Air Force hires a coach and Saint Louis fires one; USC's Young going pro Print
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Tuesday, 17 April 2007 16:29
NCAAB Headline News


 Air Force turned to a familiar face to fill its coaching vacancy and Saint Louis fired its coach after five seasons without an NCAA tournament bid.
The Falcons promoted Reynolds, an assistant the last two seasons, to head coach on Tuesday. He replaces good friend Jeff Bzdelik, who left for Colorado in early April.
The 50-year old Reynolds was all set to follow Bzdelik to Boulder as an assistant. Reynolds had already cleaned out his desk at Air Force, said his goodbyes and moved all his personal belongings into his new confines at Colorado. He'd even been given a new wardrobe of Colorado clothing.
But then Falcons athletic director Hans Mueh called Sunday morning to make him the seventh basketball coach in program history.
So now he's trying to find time to sneak back up to Boulder and clean out his Colorado office.
``We knew we had a gem in our backyard,'' said Mueh, who interviewed close to a dozen applicants, including assistants Larry Mangino and A.J. Kuhle.
Saint Louis coach Brad Soderberg was fired after five seasons, a move tied to the school's new $80.5 million arena under construction and his failure to produce an NCAA tournament bid.
The school announced the move in a statement, saying the success of the Chaifetz Arena, scheduled to open for the 2008-09 season, was contingent on a program that could contend for conference championships.
Later Tuesday, Angres Thorpe was made interim coach. Thorpe has been an assistant at Saint Louis since 2002 and was Soderberg's lead assistant in 2006-07.
Saint Louis was 20-13 last season, Soderberg's first 20-win season and the school's first 20-win season since 1997-98, and finished in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic-10 Conference. But the Billikens haven't made it to the NCAA tournament since 2000.
Also on the college coaching front, Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton agreed to a seven-year contract extension, less than a week after he withdrew from consideration for the Wichita State job.
Sutton is the second-winningest coach in school history with a 144-102 record in eight seasons.
``We believe Scott Sutton is one of the finest coaches in the country, and we want him as part of the ORU family for a long time,'' athletic director Mike Carter said.
Several players talked about their futures on Tuesday.
Southern California junior Nick Young decided to pass up his senior season and enter the NBA draft.
``I want to buy my mom her first house. That's one of the main reasons I made this decision,'' Young said at a news conference on campus. ``It was tough for us. They've been behind me all the way.
``The opportunity was there to help them have a better life. It's a blessing. I'm very grateful for everything that's going on.''
Young, the sixth-leading scorer in USC history, said he will hire an agent, making his decision irrevocable.
In Washington, Big East player of the year Jeff Green said there is a ``70-30'' chance he will return to Georgetown for his senior season.
Green and fellow junior Roy Hibbert submitted their names as early-entry candidates for the NBA draft last week. Neither has hired an agent, so both could return to fulfill their oft-stated goal of playing four years with the Hoyas.
``Right now, 70-30 - 70 coming back,'' Green said. ``It depends on whether I'm ready. I still have a lot of things I need to work on to play at that level.''
Both players are potential lottery picks, and both said they want to get a gauge of what their NBA value is now and what it might be if they stay in school another year.
``Do I want to go eight-through-14, or do I want to go top three next year?'' Hibbert said. ``That does play a factor in my decision.''
Hibbert put his odds of returning at 50-50, even though he said Green is the more NBA-ready player. Should both return, coach John Thompson III's team could be a favorite to win the NCAA title next season. The Hoyas made the Final Four this year before losing to Ohio State in the national semifinals.
Green and Hibbert have until June 18 to withdraw their names if they want to return to Georgetown. The draft is June 28.
Indiana forward D.J. White said he will return for his senior year after leading the Hoosiers in scoring and rebounding last season.
 

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