College basketball notebook: Vanderbilt fires Drew
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[March 23, 2019]
Source: FIELD LEVEL MEDIA
Vanderbilt fired basketball coach Bryce Drew after a 9-23 season
punctuated by a winless conference record, the school announced
Drew, 44, was halfway into a six-year contract. In three years at
the helm of the Commodores, Drew compiled a 40-59 record. His tenure
started with a promising season in 2016-17 that ended in a 19-16
record and an NCAA Tournament berth, but it was followed by a pair
of sub-.500 seasons.
This season, the Commodores were 0-18 in Southeastern Conference
games, the first team to go without a win in the league in 65 years.
Vanderbilt has hired consulting search firm Korn Ferry to lead the
search for a new head coach.
Drew moved to Vanderbilt after five seasons as coach of his alma
mater, Valparaiso. There, he compiled a 124-49 record in five
seasons (2011-16), with the Crusaders winning four Horizon League
regular-season championships and appearing in the NCAA Tournament
--A loss in the first round of the NIT might have been the end of
coach Avery Johnson's run at Alabama. ESPN reported that the
university is negotiating a buyout of Johnson's contract after the
top-seeded Crimson Tide were stunned 80-79 in overtime at home by
Norfolk State on Wednesday night.
Johnson, who turns 54 on Monday, became Alabama's coach in 2015, but
the Crimson Tide have made just one NCAA Tournament in his four
seasons at the helm.
Johnson's current contract runs through 2023 and pays him
approximately $3 million annually. It calls for the school to pay
him $8 million if he's fired without cause before April 15, but they
amount falls to $6 million after that. In his four seasons at
Alabama, Johnson is 75-62 with a 34-38 conference record.
--Wake Forest coach Danny Manning will return next season, despite a
second consecutive 20-loss season, the school announced.
Manning, 52, took over as coach of the Demon Deacons before the
2014-15 season and has posted a 65-93 record in five seasons. During
Manning's tenure, Wake Forest is 0-26 against Atlantic Coast
Conference foes Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia.
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Wake Forest has made one NCAA Tournament appearance in that time --
a First Four loss in 2017 -- but three 11-20 seasons have been
sandwiched around the lone winning year. The Demon Deacons have just
five 20-loss seasons in history, with three of them under Manning's
--Ja Morant stole the show in Hartford on Thursday, but the Murray
State flash opened eyes nationwide with his triple-double
performance that led his 12th-seeded Racers into the second round in
a blowout of Marquette.
Among the observers wowed by the sophomore point guard was another
former NCAA Tournament darling, one-time Davidson dynamo Steph
Curry. "What he did on Thursday, it shows you he's ready for
whatever," Curry told Yahoo Sports. "That transition to the NBA
isn't going to be difficult at all for him."
Morant posted 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds, becoming just
the eighth player to post a triple-double in an NCAA Tournament game
and the first since Draymond Green at Michigan State. Green was
paying attention, too, telling Yahoo: "That was my first time
watching him play, and he's for real."
--Texas freshman Jaxson Hayes is expected to make a full recovery
after a scary injury to his left knee in a Big 12 tournament
quarterfinal loss to Kansas last week, the school announced.
The 6-foot-11 forward, a potential lottery pick in June's NBA Draft,
was injured with about two minutes left in the game when a cutting
Jayhawks player collided with his leg near the baseline.
After being checked out by multiple specialists, it was determined
Hayes suffered a bone bruise, but no structural damage. His recovery
time is reportedly "a matter of weeks." The Big 12 Freshman of the
Year averaged 10 points, five rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots in 32
games (21 starts) for the Longhorns.
--Field Level Media
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