Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Travis Ford new basketball coach at Saint Louis

Travis Ford, shown here coaching Oklahoma State in game this season, is reportedly the new head basketball coach at Saint Louis, replacing Jim Crews.
Travis Ford, shown here coaching Oklahoma State in game this season, is reportedly the new head basketball coach at Saint Louis, replacing Jim Crews. The Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Wednesday:

Travis Ford hired as new coach at Saint Louis, reports Stu Durando of the Post-Dispatch. “St. Louis University has offered its head basketball coaching job to former Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, and he has accepted, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Tuesday night.”

Even opponents agree UK’s backcourt will be special next season, reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “It’s been difficult to know where to look this week at the Quest Multisport basketball complex, home of the McDonald’s All-American Game practices. Train your eye on one court, and there’s De’Aaron Fox, slashing in transition, juking past a defender and throwing up a scoop shot at an impossible angle that somehow finds the bottom of the net.”

McDonald’s coaches break down UK’s incoming recruits, reports Roberts. “The main thing about Bam is, he’s a man right now,” coach Jack Doss said. “He’s physically ready to step into college and play. He didn’t have as good of a practice the first day, and after practice he said, ‘Coach, tomorrow I’ll have a better practice.’ So his attitude of getting better, that’s a great quality that he’s got. He’s going to be a good player because he wants to be a good player.”

AP All-Americans can laugh at their recruiting rankings, reports Rick Bozich of WDRB. “The Associated Press released its three-team, 15-member college basketball all-American squads Tuesday. Guess how many of the top 15 guys ranked as Top 15 players in their high school classes?”

Consistency has been the key for Cole Mosier, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “It became a running joke among Kentucky’s offensive linemen last season: What position would coaches play Cole Mosier that week?”

Kevin Stallings departure means more new blood for SEC basketball, says my column. “The logical choice would seem to be 47-year-old King Rice, who was an assistant at Vanderbilt under Stallings from 2006 through 2011. He’s been the coach at Monmouth for the past five seasons, leading the Hawks to a 28-8 record and a 17-3 Metro Atlantic record this season.”

Eddie Fogler will head up Vandy search, reports Adam Sparks of the Tennessean. “Fogler’s task is to replace Kevin Stallings, who finished a 17-year run as Vanderbilt’s all-time winningest coach by taking the Pittsburgh job. More than 100 potential applicants already have contacted Williams and Fogler, according to the AD.”

Vandy should try and lure Auriemma for men’s team, says Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Before Vanderbilt hires anyone else to replace Kevin Stallings as men's basketball coach, the Commodores should first make Connecticut women's coach Geno Auriemma say no. It's really that simple, as are the overwhelming reasons for such an unfathomably bold move.”

Ivana Jakubcova will transfer from UK women’s team, reports the Herald-Leader. “Ivana has made the decision that it’s best for her to leave our program and finish her collegiate career elsewhere,” head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We support her in this decision and wish her well on and off the court.”

Florida hopes renovated O’Connell Center will bring fans, reports Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. “As Florida began the demolition phase of the O’Connell Center renovation project last weekend, there’s hope that a new building interior will result in more fans passing through the turnstiles. Simply put, Florida basketball wasn’t as hot a ticket in 2015-16. Average attendance dipped 8.4 percent to 9,686 fans this past season, UF’s lowest attendance figures since averaging 9,018 fans in 1998-99.”

UK’s Tyler Ulis was named first-team All-American, reports AP. “Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield were unanimous selections to The Associated Press’ 2015-16 All-America team. Valentine and Hield were on every first-team ballot from the 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly poll. Tyler Ulis of Kentucky was next with 43 first-team votes, while Brice Johnson of North Carolina received 39 and Malcolm Brogdon of Virginia had 36.”

Kirby Smart admits to meeting about open records law, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. “Kirby Smart stopped short of identifying himself as a lobbyist. But when Georgia’s football head coach visited the state Capitol in Atlanta a little more than a month ago, he found himself in such a role — whether he believes he was or not. A House amendment to Senate Bill 323 was agreed upon and passed with the underlying bill last week, a little past midnight on March 23, which will allow for state athletics departments to delay open records requests for 90 days as opposed to three, which is what the law currently states.”

Kentucky baseball loses to Northern Kentucky, reports UKAA. “A pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning lifted Northern Kentucky to a 5-4 win over No. 12 Kentucky, on Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Kentucky (17-7) and NKU traded two-run innings early in the game, before UK took a 3-2 advantage into the sixth inning. NKU then rallied with three runs, as UK committed an error and had a defender slip while chasing a routine fly ball in the outfield during the inning, allowing the Norse to score the decisive runs.”

Montrezl Harrell suspended five games for shoving ref, reports C-J. “Former Louisville All-ACC forward Montrezl Harrell was suspended five games without pay by the National Basketball Development League for pushing a referee to the ground in a game Saturday night, according to a release from the league.”

McDonald’s All-American Game

When: Wednesday, 9 p.m.

Where: United Center in Chicago

TV: ESPN

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