late-career offensive heroics, essentially stopped playing defense three years ago.

Even if the Lakers had the personnel to build a respectable defense, recent history suggests Scott probably wouldn’t have been the man best suited to get results. Scott’s Cleveland Cavaliers ranked 26th or lower in defensive efficiency in each of his last three years at the helm.

From the start, this Lakers team was ticketed for defensive disaster.

Going forward, Scott has very little tactical wiggle room to address his team’s most glaring flaw. Perhaps that’s why his default plan of action includes working harder, playing with more grit and doubling down on effort, per his comments to Holmes. When there’s no hope of fixing the problem with personnel or strategy, ineffectual cliches like those are all that remain.

Credit Scott for his willingness to attack the problem, though.

Perhaps Boozer will see his minutes decrease, a move that could help on D and would certainly please the growing contingent of Ed Davis supporters. And there’s always the possibility that the Lakers adopt an ultra-conservative defensive strategy that packs the paint and at least makes it a little harder for opponents to convert point-blank looks at will.

We’re not even close to our expectations, or at least mine,” Scott said.

Unfortunately, this is pretty much what everybody else saw coming a mile away.

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