College hoops roundup: UNC adds Jeff Lebo to staff, promotes Sean May to assistant

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 16, 2021

Associated Press

CHAPEL HILL — New North Carolina basketball coach Hubert Davis has completed his staff filled with former Tar Heels players.

The school said Thursday that Davis has hired a former head coach in Jeff Lebo to work as an assistant coach while elevating Sean May from director of basketball operations to assistant coach. Davis is retaining Brad Frederick as an assistant coach after he had worked in that role under retired Hall of Famer Roy Williams.

It will mark the first time the Tar Heels’ head coach and three primary assistant coaches are all former Tar Heels players. When he was hired last week, Davis had said: “You can’t do this job unless you’re a Carolina guy.”

Lebo played for Dean Smith from 1985-89 and later served as head coach at Auburn, Chattanooga, East Carolina and Tennessee Tech. That experience will prove key considering the 50-year-old Davis — who played with Lebo under Smith — is a first-time college head coach.

The staff also includes Jackie Manuel, a teammate with May on the 2005 NCAA championship team, working as director player and team development after a year under Tar Heels women’s basketball coach Courtney Banghart.

Strength coach Jonas Sahratian and head trainer Doug Halverson will remain, while Eric Hoots is taking over as director of basketball operations after 17 years in a behind-the-scenes role with the program.

Duke elevates former player Nolan Smith to assistant coach

DURHAM (AP) — Duke has promoted Nolan Smith to assistant men’s basketball coach.

The school announced the move Thursday, with Smith filling the vacancy from Nate James’ departure to become Austin Peay’s head coach. Smith was a member of the Blue Devils’ NCAA championship team and had worked on the staff since 2016.

“Nolan is a rising star,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “To get him on the court with our players on a day-to-day basis

will mean so much to our program. Our players will benefit immensely from his enthusiasm to teach, but also the fact that he’s young enough, he can show them. He can still play.”

The 32-year-old Smith had previously served as director of basketball operations and player development. Smith was Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year and an Associated Press first-team All-American in 2011 before becoming a first-round NBA draft pick.

Smith has also been prominent in the Durham community in raising awareness for social justice issues.

Smith joins fellow former captains Jon Scheyer and Chris Carrawell as Duke assistant coaches. Krzyzewski’s assistants have been former Duke players since the 1998-99 season.

Cincinnati hires
UNC Greensboro’s
Wes Miller as coach

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati has hired UNC Greensboro coach Wes Miller to replace the fired John Brannen.

Miller, regarded as one of the top young coaches in college basketball, won 185 games in 10 seasons at UNC Greensboro. Over the last five years, the Spartans have five-straight 20-win seasons, two NCAA Tournament appearances, two NIT appearances and two Southern Conference tournament championships.

“He is an extremely dynamic coach and mentor who impressed me with his drive, focus and attention to detail,” Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham said.

Miller played for coach Roy Williams at North Carolina and was mentioned as a possible candidate to be Williams’ successor before Hubert Davis was hired.

Tennessee signs Durham 7-footer Jonas Aidoo

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has signed 7-foot forward Jonas Aidoo, the Vols’ fourth signee for the 2021 recruiting class.

The native of Durham will enroll this summer and be a freshman this fall.

“He’s a high-character young man and will fit our program well in that respect,” coach Rick Barnes said.