Jack Kraft, Villanova basketball coach, dies at 93

Jack Kraft, the Villanova basketball coach who led team to 1971 NCAA title game, dies at 93

      
 

 

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Jack Kraft, Villanova basketball coach, dies at 93 (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this March 27, 1971, file photo, Villanova University basketball coach Jack Kraft, left, congratulates UCLA coach John Wooden after Wooden's Bruins defeated Villanova, 68-62, to win the NCAA championship in Houston, Texas. Villanova officials say former head basketball coach John

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Former Villanova basketball coach Jack Kraft has died at 93.


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Andrew Wiggins’ HS coach: ‘Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him’

Andrew Wiggins might as well have been handed his walking papers by the Cavaliers the day LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland. Like the rest of us, the No. 1 overall pick knew the Cavs were looking to deal him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. But was he concerned about it? It […]

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USAO announces hiring of basketball coach

USAO announces hiring of Doug Hall as new head basketball coach

      
 

 

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Coach K made a huge mistake in snubbing Lillard

What is Coach K thinking?

      
 

 

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Championship Clock Unexpectedly Ticking for 1st-Year Cavaliers Coach David Blatt

The ink might not have dried on the job-description portion of David Blatt‘s contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers before a flurry of headline moves made that section obsolete.

Whatever the former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach thought he was signing up for, it certainly wasn’t this. The Cavaliers can only hope that the man they tabbed to continue their rebuilding effort will still be the right selection for their dramatically different reality.

Remember when Blatt was hired in late June? Remember what the Cavaliers’ biggest challenges were then?

First and foremost, the franchise had to make sure that it didn’t botch its third No. 1 pick over the last four years. From there, the focus shifted to franchise face Kyrie Irving and his impending contract negotiations. Once the two-time All-Star put pen to paper on a new five-year deal, Blatt‘s biggest hurdles seemed to be tapping into Andrew Wiggins’ potential and balancing his ball-dominant backcourt.

Blatt isn’t just running on a different track now—I’m not sure he’s even still playing the same sport. As Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher explained, Blatt suddenly finds himself shouldering the heaviest burden in his profession:

David Blatt‘s first NBA assignment of any kind is to take LeBron James, the league’s biggest name and most powerful player, and a handful of other stars who’ve never set foot in the playoffs, and meld them into an instant champion for a title-starved fanbase and an aggressive, speaks-his-mind (sometimes in Comic Sans) owner.

Quite the daunting task, isn’t it?

Now, change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In this case, it should bring about something bigger and better than Blatt could have ever imagined.

That’s saying something, considering that the coach was aiming high long before James and his traveling band of three-point sniping ring-chasers brought this fanbase back to Believeland.

“I have won everywhere I’ve been,” a confident Blatt proclaimed at his introductory press conference, “and I plan on doing the same here.”

The confidence was good to see, and his intentions seemed sincere, but which coach doesn’t plan for success in his team’s future? Even the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers want to win…eventually.

Still, he said the right things, and the glowing reviews he received from different corners of the basketball world made it sound like he might be the right guy to snap the Cavs out of their post-Decision funk.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski called it a “tremendous hiring” and Blatt “an original thinker, a great communicator and tactician, a coach unafraid to try and fail.” Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy noted that the “word ‘genius’ often gets thrown around when Blatt is being described,” along with his “reputation for being an offensive mastermind.”

The Cavs‘ problems hadn’t been a lack of talent. At least, not to the extent that their 97-215 record over the past four seasons might suggest.

They had more logistical issues. Their top two scorers, Irving and Dion Waiters, both did their best work on the ball. Tristan Thompson and Anthony BennettCleveland’s other two top-four picks between 2011 and 2013—both played the same position.

A sharp mind was needed to unscramble the puzzle pieces, but by all accounts, that’s exactly what Cleveland had in Blatt.

“David Blatt is going to bring some of the most innovative approaches found in professional basketball anywhere on the globe,” Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said at the press conference.

That’s what the Cavs asked Blatt to add: innovation, excitement, creativity. For anyone who sat through a handful of Mike Brown’s stagnant offensive possessions, the sentiment was certainly understandable.

Yet, those very same attributes no longer carry the same meaning. Innovation and excitement are tremendous boosts to a young team looking to get something started.

That’s not who the Cavs are anymore. Thanks to James’ powerful recruiting pitch, this is a win-now roster worried about execution, not experimentation.

“James wasn’t in the same room as his front office this summer, but he has been working alongside team officials,” wrote ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst. “He successfully recruited [Mike] Miller and free agent James Jones. James also has been in contact with [Kevin] Love, [Shawn] Marion and free agent Ray Allen.”

The patience that James discussed in his homecoming essay either never existed or did not survive the summer. Regardless of what happened, Blatt now has the pressure to deliver a title immediately.

Granted, it’s a good problem to have. He has the best player on the planet in James; a top-10 talent (at least) unofficially officially headed to Cleveland in Kevin Love, per Wojnarowski; and a potential superstar in Irving, who should take a tremendous stride in efficiency with the new firepower around him.

Still, this isn’t what Blatt signed up for. It’s no longer the same job Cleveland hired him to do.

“Without question the Cleveland team that I signed on to, compared to the Cleveland team of today, is different,” he said, via David Pick of Basketball Insiders.

This isn’t Blatt‘s team anymore. It’s LeBron’s.

It’s James’ legacy on the line; his players on the roster; and, if need be, his game plan to tweak. According to Fox Sports’ Sam Amico, James avoided the hyperbolic reactions others have had while discussing Blatt‘s schemes:

Maybe I’m reading too deep between the lines, but James calling it an OK fit leads me to believe it may be subject to change at some point. That’s not a knock on Blatt‘s coaching acumen, just an observation that at this point of his career, James knows what type of offense suits him best.

And expectations couldn’t be any higher for this offense, which is why this team factors heavily into preseason championship predictions despite having defensive holes on the interior and perimeter.

Fortunately, Blatt sounds like someone willing to hear what others have to say.

Blatt told Irving, “My offense is tailored to you, to all my players and what your strengths are,” via Shams Charania of Real GM. 

Cleveland’s offensive strength should be staggering, and the top-tier talent should complement one another brilliantly. Outside of his own observations and those of his players, Blatt can also draw from the impressive, experienced assistant staff he has built:

Blatt has been dealt a strong hand, maybe the best one in the league. And this isn’t his first time playing this game.

But the stage is brighter than ever. The stakes are almost impossibly high.

From aiming for the playoffs to now being graded on the treacherous championship-or-bust scale, Blatt is headed out on a journey he never could have foreseen taking.

This isn’t about joining a new basketball world. He needs to conquer it.

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Army grad Coach K takes USA team to West Point (Yahoo Sports)

United States basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, center, and team members applaud for cadets running an indoor obstacle course at the U.S. Military Academy on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in West Point, N.Y. Krzyzewski is a 1969 graduate of the academy. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — On the first day of classes at the United States Military Academy, he was clearly the big man on campus.


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Minnesota Timberwolves: Should Flip Saunders be the coach?

Flip Saunders is the best coach the Timberwolves have ever had in their history. He has the best record as a head coach and he’s the only coach to ever take the Timberwolves to the playoffs. However, he already is a part owner and President of Basketball Operations for the team, so is it a good idea to have him also be the coach of the team if he already has two positions in the organization?
Flip Saunders- Head Coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves
I say yes, but only for this year. For a coach to come in this year they would have had to deal with all the Kevin Love drama, not to mention they would have to be ready for the exhausting process of dealing with a young team that is in the midst of a rebuild. Saunders knows this team, can deal with the pressure and press from Love’s request to be traded and knows the direction he wants to take this team. Also it didn’t help that the main candidates for the job David Joerger took the head coaching job in Memphis Grizzlies instead of taking the same job with th

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Vanderbilt coach not allowing 2 players to return (Yahoo Sports)

Vanderbilt guard Kedren Johnson (2) reacts after a goal against Mississippi during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament, Saturday, March 16, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Coach Kevin Stallings says guards Kedren Johnson and Dai-Jon Parker will not be allowed to rejoin the Vanderbilt Commodores this season and are transferring. Stallings said being a Vanderbilt player is a privilege that comes with a ”high level of responsibility” on and off the court. Vanderbilt recruited six players who will be eligible this season.


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Vanderbilt coach not allowing 2 players to return

Stallings announces Johnson, Parker not allowed to return to Vanderbilt team, will transfer

      
 

 

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