Quinnipiac Men's Basketball Candidates: Experience, State Ties

The Quinnipiac men's basketball job could be filled as early as next week.

Albany coach Will Brown, Vermont coach John Becker, Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole, Iona associate head coach Jared Grasso and Southern Connecticut coach Scott Burrell are believed to be a few of the candidates.

Grasso and Burrell are former Bobcats assistants. Grasso, a 2002 graduate who played for Quinnipiac, is the head-coach-in-waiting at Iona.

The New York Post mentioned Mike Rice, who was fired at Rutgers four years ago after videos of practices came to light showing him using homophobic slurs and throwing basketballs at players, as a candidate.

Rice is a former coach at Robert Morris (2007-2010) of the Northeast Conference. AD Greg Amodio, who has been at Quinnipiac since 2015, came over from Duquesne, so he has some familiarity with Rice. Amodio wouldn't go down that route, would he? Could he? Let's call that one unlikely as Amodio figures out who replaces Tom Moore, fired after 10 seasons.

Brown has led the Great Danes to five America East titles, most recently in 2015, and five NCAA appearances. Becker's team rolled through America East play (16-0) and entered Thursday night's first-round NCAA Tournament game vs. Purdue with the nation's longest winning streak (21).

At 36, Toole is the sixth youngest coach in Division I and a former Penn guard who led the Quakers to two NCAA Tournament appearances as a player. He led Robert Morris to NEC titles in 2013 and 2014 and a conference tournament title in 2015.

Grasso and Burrell know Connecticut.

Burrell doesn't have Division I head coaching experience, but he was the 2016 Northeast-10 Conference coach of the year his rookie season. He was a Hamden High and UConn baseball and basketball star selected in the first round of pro drafts in baseball and basketball.

Grasso is the head-coach-in-waiting at one of the most successful mid-major programs in the country. He knows the conference. His reputation as a recruiter to that program is impeccable. His coaching resume includes assistant coaching stints at Hartford and at his alma mater. He has a lot to offer Quinnipiac.

Jones Concentrates On Yale

Yale coach James Jones was asked after the Ivy League Tournament championship game loss to Princeton if there was anything more to him being linked to the UMass job than a report in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. He said he hadn't been contacted by anyone about the job.

UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford is a former administrator for basketball at Yale and knows Jones well. Asked again this week, Jones who just completed his18th season, reiterated he had not been contacted.

Derek Kellogg (155-137, one NCAA appearance in 2014) was fired after nine seasons last week.

"Ryan Bamford and I have not spoken in weeks," Jones said Tuesday. "I'm not speculating on any of it. Right now I'm focused on the offseason.

"It's interesting how it abruptly comes to an end, and I have to get in postseason mode and think about how many days are we going to work out in the springtime and what we want to do, and get my freshman on campus ready for summertime.

"Right now I'm focused on my job, and that's why we've been good, because that's where I put all my focus, on my job."

Jones, the Ivy League coach of the year in 2015 and '16, did an outstanding job with a young team in 2017. The team was without star player Makai Mason (missed season with a broken foot). Mason will be back next season.

Jones had two freshman stars who produced in the 73-71 semifinal win over Harvard. Guard Miye Oni had 18 points and six rebounds. Forward Jordan Bruner had 11 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Alex Copeland had a team-high 14 points in the 71-59 loss to the Tigers Sunday.

UMass would be wise to give Rutgers associate head coach Karl Hobbs a look. He's a Massachusetts native with strong recruiting ties in the Northeast.

Mallory's Big Finish

When the buzzer sounded on Southern Connecticut's 67-47 loss to St. Rose in the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament it also sounded on Mike Mallory's outstanding career. He finished with a school and Northeast-10 record 2,515 points. He averaged 23.2 points this season for the 18-13 Owls and was named ECAC Division II player of the year.

He also had a 42-point performance in a first-round win over Southern New Hampshire.

Mallory, a 6-1 guard from Waterbury, wants to play in the NBA, despite the odds stacked against Division II player.

"I think he can do it," Burrell said. "I think he needs to play against bigger guys more often because he's so athletic. He used his athletic ability so much in D-II but once you get used to playing against bigger guys and scoring in different ways, I think he could play in the NBA.

"The NBA is so diverse now with so many different players. I think he just needs to be in the right situation and if he gets a shot, he'll capitalize on it." ... The Quinnipiac women look to win their first NCAA Tournament game in three tries Saturday (1:30 p.m. ESPN2) against Marquette in Coral Gables, Fla.

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