Coaching Carousel Update: Mississippi State Fires Ray; Donovan Linked to NBA; Barbee Linked to Nevada, Jones Linked to Fordham | Zagsblog
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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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Tuesday / April 23.
  • Coaching Carousel Update: Mississippi State Fires Ray; Donovan Linked to NBA; Barbee Linked to Nevada, Jones Linked to Fordham

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    ncb_u_ray_mb_300x200CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mississippi State has fired coach Rick Ray.

    The 44-year-old Ray posted a 37-60 record in three seasons at Mississippi State, including a  13-19 overall mark and 6-12 in the SEC this season.

    Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne has already surfaced on Twitter as a popular potential replacement. Payne interviewed for the job in 2012.

    Meantime, Andy Katz is touting former UCLA coach Ben Howland, who is also closely linked to the DePaul opening.

    “After much thought and deliberation, I have made the decision to replace Rick Ray as Mississippi State’s men’s basketball coach,” AD Scott Stricklin said. “This has been a difficult decision, as I have the utmost respect for Rick, and am highly appreciative of the effort he put forth in leading our basketball program. To Rick’s credit, we have seen great strides from our student-athletes in several areas, including academics. However, the on-court results have not been satisfactory. In order for MSU to achieve success at the levels to which we aspire, I believe that a change is necessary at this time.”

    “Men’s basketball is important to Mississippi State University, and history illustrates that we can compete for championships on a consistent basis. MSU has won six SEC championships, in four different decades, under three different coaches. We have seen the Bulldogs play in the sport’s final weekend, and I firmly believe there are more achievements like those in our future.”

    “The search for a new head coach begins immediately, and I’m confident we will identify someone who wants to be a part of the winning culture that is occurring at Mississippi State University.”

    Mississippi State was in the mix for five-star guard Malik Newman of Callaway (MS), who is also considering Kentucky, LSU, N.C. State, Ole Miss and others.

    His father, Horatio Webster, played at Mississippi State.



    The Billy Donovan to the NBA rumors are percolating once again.

    ESPN’s Marc Stein wrote that Donovan is considering making a move, with the Orlando Magic once again a potential landing spot. Donovan famously accepted the Magic job in 2007, only to have a change of heart and return to Florida.

    “There is a growing sense in NBA coaching circles that Florida’s Billy Donovan will give renewed consideration to making a move to the pros after a rough (by his standards) season in Gainesville,” Stein wrote. “Although there is no firm indication yet that the Orlando Magic will pursue Donovan again when they ramp up their coaching search in late April, it’s a scenario that’s bound to be talked about.”



    Nevada is targeting Kentucky special assistant Tony Barbee and the two sides are expected to meet next week, according to Gary Parrish of….The latest named linked to the Fordham opening is Yale coach James Jones, a source told The Bulldogs went 22-10 this season, losing the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament to arch-rival Harvard in a one-game playoff…As reported here earlier, St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said he expects to get an extension.

    Photo: USA Today Sports

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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