March 28, 2019 / 12:57 AM / 3 months ago

College basketball notebook: Alabama hires Oats

Alabama has hired Nate Oats as the university’s new coach, the school announced Wednesday.

Mar 24, 2019; Tulsa, OK, USA; Buffalo Bulls head coach Nate Oats questions a call against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the second half in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at BOK Center. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Oats, 44, guided Buffalo to a program-best 32-4 mark this season. He recorded a victory in each of the past two NCAA Tournaments while going 96-43 in four seasons at the school.

Oats replaces Avery Johnson, who was let go with a 75-62 record after four seasons with the Crimson Tide. Oats will try to elevate a program that has reached the NCAA tourney just twice in the past 13 seasons. The Crimson Tide went 18-16 this season.

Less than two weeks ago, Oats agreed to an extension to stay at Buffalo through the 2023-24 season. However, while Alabama was announcing Oats had been hired, the Bulls were confirming they accepted his resignation and said associate head coach Jim Whitesell would serve as interim coach while the school conducts its search.

—UNLV hired T.J. Otzelberger from South Dakota State as its coach.

Otzelberger went 70-33 in three seasons with the Jackrabbits, leading the team to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and 2018. South Dakota State was 24-9 this season, won the regular-season Summit League title but was upset in the opening game of the conference tournament. The Jackrabbits lost to Texas in the first round of the NIT.

Otzelberger, 41, replaces Marvin Menzies, who was fired after going 48-48 in three seasons with the Rebels.

—Washington State hired Kyle Smith from the University of San Francisco to be its new coach, according to multiple reports.

Smith accepted a six-year contract worth $1.4 million annually, according to the Spokesman-Review of Spokane. The school paid Ernie Kent $1.4 million this season, when he led the Cougars to an 11-21 record in his fifth season before being fired.

Smith, 49, went 63-40 in three seasons at San Francisco following a six-year stint at Columbia, where he posted a 101-82 record. Kent was 58-98 with the Cougars, who have failed to post a winning record since they were 19-18 in the 2011-12 season.

—UCLA sophomore wing Kris Wilkes is headed to the NBA draft and will hire an agent, he announced on social media.

Wilkes averaged a team-high 17.4 points per game this season for the Bruins, who finished 17-16 in a season that saw them fire coach Steve Alford in late December. In 66 career games (65 starts), Wilkes averaged 15.5 points and 4.8 rebounds at UCLA.

—San Diego State sophomore forward Jalen McDaniels is bypassing his final two collegiate seasons after averaging 15.9 points and 8.3 rebounds this season while earning second-team All-Mountain West honors.

McDaniels flirted with entering the draft after averaging 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds as a redshirt freshman. However, on the day of the deadline, he decided to return to school.

—BYU power forward Yoeli Childs will skip his senior season to pursue a pro career after he averaged 21.2 points and 9.6 rebounds this season. He shot 50.8 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from 3-point range (32 of 99).

Childs said he will hire an agent, precluding him from returning to play for the Cougars. He averaged 16.1 points and 8.8 rebounds in 100 career games (92 starts) at BYU, shooting 52.8 percent from the field.

—A charge of possession of marijuana against Virginia Tech senior guard Ty Outlaw came to light Wednesday, two days before the Hokies take on top-seeded Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

Multiple outlets reported the misdemeanor charge, which, according to Montgomery County District Court records, was dated March 21 when Outlaw was with the Virginia Tech team in San Jose, Calif., for the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Outlaw is averaging 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds, and he has made 45.6 percent of his 3-point attempts (78 of 171).

—Field Level Media

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