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September 14, 2007

College hoops notes: Still searching

Two schools, Florida A&M and Texas Southern, still don't have coaches with the start of practice just four weeks away.

FAMU, an NCAA Tournament team last season as champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, has pared its list from five candidates down to two finalists - former Colorado assistant Paul Graham, who was the head coach at Washington State from 1999-2003, and Georgia State assistant Eugene Harris.

Both candidates for the job at the historically black college are black. The previous coach, Mike Gillespie Sr., is white.

Gillespie was fired in August after being arrested and charged with misdemeanor stalking in May. He pleaded no contest to the charge earlier this month and was sentenced to one year of probation. He also was ordered not to have any contact with the victim, a former girlfriend. Gillespie has been married for 34 years.

Harris has been on the job at Georgia State for only five months. Rod Barnes hired him to join his new staff in April. Harris' previous coaching stops include South Alabama, Clemson, Auburn and Alabama

The Houston Chronicle reported that the leading candidate at Texas Southern is Kevin Granger. He is the school's leading career scorer and led the nation in scoring in 1996.

La. Tech snags top transfers

Two of the most coveted big men from the class of 2005 will be suiting up for Louisiana Tech in 2008-09. Former Oklahoma State center Kenneth Cooper, who is from Monroe, La., recently transferred to the WAC school. Former LSU power forward Magnum Rolle did the same in June. Both must sit out next season and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Rolle was the No. 18 prospect in his class by Rivals.com. Cooper was the No. 5 center and No. 72 overall.

"I just want to be close to home," Cooper told Rivals.com.

Cooper, who averaged 4.8 ppg and 3.0 rpg a game last season, was expected to start and play a bigger role for the Cowboys with the loss of star forward Mario Boggan. LSU hoped Rolle could help replace Tyrus Thomas, but he ended up coming off the bench for most of last season. He averaged 4.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Former Nebraska guard Jamel White also transferred to Louisiana Tech earlier this week. White, who also will have two years of eligibility remaining, averaged 9.3 ppg last season.

Bruin delivers for Cameroon

Cameroon's national team has UCLA junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to thank for its first medal of any kind and a spot in the 2008 Olympics.

Mbah a Moute showed a versatile game while leading Cameroon to the final of the 24th FIBA Africa Championship in Angola last month. He averaged 13.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.0 steals a game.

Mbah a Moute has been forced to play in the post for much of his college career because of a lack of frontcourt depth at UCLA. But with the arrival of prize recruit Kevin Love - Rivals.com's top-ranked center in the class of 2007 - Mbah a Moute will get to operate more on the perimeter, where he is much more dangerous.

Tip-ins

  • Matt Painter has promoted Cuonzo Martin to associate head coach at Purdue. Martin has been on the Boilermakers' staff since Gene Keady hired him in 2000. He and Painter also were teammates during their playing days at Purdue. "I'm very fortunate and flattered to be a part of such a great staff," Martin said in a school news release. "I feel honored to work at Purdue and continue to develop young men in our basketball program." Martin helped the Boilermakers land the nation's No. 7 recruiting class according to Rivals.com.

  • Former West Virginia guard Patrick Beilein was planning on working as a graduate assistant on his father's staff at Michigan, but he recently chose to play professionally in Ireland instead.

  • Nebraska may travel the least of any team in the Big 12. The Huskers leave their home state once before Big 12 play begins, making a trip to Western Kentucky.

  • New Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik will return to Air Force when the Buffaloes travel to Colorado Springs on Nov. 29. Bzdelik coached the Falcons to an 84-46 rout of the Buffaloes last season.

    Andrew Skwara is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at askwara@rivals.com.
    Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.



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