UB basketball heads to Duke on Dec. 5

By Nick Veronica

UB has landed a Dec. 5 matchup against defending national champion Duke, continuing its streak of scheduling nonconference games against Goliaths of college basketball.

ublogoThe game was announced Friday in Duke’s schedule release. It will be played at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. at a time yet to be determined.

UB had meetings with No. 1 Kentucky and No. 6 Wisconsin last season in athletic director Danny White’s second year on the job. UB played Texas A&M in White’s first season.

The UB-Duke matchup obviously loses some sizzle with former Blue Devil Bobby Hurley now coaching at Arizona State, but still has the connection of athletic directors: Duke AD Kevin White is Danny White’s father.

UB and Duke have never met in men’s basketball. The Bulls are 1-17 all-time against the ACC, with the win coming against Miami (Fla.) in 2006.

UB reverses course, allows Shannon Evans to transfer anywhere

By Nick Veronica

After announcing his intention to transfer on Monday, UB point guard Shannon Evans said the school was “basically going to block all the schools I want to talk to.” But Evans and athletic director Danny White met Monday night, and in light of public backlash, White announced Tuesday that he decided to remove restrictions on Evans’ transfer.

nybuffalologo“After learning about the request for a release [Monday], and meeting with the student-athlete, I have decided that granting Shannon Evans a full release to transfer to any school in the country is in his best interest,” White said in a statement. “We wish Shannon nothing but the best in his future academic and athletic pursuits.”

Evans seemed most upset Monday about restrictions to Arizona State, where Bobby Hurley is now coaching, and VCU and Old Dominion, which are near where Evans is from in Virginia.

Evans is very close with Hurley, which makes me think Arizona State is the leading contender, but Evans will have plenty of options. He’ll have to sit out next season but has two years of eligibility remaining.

Shannon Evans transferring from UB; blocked from Arizona State

By Nick Veronica

UB guard Shannon Evans is leaving the school, according to a report from Big 4 Talk’s Johnathan Snyder.

Evans

Evans

Further, Snyder reports that UB is blocking Evans from transferring to a number of schools, including Arizona State, where former UB coach Bobby Hurley just took over.

[UPDATE: UB reverses course, allows Evans to transfer anywhere]

Evans scored 15.4 points per game as a sophomore and dished out 4.6 assists per game. He was one of the most important players on the team’s MAC championship run.

Losing a stud like Evans reflects poorly on UB athletic director Danny White, who recently promoted assistant coach Nate Oats to head coach without conducting any other interviews. A main benefit of giving Oats the job was the perception that it would help keep the talented players on the team.

Evans also tweeted (and later deleted) that he couldn’t even get an audience with White to discuss his future:

For what it’s worth, teams usually block players from transferring to conference opponents or local rivals. Anything beyond that is seen as excessive.

If you’re tallying White’s recent blunders, mismanaging the Hurley situation was one, not conducting a national search for a new coach is two, and not accommodating one of the most important athletes on his campus would be three.

Evans’ comments to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News are particularly damning:

“I wanted to talk to Danny White today,” Evans said. “I saw him. He said, ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do this. Talk to Nate Oats, I told him everything.’ . . . It’s like he was in a rush.”

Evans said Oats informed him that UB would allow him to transfer but would block a move by Evans to go to Arizona State, Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion or another MAC school. Evans is a native of Suffolk, Va.

“They’re basically going to block all the schools I want to talk to,” Evans said. “I just feel like they don’t want my best interests and what’s best for me personally, and I really don’t like that. I feel like if I want my release, OK, any MAC school, I understand. But they shouldn’t block me from any school in a higher conference than Buffalo.”

Other updates:

UB names Lance Leipold football coach


By Nick Veronica

UB athletic director Danny White made another bold move Monday, announcing he had selected Lance Leipold to become the school’s new football coach.

Leipold comes to Buffalo from Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he has won five national championships since 2007. Leipold’s record there is an outstanding 106-6, giving him more wins since 2007 than UB football has in its history (98).

Danny White, left, with Lance Leipold

Danny White, left, with Lance Leipold

“What’s important to me is having credibility in your sport,” White said at press conference in Alumni Arena Monday afternoon. “What do other coaches think of you? Because I think that impacts your ability to build a staff. What do prospective recruits think of you?

“I asked a lot of questions to a lot of influential people in the sport of football, and Lance Leipold is extremely well-respected across the country. What he’s done is a pretty amazing story. That’s an unprecedented amount of success in the game. I think he brings an awful lot of credibility to our program.”

“I’m sure there will be a little bit [of a learning curve],” White added, “but I don’t think it will be significant.”


Leipold said he will finish out the season at UW-Whitewater, which has a national quarterfinal game on Saturday. White said he made the announcement Sunday night with a Monday press conference so Leipold could return to his team as soon as possible.

Leipold met with players early Monday morning but said he didn’t take any questions from them. He will review the remaining staff in the near future.

“We will be moving quickly on making decisions about staff … I can tell already interest will be high,” Leipold said.

White wouldn’t say if Alex Wood, the interim coach after Jeff Quinn’s firing, was given serious consideration for the job.

“In this scenario I was looking for someone who had previous head coaching experience,” White said earlier in the press conference. “That’s something important for us because we feel we’re very close [to taking the next step] as a program, the players we have, we don’t feel like this is a ‘hit the reset button and rebuild the program.’ We feel like we’re really close, so we wanted somebody who already knows how to drive the truck, because it’s a pretty healthy truck.”

When asked why his D-III success would transfer to Division I, Leipod motioned to the UB players in stands. They’re bigger and faster than his D-III players, but “football is football,” he said.

Leipold grew up 15 minutes away from UW-Whitewater’s campus and played quarterback for them. His parents and sister also attended the school.

Before coaching at UW-Whitewater, Leipold was a graduate assistant at Wisconsin, an assistant coach and coordinator at Division II Nebraska-Omaha, then spent time at Nebraska before returning to Nebraska-Omaha. He and his wife Kelly have a daughter, Lindsey, and a son, Landon.