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University of Colorado men’s basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik was named coach of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons yesterday, a move that has been expected for at least the last week. CU is now without a coach during a crucial recruiting period, and players are upset, with some hinting that the team could fracture if the right coach isn’t hired soon.
Cory Higgins, heading into his senior year as one of the Buffs’ best players and a potential NBA star, tells Boulder’s Daily Camera he’s “angry” about Bzdelik leaving, and the best solution would be to name associate head coach Steve McClain as Bzdelik’s replacement, a sentiment shared by many players.
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“It’s no secret. We’ve expressed to many people that we’d like coach McClain to be here,” Higgins says. “For me, the most important thing in trying to keep him here is to keep everybody together.”
Alec Burks, named the Big 12 freshman of the year this season, has hinted he could bolt if McClain isn’t named head coach. Still, The Denver Post writes that CU athletic director Mike Bohn hasn’t rushed to make a decision in case Bzdelik ended up staying. McClain isn’t the only candidate to emerge so far. Former Metro State and Denver Nuggets assistant coach Mike Dunlap and University of Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle are apparently in the running, and candidates from outside the state are also getting a look.
The Associated Press reports that Bohn has received calls from names like legendary NBA coach Larry Brown, Denver Nuggets guard and former CU star Chauncey Billups, and even Nuggets coach George Karl, encouraging him to make a good hire. CU basketball is mediocre by national standards, but the program has been trending up over the last few years, with Bzdelik making good progress.