Author Archives: Ben Frederickson

About Ben Frederickson

Ben Frederickson joined the News Sentinel in October 2013 to cover Tennessee men's basketball and UT athletics. He previously covered college and professional sports as a regional writer in St. Louis, University of Wyoming athletics for the Casper Star-Tribune and University of Missouri athletics for the Columbia Missourian and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Frederickson grew up in Sedalia, Mo. He graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism in May of 2012.

Vols basketball coach Rick Barnes discusses (brief) TV career

Tennessee fans know they landed an accomplished basketball coach in Rick Barnes.

Some might not have known he’s also a professional actor. Or at least he was — once.

Barnes made an appearance on NBC’s hit TV show “Friday Night Lights” back when he coached the Texas basketball team. He played a football coach in the 11th episode of Season Two, and he’s still reaping the rewards. They include a Screen Actor’s Guild card, an Oscar vote and an occasional royalty of “about 17 or 18 bucks.”

“That came about because my son was living in California,” Barnes told Sports Radio’s SportsTalk on Friday. “I flew back and was sitting beside this guy. I just started carrying on a conversation with him. He told me he was an actor in “Friday Night Lights.” I said, ‘Really?’ They were doing all that in Austin, Texas. He actually sad that everyone on the plane is part of that cast in some way. He pointed to his left and said, ‘That guy right there is in charge of the whole thing.’ He was asleep. I’d gotten up and went to the restroom, and when I came back to my seat, he was awake. And he asked me if I would do a cameo.”

Barnes recruited the show’s top running back, Brian “Smash” Williams, during his cameo. Spoiler alert: Barnes revealed the actor who plays smash, Gaius Charles, said he never touched a football in his life before his role on the show. Barnes joked that it might not be his last acting gig.

“I’m getting ready to stop coaching and get into acting full-time, you know?” he said. “There are a few roles on TV I think I would be really good for. All the roles that (Kevin) Costner and (Clint) Eastwood play, they should have cast me in some of those roles.”

Barnes also told the radio show’s hosts, Jimmy Hyams and Jesse Smithey, that he was conducting this radio interview while in the back of a limousine on the way to a charity event.

Sounds like he’s ready for Hollywood.

Some other highlights from the interview, which you can listen to in full here, included:

  • Two of Barnes’ three UT commitments are from Canada. He was asked if a better brand of basketball is being taught in Canada than the United States.
    Barnes: “I can say this to you without reservation: Every Canadian kid that we have ever coached has a passion, and their work ethic is unbelievable. I can tell you, up to this point, and I don’t think it will be any different, the three Canadians we coached while we were at Texas, those guys would be in the top-10 in terms of putting time in the gym, staying in the gym and wanting to be as good as they can be. I do think there is someway, somehow a work ethic that is put in place there, and a love for the game. They’re getting some great coaching at the grassroots level.”
  • Barnes was asked what it’s like when players leave a program after a coaching change. How hard is he working to get them to stay?
    Barnes: “The key is honesty. You’ve got to sit down, and you’re always going to lay out your program the way that you want it to go — what you’re looking for going forward, what’s going to be expected, what’s going to be the culture you’re trying to create. And sometimes it’s just not what the player is looking for. Sometimes it’s not what the coach is looking for … We want it to work for everyone. But we’ve done this long enough to know that it’s not going to work (for everyone). Sometimes it’s just better that everyone gets a fresh start. You never know how that’s going to work out, but it seems to always take care of itself.”
  • Barnes also said the Vols “could end up on the road” for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge this season. The slate of games should be announced sometime this week.

Vols basketball target Kyle Alexander nearing announcement

kyle alexander

  • Tennessee 2015 basketball target Kyle Alexander is nearing a decision between UT and New Mexico and will make his announcement Thursday or Friday, the three-star forward told the News Sentinel in a text message on Wednesday night.
    “Still deciding with my family,” Alexander said.
    Alexander told the News Sentinel on Monday that he hoped to finalize his pick before the end of the week.
    The 6-foot-10 1/2, 200-pound Canadian out of Orangeville Prep in Orangeville, Ontario visited New Mexico last weekend and UT the weekend before.
  • UT 2015 point guard commitment Lamonte’ Turner doesn’t expect to sign his letter of intent until later this month, he told the News Sentinel in a text message Monday. Turner, who plays for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., said he wants to wait until he is back home in Alabama with his family before he signs. UT cannot announce Turner’s addition, and UT coach Rick Barnes cannot comment on him publicly, until he signs.
  • Add University of Arkansas at Little Rock graduate transfer James White to the recruiting radar. ESPN’s Jeff Borzello reported Wednesday that UT is among the teams pursuing the 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward. The competition includes Memphis, Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Wichita State, George Washington, VCU, Ole Miss and Arkansas. White averaged 11.9 points and 6.6 rebounds last season, but missed the final 15 games due to a stress fracture, according to Troy Schulte of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. White averaged 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds as a redshirt sophomore. He averaged 7.2 points and 3.6 rebounds as a redshirt freshman. The Jonesboro, Ga., native redshirted in 2011-12 due to tendinitis in his knee.





Update on Tennessee target Ebuka Izundu’s recruitment


Tennessee basketball recruiting target Ebuka Izundu enjoyed his official visit with the Vols last weekend, but the four-star power forward plans to take three more official visits before deciding where he will play, according to his high school coach.

Victory Christian Center School (Charlotte, N.C.) coach Aureice McCain told the News Sentinel on Wednesday that Izundu will visit Miami this weekend and Arkansas next weekend before taking his final official visit to Texas Tech. Izundu has already taken official visits to Cincinnati and Tennessee.

McCain said Izundu plans to pick between the five schools he visited. The target date for his announcement is May 15.

“It went well,” McCain said of Izundu’s visit with the Vols. “Ebuka said he really liked the school, but he’s still keeping his options open.”

“He said it was a nice campus. Good coaching staff. He was impressed with the facilities. He felt like that academic staff and stuff were good. He likes it, but he’s excited about seeing the other schools as well.”

McCain said the commitment of junior-college power forward Ray Kasongo to UT on Tuesday wouldn’t necessarily hurt the Vols’ chances of landing Izundu.

“That guy coming in, he’s a junior college kid, so he only has two years,” McCain said. “Ebuka has four, but still he wants to produce and be able to come in and contribute from the beginning.”

UT assistant coach Desmond Oliver, a former Charlotte assistant coach, is the lead on the recruitment of Izundu, a former Charlotte signee.

Scouting service 247Sports ranks the 6-foot-10, 210-pound Izundu the No. 70 player in the 2015 class and the No. 18 power forward.

Emptying the notebook on Tennessee’s two new commits


What a day. Tennessee basketball doubled the size of its 2015 signing class Tuesday, thanks to the commitments of point guard Lamonte’ Turner and power forward Ray Kasongo. I crammed as much as I could into tomorrow’s News Sentinel story, but here is some more info that either didn’t make the cut or had to be trimmed down.

  • Don’t forget the proper punctuation on the end of Lamonte’. You’ll see it as “Lamonte” online (and in the previous stories I’ve written about him), but he says that’s incorrect.
  • Lamonte’ Turner said he is a cousin of Ralston Turner. Remember Ralston? He’s the former NC State guard who hung 33 points on the Vols during the Wolfpack’s win in Raleigh last season. “He actually text me today after I committed,” Lamonte’ Turner said. “He said ‘Congratualtions, man. Ask your teammates. I killed them.'”
    He really did.
  • There was some confusion surrounding Turner’s commitment. Reports that he would commit to Alabama conflicted with reports that he did not have an official offer from the Crimson Tide. A well-placed Alabama source told Cecil Hurt of he Tuscaloosa News that committing to Alabama wasn’t even an option for Turner. Cecil is nails on the Alabama beat and I don’t doubt his reporting. But Turner refuted the notion that he didn’t have an Alabama offer.
    “I do have an Alabama offer,” he said. “I’m guessing they were saying that because they felt they weren’t going to get me.”
    Who knows what really happened there. Add some more fuel to the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry.
  • The commitment of Turner could help the re-recruitment of Romello White. White, a four-star power forward in the 2016 class, de-committed from the Vols after the Donnie Tyndall-to- Rick Barnes coaching change. Turner said he’s trying to get his teammate at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) back on board.
    “I really think it’s a possibility,” Turner said, “With some work we can get him.”

kasongo jump


  • Kasongo, who averaged six points and 4.9 rebounds at College of Southern Idaho last season, considers himself a stretch four. He says he can shoot the three despite missing the one attempt he took last season.
    “I didn’t display it as much,” he admitted. “I’m a really good shot blocker. I like to beat guys off the dribble. I have a really good post game. I’m a physical player. I run up and down the court.”
    I’ll wait to see the 3-point prowess, but I’ll buy the shot-blocking. He averaged. 2.2 blocks last season.
  • Jerry Meyer, director of basketball scouting with 247Sports, weighed in on both additions. He said both are good gets for UT, based on the remaining options.
    “He’s a quick player, very good in open space,” Meyer said of Turner. “Where he needs to get better is building strength and becoming stronger with the ball. He’s loose, wiry and good in space. He has a game built around quickness.”
    Meyer said Kasongo is an athletic big man who, thanks to having a junior-college season under his belt, will be able to offer immediate help in the post.
    “His athleticism is the main thing,” Meyer said. “He’s strong. He can defend the five man. I would assume he’s going to spend a lot of time battling inside, defending the big men Tennessee plays against. His defense and athleticism is ahead of his offense. Day one, you are going to get a guy who is physical enough. He’s ready to play and not scared. He’s going to defend and battle on the boards. Whatever you get offensively is icing on the cake.”
  • Barnes and his staff can’t comment on the commitments until they are signed and through compliance, but the Tennessee basketball Twitter account gave a nod to the two-commitment day tonight.

Recruiting Update: Tennessee still searching for a point guard


Josh Richardson is training for the NBA draft. The player who will replace him as Tennessee’s point guard is still to-be-determined. Here’s an update on some of the options that have been linked to UT coach Rick Barnes and his staff.

  • UT assistant coach Desmond Oliver visited IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this week to meet with Lamonte Turner. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound point guard plans to reclassify to the 2015 class, moving up his college enrollment by a year. Scouting service 247Sports ranked the three-star prospect as the No. 91 player in the 2016 class and the No. 17 point guard. Former UT coach Donnie Tyndall’s staff offered Turner a scholarship in June. He visited unofficially in October.

  • Villanova graduate transfer point guard Dylan Ennis has removed the Vols from consideration. He told ESPN he will pick between Baylor, Oregon and Illinois.
  • Southern Florida graduate transfer point guard Anthony Collins visited Baylor last week and started a visit to Texas A&M on Thursday, according to UT is reportedly on Collins’ list of potential landing spots. I’ve reached out to him about his recruitment, but have not heard back.

Canadian forward Kyle Alexander has offer, will visit Vols

kyle alexander

Add Kyle Alexander’s name to the list of prospects the Tennessee basketball team will host this weekend.

The 6-10 1/2, 200-pound Canadian power forward out of Orangeville Prep in Ontario confirmed he and his parents will board a flight Thursday for this weekend’s official visit with the Vols. He’ll come with a scholarship offer in hand. Alexander said UT offered him “about two weeks” before Vols coach Rick Barnes and associate head coach Rob Lanier visited him at his school on Monday. Lanier had scouted Alexander when he and Barnes were coaching at Texas.

“They told me they have had success bringing in other Canadians they found potential in,” Alexander said during a phone interview Wednesday. “They brought that potential out. My dad really respects that.”

I’ll have more on Alexander this week. Similar to Ebuka Izundu, another prospect Tennessee has arranged an official visit with, Alexander is a relative newcomer to the sport. Despite a father (Joseph Alexander) who played for Niagara and a sister (Kayla Alexander) who plays in the WNBA, he didn’t become serious about the sport until he was 16. Now he holds offers from Tennessee, Rice, Dayton, New Mexico, Auburn, Western Kentucky and Arkansas. Not bad for someone who isn’t ranked on American recruiting services.

Alexander said he has no timetable for when he would like to make a decision. His official visit to UT will be his third of five available. His first two went to St. Bonaventure and Rice.

Other expected UT visitors for the weekend include UNC Asheville transfer guard Andrew Rowsey and Southern Idaho junior college prospect Ray Kasongo. 2015 signee Shembari Phillips is also scheduled to be on campus. It’s a good time for visits, as the football team’s Orange and White game will take place at Neyland Stadium on Saturday. Izundu is expected to arrive Sunday to start his official visit.


Ebuka Izundu schedules official visit with Tennessee basketball


A sought-after unsigned power-forward in the 2015 class has scheduled an official visit with the Tennessee men’s basketball team.

Ebuka Izundu plans to arrive in Knoxville on Sunday and depart Tuesday, Victory Christian (Charlotte, N.C.) basketball coach Aureice McCain told the News Sentinel in a phone interview on Tuesday night.

McCain said the 6-foot-9, 210-pound Izundu has picked up about 20 scholarship offers since he received his release from his letter of intent at Charlotte. To illustrated his point, McCain said coaches from three well-known schools stopped by Victory Christian on Tuesday. Izundu is the No. 4 player in North Carolina and the No. 58 power forward in the 2015 class, according to 247 Sports. The scouting service ranks him as a four-star prospect. He’s a three-star in the 247Sports composite.

The coaching change at Charlotte that led to Izundu receiving his release might help the Vols. UT assistant coach Desmond Oliver, a Charlotte assistant under former 49ers coach Alan Major, was one of the first coaches to scout Izundu.

“Coach Oliver was the first coach to see him when a lot of coaches wouldn’t return my phone calls and emails,” McCain said.

But McCain stressed Izundu’s recruitment is wide open, pointing out that those who jumped to conclusions based on Oliver’s Charlotte connection are reaching too far. He also made it clear Izundu has not received an offer from Kentucky, despite chatter that the Wildcats are interested. McCain said the upcoming visit to Tennessee is the only one Izundu has scheduled right now.

I’ll have more on Izundu tomorrow. His story is interesting. He’s originally from Lagos, Nigeria and hasn’t been playing basketball all that long. But his upside has caught the attention of a ton of teams, and the Vols are going to get a shot to make a good impression.





Rick Barnes Rewind: 5 answers from Tennessee’s new hoops coach


Just when, exactly, did Tennessee become a potential landing spot for Barnes?

Barnes said during his introductory press conference Tuesday that he knew things were in motion toward him becoming a Vol when he told reporters in Austin last Sunday that he would coach again sooner than they thought. He flew to Knoxville with Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart the same day. But Tennessee was on his brain even before Barnes and Hart first spoke by phone about the job last Saturday, the day after Hart fired former Vols coach Donnie Tyndall. Barnes told WVLT that his friend Dave Odom mentioned Tennessee as a possibility “weeks before” he was hired. Odom, a former college basketball coach, now works as a senior consultant for Collegiate Sports Associates, the search firm Tennessee used to hire Barnes.

“A friend of mine, Dave Odom, had been talking to me weeks before, just because he wanted to know how I was doing and this and that,” Barnes told WVLT. “He actually at one point in time said, hey, maybe if something else is out there, maybe you should think about it. But when it did develop, and he and I had talked, and once the situation was revolved at Texas, a couple hours later — probably really about four hours later — I had my first conversation with Dave Hart. It moved very quickly from there.”

Will Barnes recruit any of his former Texas commitments or signees? 

Nope. Not according to Barnes’ interview with Sports Radio WNML. And he will honor the letters of signed by Tennessee’s two 2015 signees. The players already on the roster are already his, he said.

“They are my players,” Barnes told Sports Radio WNML. “Right now. They are my players. I am Tennessee. I’m the Tennessee basketball coach. Anyone that is in the Tennessee basketball program, whether we recruited them or not, they are our players. Andd I’m going to treat them the way I would expect my son to be treated if he was in this situation. They are my players. I’m going to make the right decisions and do everything I can. Whatever is going to happen over the next couple of weeks, I don’t know that. But I’m going to be upfront, honest and there is no hidden agenda here.”

If no one transfers and 2015 signees Admiral Schofield and Shembari Phillips stick with UT, Barnes will have two scholarships available. He said he will be “open to whatever we think is available and what we think can help us” when asked if he will target junior college prospects or graduate transfers to fill the holes. He added he won’t use scholarships just to use them.

What’s the secret to coaching basketball at a football school?

“Well, I also coached at Providence College, who didn’t have football,” Barnes said during his introductory press conference at Pratt Pavilion. “And I can promise you, you want football. There’s nothing like a weekend when you’re allowed to bring your fans and you see kids that are growing up with a tradition … There are somethings you can never ever fake. That’s loyalty. Fan support. And I do know this, there’s none better than the University of Tennessee. When you have a football game, forget before you even go into the stadium. Forget that. It’s everything around it. I’ve never understood where people talk about a football school because I’ve said to everyone, from the time I’ve had to deal with that question, that I don’t know any university in the country who has a bigger basketball arena than their football stadium. I don’t. I understand the importance of football. What we want to do, we want to build on that enthusiasm. I wast to build on what Butch is doing. With him last night, it was impressive. You could feel, again, how grateful he is that he’s here … Football is a major asset to helping us build the basketball program. It’s a major asset to every sport on this campus. I promise you. It’s a sport we all pull for. Its a sport that drives. It’s never ever bothered me. You’ve gotta have it.”

Why, at age 60, was he interested in jumping right back into another job?

“Well, one, I’m a young man,” Barnes said at the press conference. “This is an incredible opportunity. And I will say this. It had to be what it was. It had to be … I mean, I had friends say to me you might want to step back and not be so quick to decide. This was before anybody even knew what was going on. There was never hesitancy on my part once I had made contact and Tennessee, and we started talking. One, I love to coaching. I love working with young people. I’ve been so blessed with players. Players have taught me. I can go down the line to my very first team as a head coach at George Mason. The relationship you develop with those players, the wins and losses, yeah, they’re there, but they could fade away. Those relationships you develop never fade away. And not just with players, but the people you meet along the way. And that’s something I’m not ready to give up. I am driven. I have had one goal in my life and that would be a chance to play in a national championship. This is a university that provides you with everything you need to do that. And I realize how hard that is to do. But it’s something you have to, again, that’s the standard we set. When Dave and I got to talking, there was no doubt from my view that I wanted to be here.”

What did Barnes tell his new Tennessee players?

“We are all fortunate, blessed to have this opportunity,” Barnes said during his press conference. “Where they are sitting right now (the players were to his right) … There are thousands of young men that would like to have this opportunity. I would say the same thing for myself. There are thousands of other coaches that would like to be standing here. So, one thing we won’t do is ever, ever take for granted or have a sense of entitlement .. Believe me, we know the league we play in and we understand the climate of college basketball. Everybody wants it. We’ve been given this opportunity. Now, we have to make the most of it. What we have to do is hold each other accountable. We’ve got to coach each other. We want to have every component that goes into being a great team. And it starts with trust. It starts with loyalty. It starts with the fact we know that all we have to do is look around us every single day. There is greatness. There is greatness. There are examples everywhere. The standard has been set. That’s not a hard thing to figure out. The standard has been set, and it’s a standard we have to work and fight for every day to live up to.”

Tennessee hoops coaching search update 3.0


Donnie Tyndall is out, and Tennessee men’s basketball beat reporter Ben Frederickson is tracking the developments of UT’s search for its next coach here on the blog, posting links to News Sentinel reporting and information from other outlets. Consider this your one-stop shop for coaching search coverage and the non-stop chatter that comes along with it. Maybe we can even have some fun along the way.

  • A Power Five conference coach I talked to Monday made his case for former Texas coach Rick Barnes to Tennessee. Full disclosure: This guy knows Barnes but hasn’t talked to him since he was fired. But he said Barnes has plenty left in the tank and “makes a lot of sense” for the Vols. Multiple reports have said Barnes would have interest in Tennessee, and I believe that to be true. The coach also said Barnes’ resume (a 604-314 career record with 22 NCAA tournament appearances and one Final Four) blows Bruce Pearl’s resume “off the face of the earth.” The coach described UT as a bit of a “scary situation” for high major coaches who might be OK with their current situation. UT athletic director Dave Hart kind of spoke to this during his press conference.
    “Coaches aren’t as willing to jump,” Hart said. “They’ve done the assessment. If I have resources, and I have facilities, and I have a good relationship and rapport with the athletic director, the president, chancellor, good fan base, do I want to uproot my family? I think that’s at play more than the general population thinks. It is a recruitment. It’s no different than our coaches recruiting. It’s truly a recruitment. We think we have a lot to offer in that vein.”
    More to offer the 60-year-old Barnes, perhaps, than someone who would demand a six or seven-year deal to feel safe. Remember, he doesn’t currently have a job.
  • Today’s News Sentinel addresses how security is going to be an important factor in the search due to the recent revolving door at UT.
  • Another thing to consider on Barnes. Yes, he’s 60, and that probably makes it a longshot that he’s a 10-year answer for a program. But what if he had an assistant who could take the program over when he’s done? Barnes is out at Texas because he wouldn’t make staff changes. These guys seem like a package deal.
    Former Texas associate head coach Rob Lanier went 58-70 as the head coach of Siena College from 2001-05, making one NCAA tournament appearance. He’s been an assistant at Florida, Virginia, Rutgers and St. Bonaventure.
    Former Texas assistant coach Russell Springmann has been with Barnes for 17 years, 14 seasons as assistant. He’s the guy who is credited for landing Kevin Durant, and he’s been linked to a bunch of head coaching opportunities over the years. Mississippi State tried to hire him and failed before hiring Rick Ray, according to Jeff Goodman. Some of the other head coach openings Springmann has been linked to in the past: Loyola, Texas State, Texas Tech and TCU.
  • Alabama athletic director Bill Battle will meet with Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall today, The Tuscaloosa News reports. Alabama is wise to move quickly since Texas, according to reports and common sense, is targeting Marshall and VCU’s Shaka Smart to replace Barnes. If VCU lost Smart, would it turn to Smart protege Will Wade of Chattanooga? Tennessee didn’t make the call to Wade last season, but might this time around.
  • St. John’s, DePaul and Fordham seem to be done shopping. St. Johns has offered Chris Mullin and he is expected to accept, reported. DePaul hired Dave Leitao (again). Fordham hired Eastern Kentucky’s Jeff Neubauer, ESPN reported. Noteworthy jobs still open: Texas, Alabama and Arizona State. You can track every opening here.
  • DePaul reportedly interviewed Buffalo’s Bobby Hurley and Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew, two candidates we included on our initial list of potential Tyndall replacements. So, keep those names in mind now that DePaul is closed. reported Hurley and Drew both turned down DePaul after discussions.
  • Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy was mentioned by to be a potential candidate for the Vols. Kennedy’s name seems to be tied to an opening every season. Maybe there’s real interest. Maybe he’s trying to get a raise now that Mississippi State hired Ben Howland to a four-year deal worth $2.05 million annually. Kennedy also gets a new arena next season.
  • Georgia State coach Ron Hunter might me more enticed to leave now that his son and Georgia State star, R.J. Hunter, is leaving for the NBA draft early. Yahoo! Sports broke the news.
  • It sure seems like Minnesota’s Richard Pitino wants a change of scenery. His name has been linked to St. Johns, Alabama and Tennessee.
  • What did I miss? Let me know on Twitter (@Ben_Fred).

Did you miss previous coaching search updates? Find them here:


Tennessee hoops coaching search update 2.0


Donnie Tyndall is out, and Tennessee men’s basketball beat reporter Ben Frederickson is tracking the developments of UT’s search for its next coach here on the blog, posting links to News Sentinel reporting and information from other outlets. Consider this your one-stop shop for coaching search coverage and the non-stop chatter that comes along with it. Maybe we can even have some fun along the way.

  • The idea of fired Texas coach Rick Barnes jumping from one UT to the other has moved to the forefront of the discussion. Barnes’ resume includes a Final Four appearance in 2003, along with 16 NCAA tournament trips in 17 seasons with the Longhorns. He’s a strong recruiter who landed 10 first-round draft picks since 2011. Barnes is originally from Hickory, North Carolina. His wife, Candy, is a Tennessee alum, according to the report that said the Tennessee job “absolutely” belongs to Barnes if he wants it. Barnes didn’t always deliver on the high expectations Texas desires, but his program was stable, something Tennessee desperately needs.
  • The Texas job being open changes the landscape considerably. Just ask Alabama, which was reportedly gearing up to throw big money at Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall. That chance might be gone now. Marshall has reportedly been eyeing the Longhorns for some time. Texas is now offering the most appealing vacancy. It will trickle down to affect other hires.
  • Something to note: Barnes is 60. Belmont coach Rick Byrd is 61. Just pointing it out. You can’t say one is too old and not the other.
  • Bobby Hurley (Buffalo) and Bryce Drew (Valparaiso) both want the DePaul job “badly”, according to the Chicago Tribune. The report says Hurley interviewed yesterday. Drew will interview today.
  • Louisiana Tech’s Michael White sounded like a guy not interested in moving in this recent interview. But what is he supposed to say? White lost three senior starters from last season’s team. Fran Fraschilla thinks White, who turned down an offer from the Vols last season, would make a great fit at UT or Alabama.
  • Speaking of UT and Alabama, Pat Forde seems to think Minnesota’s Richard Pitino is interested in coaching the Crimson Tide. Pitino has also been linked to the Vos. The likely connection for both is C.M. Newton. He was Hart’s basketball coach at Alabama, then hired Pitino’s father while he was the Kentucky athletic director. Pitino’s buyout is $1.5 million if he leaves before April 30, 2016. That’s three times what UT paid for Tyndall’s buyout last season.
  • ESPN reports Danny Hurley has agreed to a restructured deal at Rhode Island.
  • UT is not expected to announce the name of the search firm it is working with to make the hire. It hired Parker Executive Search in Atlanta for the hires of athletic director Dave Hart and former men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.
  • What did I miss? Let me know on Twitter (@Ben_Fred)

Did you miss previous coaching search updates? Find them here: