Heath assistant to Oklahoma?
Another one of Stan Heath's assistants at Arkansas is being linked to an elite-level program. One week after Glynn Cyprien took a job on Billy Gillispie's staff at Kentucky, Oronde Taliaferro, a Heath assistant since his time at Kent State, is being closely linked to an opening at Oklahoma.
Sooners coach Jeff Capel denied an Arkansas newspaper report that said Taliaferro had been hired to his staff, saying he was still just a candidate. Taliaferro, Heath's recruiting coordinator, has also been mentioned as a possiblity at Michigan, where he would give new coach John Beilein a strong recruiting tie to Michigan and specifically Detroit. He played under Heath in college, so USF is obviously a possibility as well.
Without naming names, I can say that there is significant high-level interest in the two USF assistant vacancies, from at least one former Division I head coach and a well-established assistant at a top school that just changed coaches. In landing forward Orane Chin on Thursday, Heath has shown he can handle the short-term recruiting fine by himself, and that might be the most immediate priority over finishing his staff. Frank Burnell, the most tenured of Robert McCullum's assistants, has been working with the staff in the transition and is being considered for a job as well.
Darren Sorenson, who was Heath's director of basketball operations at Arkansas, is now working out of USF's basketball office, but it hasn't been determined whether he'll be a full-fledged assistant or continue in the DOB job.
-- Couple of more things: Buccaneers.com has a story on five USF seniors (Stephen Nicholas, Pat St. Louis, Thed Watson, Ean Randolph, Pat Julmiste) meeting with Bucs officials on Wednesday -- not a workout, but a chance to meet with team officials. For most of those five, it's a potential inroads toward a free-agent contract after next week's NFL Draft.
I'll check back in this afternoon with curious speculation in this week's Sporting News about a second USF player getting drafted next week. The Florida Times-Union, meanwhile, says that Nicholas is projected as a seventh-round pick, but then again, they also think the Jacksonville native just finished up a stellar career at Florida International.