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.
SYRACUSE — When it was over, Magic Johnson was all smiles.
Standing in front of the Michigan State bench, the Spartans legend was shaking hands, patting backs and offering encouraging words to the players who had just beaten Louisville 76-70 in overtime in the East Region final in the Carrier Dome to advance to the Final Four.
Mostly, though, the NBA legend offered still more support for Spartans coach Tom Izzo, who is headed to his seventh Final Four with a team that has 11 losses.
“It feels great,” Johnson said. “When March Madness comes, he just delivers his magic.”
The 51-year-old Naismith Hall of Famer has no head coaching experience and is currently an advisor to the Sacramento Kings. He would succeed Steve Lavin,who parted ways with the program on Friday after five years. Multiple sources said the Mullin-to-St. John’s hire was in the works before Lavin departed.
SYRACUSE — DePaul dipped into its past to forge a path toward the future.
The school has hired former coach Dave Leitao as its new coach. He will be introduced at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Loiter went 58-34 at DePaul from 2002-05, making two NITs and one NCAA Tournament. He then spent four years at Virginia, going 143-129 before serving as an assistant at Missouri and Tulsa under Frank Haith.
“This is a special day for my family and me,” said Leitao. “I underestimated what a special place DePaul University and the city of Chicago are when I left here in 2005. The dedication and support here to the growth of student success is second to none, not only for a basketball program but also for the entire student body. I’m proud and our team will be proud to represent this great institution in one of the world’s great cities. We will exude the work ethic that drives Chicago and the region every day and look forward to everyone joining us next season.”
SYRACUSE — Rhode Island coach Danny Hurley this week will sign a six-year extension that takes him through the 2020-21 season at the school and is no longer a candidate at St. John’s or any other school, a source told SNY.tv on Sunday.
Hurley had been considered a leading candidate to replace Steve Lavin at St. John’s, but later Sunday it came out that legendary former St. John’s player Chris Mullin is expected to take the job.
Georgetown-bound senior forward Jessie Govan finished with a team-high 24 points for Wings, who defeated unbeaten Class AA public school champion Shenendehowa in a semifinal on Friday night and defending PSAL AA champion Cardozo on March 14 to win the city title.
“We just dug down deep,” Govan told the Daily News. “We didn’t want to go home the last loser.”