Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Source: UCLA Boosters Want Mark Gottfried; Coach Says He’s ‘Committed’ to N.C. State (UPDATED)
With Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens apparently out of the mix at UCLA, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told SNY.tv that the school’s boosters support the hiring of N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried.
“Mark said he wants it and the boosters want Mark Gottfried,” the source told SNY.tv. “He’s got the support of the boosters.”
Smart has reportedly negotiated an extension at VCU through 2023 that will pay him $1.5 million annually, while Stevens is said to want to avoid the limelight associated with Los Angeles.
“Shaka and Brad Stevens were their top choices,” the source said. “Neither of them wants it.”
Gottfried has deep ties to UCLA, having served as an assistant there for eight years, including the 1994-95 national championship season under Jim Harrick.
Still, Gottfried has a $3.75 million buyout in his contract so it would be costly for the Bruins, according to the Charlotte Observer. His current contract runs through the 2017-18 season.
Gottfried Tweeted this late Wednesday: “#WPN I am committed to being at @NCState for a long time Still as dedicated to rebuilding the program as I was 2 yrs ago when I arrived.”
Under Gottfried, N.C. State has won 48 games in two seasons, yet they lost to Temple in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
As we reported here earlier today, N.C. State will lose four players next year, including juniors C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown to the NBA Draft.
“I can see why he probably wants to get out of there,” the source said of Gottfried.
UCLA AD Dan Guerrero has said he wants to hire “someone who plays a fun brand of basketball.
“We don’t want to bring in a coach who averages 50 points per game,” he told the L.A. Times.
As the Observer pointed out, Gottfried’s Wolfpack averaged 77.4 points per game this season, 10th-best in the nation.
The source also said that UCLA is looking to retain assistant Korey McCray, who was instrumental in recruiting current freshmen Tony Parker and Jordan Adams and is “holding everything together.”
“If Korey McCray is doing a good job, I think that he would be a good hire for anybody,” Virgil Parker, Tony’s father, told SNY.tv .
Virgil added that they haven’t heard from Guerrero and have made no plans as of yet.
“I haven’t really talked to anybody from UCLA,” he said. “I’m waiting to see what Tony wants to do. He’s going to be home today (Tuesday) and that’s going to give us a chance to talk about it.”
While Shabazz Muhammad is expected to turn pro and Larry Drew II will graduate, the new coach could have a solid core with David and Travis Wear, Norman Powell and rising sophomores Kyle Anderson, Parker and Adams.
“As of right now, he just wants to see who they’re bringing in,” Virgil Parker said, adding that this was a “hard year” for his son, who averaged only 6.3 minutes and 2.4 points per game.
Virgil Parker said he wanted a coach who emphasized work in the weight room, and pointed to Kansas and Miami as examples of schools that did.
“Some coaches don’t take that as important,” he said. “The weight room is not as important as others. From that aspect I would like to see somebody take on a change into that part of the game.”
Meantime, UCLA has commits from shooting guards Zach LaVine and Allerik Freeman and small forward Noah Allen and is involved with Philly point guard Rysheed Jordan, who is also considering St. John’s and Temple and will announce April 15.
The 6-4 Freeman, whose Findlay Prep team is preparing for next week’s ESPN NHSI, told SNY.tv that McCray “broke the news to me [about the firing] but I’m still committed.”
He added: “I haven’t heard the candidates, but I just want to win.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.