A couple of notable items occurred in West Coast Conference men’s basketball on Thursday, as Gonzaga’s Drew Timme announced he will leave school and enter the NBA draft, while San Diego has hired former UCLA and St. John’s coach Steve Lavin as the program’s new coach.
Timme, Gonzaga’s star forward, announced his draft decision on social media Thursday. The 6-foot-10, 235-pounder turned into one of the best college basketball players in the country, as he has been named a second team All-American two consecutive years.
Last year, he also won the Karl Malone Award, which is given to the nation’s best power forward.
This season, Timme averaged 18.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game to lead Gonzaga to earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Timme is widely seen as an interesting prospect because he is incredibly skilled offensively but struggles on the defensive end of the floor.
Steve Lavin hired by San Diego
At the beginning of March, the San Diego Toreros fired head coach Sam Scholl, and the chatter has been that they would look to hire a “retread” — someone who has past head coaching experience but doesn’t currently have a head coaching job — rather than a sitting head coach or assistant coach.
Even former Utah Runnin’ Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak’s name got brought up as a potential candidate, and while that did not happen, the Toreros did go the retread route.
On Thursday, the school announced that it has hired Steve Lavin to replace Scholl.
The choice is seen as an interesting one because Lavin has worked in broadcasting since leaving St. John’s all the way back in 2015.
He does have experience as a retread after a long stint working in TV, as he was the coach at UCLA from 1996-2003 before getting fired and moving to TV.
He was then hired by St. John’s in 2010 and was there for five seasons before he and the school parted ways and he returned to broadcasting.
Lavin’s tenure at UCLA was very successful until a bad final season, as he led the Bruins to the Sweet 16 five times and the Elite Eight once, his first season (he got the interim tag removed from his title partway through the campaign).
His time at St. John’s wasn’t as great. The team did go to the NCAA Tournament twice but didn’t win a game either time.
In all, Lavin has a career record of 226-133. He will be looking to lead a San Diego program that hasn’t had a winning season in three years.