Ernie Kent Named 2002 USA Men's Junior World Championship Qualifying Team Head Coach
May 2, 2002
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 2, 2002) -- Ernie Kent, the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year honor, has been selected head coach of the 2002 USA Basketball Men's Junior World Championship Qualifying Team, USA Basketball announced Thursday.
Assisting Kent along the sidelines will be collegiate head coaches Bob McKillop of Davidson and Gary Waters of Rutgers University. The coaching selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team Committee and approved by USA Basketball's Executive Committee. The Men's Collegiate Committee, chaired by Terry Holland, University of Virginia athletic director emeritus, is also charged with the player selection of the 2002 U.S. squad as well.
The USA will compete July 24-28 in Venezuela, in the 2002 COPABA (Confederation of Pan American Basketball Associations) Men's Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament. Featuring eight teams from North, South and Central America, and the Caribbean, the United States will attempt to earn one of the Americas Zone's four qualifying spots for next year's 2003 FIBA Junior World Championship that will be held in Malaysia (city and dates TBD).
Finalists for the USA junior team will be selected following USA Basketball's Junior National Team Trials May 31-June 2 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Eligibility for the 2002 USA Basketball Men's Junior World Championship Qualifying Team is limited to any male athlete who is a U.S. citizen and 18-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1984).
Held every four years, the U.S. currently enjoys a 21-game winning streak that dates back to the first COPABA Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament in 1990. Most recently, led by head coach Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) the USA finished a perfect 6-0 to win the gold medal atthe 1998 COPABA Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament in the Dominican Republic. Under the hand of then University of Minnesota mentor Clem Haskins, the U.S. compiled an 8-0 mark to claim top honors in Argentina at the 1994 COPABA Junior World Championship QualifyingTournament. Ronnie Arrow of the University of South Alabama led the Americans at the 1990 COPABA Junior Qualifying Tournament in Uruguay to the gold medal with a 7-0 record.
In FIBA Junior World Championships, the USA finished 7-1 and claimed the silver medal in 1999. Overall, the USA boasts of a 38-9 all-time record in FIBA Junior World Championship competitions and has won three golds (1991, 1983, 1979) and two silver medals (1999 and 1987).
'It is a tremendous honor anytime you have the opportunity to represent your country with the chance to win a gold medal,' said Kent. 'USA Basketball has done an outstanding job of being an ambassador for the United States by traveling abroad and competing at the highest level. It is a privilege for me to be appointed head coach of the national team, but also an honor that I think speaks volumes about the success of our program.
'Both Bob's and Gary's success has been well-documented throughout their careers. They are both excellent coaches who will provide leadership, preparation and stability to whatever team we eventually put together.'
Kent is making his second appearance on the sidelines with a USA Basketball team. He was an assistant coach for the 2001 USA Basketball World Championship for Young Men Team (players 21-years-old or younger) that won the gold medal in Saitama, Japan and finished with an unblemished 8-0 record.
Completing his fifth season at Oregon in 2001-02, Kent led the Ducks to one of the program's most successful seasons in its proud history. Compiling a 26-9 overall mark in 2001-02 and finishing ranked tied for sixth in the 2001-02 ESPN/USA Today final men's basketball poll, Kent has now compiled a 94-58 overall record for a 61.8 winning percentage in his five seasons in Eugene.
The Ducks in 2001-02 rolled to a 26-9 overall mark and posted a 14-4 league record to win the Pac-10 Conference title. Oregon's capturing of the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference regular season crown was the school's first outright league title since 1939 when the Ducks also claimed the NCAA's first postseason championship. Oregon, which finished a perfect 16-0 at home to equal the school record set by the 1937-38 squad, advanced to the NCAA tournament regional finals for the first time since 1960. The 26 wins were third-most in school history and the most since 1945. For his coaching efforts in 2002, Kent earned his first Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor, he was selected by Basketball Times as its West Region Coach of the Year and also garnered from the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) its District IX Coach of the Year honor.
Finishing 13-14 in his first season (1997-98) as the Ducks' mentor, Kent led Oregon in his second season to a 19-13 mark and to the 1999 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) Final Four. Year three saw Kent and the team reach new heights of success. Finishing the 1999-2000 season 22-8, Oregon recorded 22 victories for the first time since 1945 and earned an NCAATournament berth marking the program's first back-to-back postseason appearances in 23 years. Oregon in 1999-2000 boasted of 11 wins away from home which were the most in 25 years and the squad also won more Pacific-10 Conference games (13) in one season than ever before. Losing the top three scorers from the previous season, the Ducks in 2000-01 finished 14-14 overall, and among their victories was a shining 79-67 win on Feb. 1 over eventual NCAA runner-up Arizona.
Prior to his arrival at Oregon, Kent was head coach at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Calif., from 1991-92 to 1996-97. Kent put together a 90-80 ledger in his six years at Saint Mary's and currently ranks second on the all-time win chart. In 1996-97, he led his squad to a 23-8 mark and to a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The tournament berth, the first at the schoolsince 1989, was the result of the Gaels' fourth conference title in school history.
Kent served as an assistant at Stanford University (Calif.) under Mike Montgomery for two years (1989-90 to 1990-91), helping the Cardinal advance to the NIT both years and winning the NIT title in 1991. As an assistant to Boyd Grant at Colorado State University (1987-88 to 1988-99), he aided the Rams in their postseason bids in the 1988 NIT (advancing to thesemifinals) and 1989 NCAA Tournament after clinching the Western Athletic Conference championship. From 1980 through 1987, Kent and his family lived in Saudi Arabia where he coached the al-Khaleej Club in Sayhat for three years, helping the team advance to the playoffs each year.
Kent began his coaching career at his alma mater Oregon in 1977 as the freshman coach under Dick Harter and again assisted in 1979 as an understudy to Jim Haney. In between, he coached Eugene's O'Hara Catholic School for one season. A 1977 graduate of Oregon, as a player Kent helped lead the Ducks to a No. 7 ranking as a junior and earned the Outstanding Service Award for community service and picked up the March of Dimes Outstanding Achievement Award. He completed his collegiate career averaging 7.1 points and 1.8 rebounds.
'It is a terrific honor to be a part of representing our country in the Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament. I am really looking forward to working with Ernie Kent and Gary Waters,' stated McKillop.
Gaining his first USA Basketball experience in 2000 when he served as a court coach at the USA Basketball National Team Trials, McKillop returns in 2002 to assist along the U.S. sidelines following another successful season at Davidson.
Finishing with a 21-10 record in 2001-02, the Wildcats tied for first in the Southern Conference North Division regular season standings with an 11-5 mark. Winning the 2002 Southern Conference Tournament, Davidson earned a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament West Region, Davidson's highest seed since the tournament began seeding the field in 1979. Facing Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament first round, the Wildcats trailed by a single point with 35.7 seconds remaining and eventually fell short (69-64) in its upset bid.
McKillop is Davidson's all-time winningest coach having passed Lefty Driesell for that honor during the 2000-01 season, and in 13 years (1989-90 to 2001-02) as the head coach at Davidson College he has compiled a 205-171 record for a 54.5 winning percentage. Rebuilding Davidson's program his first four seasons, McKillop has strung together winning seasons in eight of the last nine years (1993-94 through 2001-02) and compiled an impressive 166-97 record (.631 winning percentage) during that span. A four-time Southern Conference Coach of the Year (1994, 1996, 1997, 2002), McKillop has helped his squads to at least a share of four regular season conference titles (1996, 1997, 1998, 2002) in the past seven years.
His 1993-94 Davidson squad closed the season with a 22-8 overall record, including a 13-5 mark in Southern Conference play, which earned him his first Southern Coach of the Year honor. McKillop's second conference Coach of the Year honor came two year's later after his Wildcats posted a 25-5 record and finished a perfect 14-0 to win the 1996 Southern Conference North regular season crown. In 1998 Davidson finished the season as the Southern Conference North Division co-champions, captured the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. That NCAA appearance marked Davidson's first NCAA berth since 1986.
A 1976 Hofstra University (N.Y.) Hall of Fame inductee, McKillop was the squad's MVP as a senior in 1972. After one year as a free agent with the Philadelphia 76ers, McKillop began his coaching career at Holy Trinity High School (N.Y.) where he spent five years (1973-74 to 1977-78) as a head coach and compiled an 86-25 record (.775 winning percentage). He then wasnamed as an assistant at Davidson for the 1978-79 season, and returned to the high school ranks as the head coach at Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.). Directing Long Island Lutheran's program from 1979-89, McKillop's teams rolled to an overall record of 182-51 (.782 winning percentage). During his two high school coaching stints, his teams recorded eight trips to theNew York State basketball tournament and won five state championships.
Completing Kent's USA coaching staff is Waters, whose first involvement with USA Basketball came last summer as a court coach at the 2001 USA Basketball National Team Trials.
'I consider it an honor to have the opportunity to represent the United States and Rutgers University with the Junior World Championship Qualifying Team,' said Waters. 'USA Basketball is a terrific organization to be a part of and I had a great experience last year when I was a court coach for the 2001 USA Basketball Men's National Team Trials. I once again am looking forward to interacting with so many talented young players, while at the same time sharing ideas with a group of tremendous coaches.'
Recently completing his first year as head coach at Rutgers, Waters enjoyed success like he has in his previous coaching stints. Overall, in 27 (1974-75 through 2001-02) years in collegiate coaching, Waters' teams have amassed 12 seasons of 20 wins or more, and have had just five losing campaigns.
In 2001-02, his inaugural season at Rutgers, Waters guided the Scarlet Knights to an 18-13 overall record and a berth in the NIT. The 18 wins tied him with Tom Young (1973-74) and Bob Wenzel (1988-89) for the most wins by a coach in his first season at Rutgers.
Named the 2002 Met Basketball Writers Association and District II Coach of the Year by the USBWA, Waters' Knights in 2001-02 beat a school-record four top 25 opponents, knocking off No. 24 Georgetown (Jan. 5), No. 17 Connecticut (Jan. 27), No. 14 Syracuse (Feb. 2) and No. 11 Miami (Feb. 17). Other superlatives achieved under Waters' direction in his first seasonincluded matching the school's longest Big East winning streak of three with wins over West Virginia (Jan. 27), Syracuse (Jan. 30) and Connecticut (Feb. 2), and his squad amassed an eight-game winning streak that spanned late November to mid-December, Rutgers' longest since the 1988-1989 season.
Waters arrived at Rutgers following five successful seasons (1996-97 to 2000-01) as head coach at Kent State University (Ohio), where he compiled a 92-60 record (.605 winning percentage). In his last three seasons there, he led Kent State to a 70-25 mark (.737 winning percentage), posting records of 23-7 in 1998-99, 23-8 in 1999-2000 and 24-10 in 2000-01. The 23 wins posted by the 1997-98 and 1998-99 teams were a school record, eclipsed by the 24 wins recorded by the 2000-01 team.
Kent State won the Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship in 1998-99 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. In 1999-2000, Kent State earned a bid to the NIT and advanced to the quarterfinals. After winning its second MAC Tournament title in 2001, Kent State earned a No. 13 seed in the West Regional of the NCAA Tournament and posted one of the biggest upsets in that year's tournament, knocking off No. 4 seed Indiana 77-73 before losing to Cincinnati in the second round.
Waters was named MAC Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2000, becoming just the third coach to receive that honor in consecutive years in the 31-year history of the award.
Waters took over at Kent State after seven seasons on the staff at Eastern Michigan University, under Ben Braun, where he helped build a conference contender. Waters served as the assistant head coach from 1989-90 to 1992-93, and was associate head coach for the final three seasons (1993-94 to 1995-96). During that time, the Eagles captured two MAC titles, participated in the NCAA Tournament twice (1991, 1996), advanced to the Sweet Sixteen once (1996), and earned one NIT berth (1995).
Prior to his tenure at Eastern Michigan, Waters spent 15 years at his alma mater, Ferris State University (Mich.). He was the associate head coach for three seasons (1986-87 to 1988-89), assistant head coach for eight years (1978-79 to 1985-86) and was an assistant coach for four seasons (1974-75 to 1977-78). During that time, Ferris State captured six Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (GLIAC) titles and qualified for four NCAA Regional Tournaments.
As a player, Waters was an NAIA All-District selection at Ferris State. In two years with the Bulldogs, he helped lead the team to a 47-10 record (.825 winning percentage). Waters also was named to the All-GLIAC Team. He played two seasons at Oakland (Mich.) Community College, receiving All-America honorable mention, as well as all-region and all-conference honors. In 1974 Waters received a tryout with the Detroit Pistons of the NBA and also played with an international team in Spain that year.
The USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee, in addition to chair Holland, consists of: NCAA appointees Jim Boeheim (head coach, Syracuse University, N.Y.); Rob Evans (head coach, Arizona State University); Jim O'Brien (head coach, Ohio State University) and Tubby Smith (head coach,University of Kentucky); NABC appointee Oliver Purnell (head coach, University of Dayton, Ohio); NAIA appointee Ralph Turner (head coach, Union University, Tenn.); NJCAA appointee Dan Sparks (head coach, Vincennes University, Ind.), and athlete representatives Steve Wojciechowski (1995 Junior World Championship team / assistant coach, Duke University, N.C.)and A.J. Wynder (1995 Pan American Games team / head coach, Nassau Community College, N.Y.).
2002 USA Men's Junior World Championship Qualifying Team Facts
Competition Dates: July 24-28
Competition Site: Venezuela
USA Basketball Junior National Team Trials: May 31-June 2 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
USA Team Members: Finalists for the USA junior team will be selected following the May 31-June 2 USA Basketball Junior National Team Trials.