by Mike Foster (Sports Director)
If you’ve listened to our show the past few weeks, you’re well aware that student media has been in a pickle with KSU’s newly-promoted men’s basketball coach Jimmy Lallathin.
Well, I’m happy to announce that Lallathin has finally broken his silence with us, and it’s even more apparent after the phone conversation I had with him today that he’s much different than the former man in charge, Lewis Preston.
Lallathin was upset after The Sentinel ran an article Feb. 3 titled “Rivalry Weak,” outlining some of the major differences between Mercer’s and KSU’s respective basketball programs. Considering KSU had a 9-67 coach step out the door two days before the Bears from Macon defeated powerhouse Duke in the NCAA Tournament, there’s no denying the smaller, private school to the south still has us beat.
But, I’ve got a feeling the program is in much better hands now than it was two weeks ago when we were told in an exclusive interview with athletic director Vaughn Williams that Preston would return as the coach in 2014, “unless something crazy happens.”
Whatever crazy happened, the Owls now are led by a coach who possesses very proactive leadership qualities, which I think have been made somewhat apparent already with the way he has reached out to media since his hiring–including his eventual conversation with me. It’s even been brought to my attention that Lallathin had an open-practice policy when he took over as interim head coach Jan. 2. For whatever reason we didn’t know this, but that potential transparency is in stark contrast to the guidelines in place beforehand. We in student media are looking forward to the access we will have with Lallathin and the team as a whole once practice swings around.
Along with the new hire, former assistant Mike Scutero, who was hired seven games into the 2013-14 season under Preston, was not brought back. Kory Keys, former coordinator of basketball operations, will also not return under the new staff. Assistant Brian Lawhon will remain. You can expect some assistant hires to made by Lallathin in the coming weeks, and one would assume whoever comes in can help make local recruiting a huge priority. KSU had just two Georgia-grown players on roster in 2013 (Yonel Brown and senior Andrew Osemhen).
Also, KSU Owl Howl has reported that former Quinnipiac point guard Kendrick Ray will join the team, according to a pretty promising Tweet from an account titled Gotham Hoops, LLC. Considering KSU has not had a true point guard in a while, this could be a really nice addition.
Around the Nest:
–KSU held its first football tryout Saturday morning. 85 prospective student athletes participated, including members of KSU’s club football team and many former Cobb County high school players.
–Freshman golfer Tereomana Beaucousin shot 3-under par at the Linger Longer Invitational this week, earning him A-Sun Men’s Golfer of the Week honors for the first time in his young career. 20 percent of the time it took to produce this blog post was spent spell checking his name.
–KSU baseball has slumped to a 1-5 start to conference play. The Owls have struggled with defensive miscues. KSU ranks second-to-last in the Atlantic Sun Conference in fielding percentage, and is the only team with an ERA lower than 4.5 that has a losing record (12-16).
For the record: I can’t say I’m not bragging about being in the top 1-percent of brackets on ESPN.com at the moment, thanks to correctly picking first-round upsets by Dayton, Stephen F. Austin, Mercer and North Dakota State. Of course, because the law averages, this only means that I’m destined to be wrong about all four of my final four picks (Florida, Wisconsin, L’Ville and Sparty).
We’re off air this week because of spring break, but make sure to tune in to The Benchwarmers show April 11 and every Friday from 6-9 p.m., only on KSU Owl Radio!