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.
MINNEAPOLIS — Virginia coach Tony Bennett was recruiting at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest in the spring of 2014 watching one player on the New Heights AAU team when his eyes were drawn to a 6-foot-3 point guard competing against Markelle Fultz and the DC Blue Devils.
Ty Jerome ended up leading New Heights to the championship over Fultz’s team, and Bennett knew he liked the kid. But he wasn’t completely convinced.
“I kept saying, man, he’s really good, but in my mind, I’m like, no, no, he’s not moving that well,” Bennett recalled Thursday at the Final Four where Virginia will face Auburn in one national semifinal on Saturday. “I don’t know. But, man, he’s really good.”
At that point, Jerome held scholarship offers from George Washington, Temple and Davidson, among others, but none of the big boys were yet involved for the Iona Prep (N.Y.) floor general.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chris Beard has never ventured far from the work, work, work approach that guided his career on its winding path through obscure, overlooked coaching jobs.
No reason to change it, not with Beard guiding Texas Tech to college basketball’s biggest stage at the Final Four — and now recognition as The Associated Press men’s college basketball coach of the year.
“I’ve always believed you have to be who you are,” Beard said in an interview with the AP. “You can never forget who you are. … Sometimes as you advance in the profession and the logo on your shirt changes or the title next to your name changes, you kind of change. I’ve never wanted to do that.”
Beard earned 20 of 64 votes from the same panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25, with voters submitting ballots before the start of the NCAA Tournament. Beard’s team had won a share of its first Big 12 regular-season title at the time of the voting. In the tournament, Texas Tech pushed past top-seeded Gonzaga to win the West and earn its ticket to Minneapolis.