NSU’s Hoehn Takes Leap to Head Coaching Job

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Following four memorable years in the Sunshine State, Nova Southeastern men’s basketball Director of Player Development Devin Hoehn will be headed back home, as the West Virginia native was formally announced as the new head coach of Bluefield State on Monday. 

“My time at NSU was nothing short of amazing,” Hoehn expressed. “I would like to thank Director of Athletics Michael Mominey, Coach (Jim) Crutchfield and Coach (Jordan) Fee for welcoming me with open arms and making this West Virginia native feel right at home.

“The last four years were fundamental in both my personal and professional development, and have prepared me for this next step in my career. I am forever grateful for my experience and the relationships I built during my time in Florida. NSU will always be a part of me. Go Sharks!”

Fresh off his notable playing career at West Liberty, Hoehn transitioned into coaching when he followed Crutchfield to South Florida back in 2017. Upon his arrival, Hoehn helped transform the culture within the program, leading a previous 6-20 team to a combined 69-20 record during his tenure, including an NCAA South Region title and Sunshine State Conference regular season championship in 2018-19.

Throughout his stint, Hoehn coached a pair of All-Americans, four First Team All-SSC selections, two SSC Newcomer of the Year and two SSC Freshman of the Year recipients. In addition, the Sharks have had five players go on to sign professional contracts since Hoehn joined the staff.

“I am really going to miss Dev, yet I’m truly excited for this opportunity ahead of him at Bluefield State College,” said Crutchfield. “To be handed the reigns of a college basketball program that competes at the NCAA Division II level this early in his coaching career is amazing. I have enjoyed being around Devin the past nine years as a player and a coach. and I can honestly say that it would be difficult to find a nicer person. I am personally excited to follow his coaching career in years to come.”

With his added experience as a player under Crutchfield, Hoehn proved to be a pivotal piece to NSU’s quick turnaround. In just his first season on the bench, the Sharks’ pressing, up-tempo style led to an 11-win increase. The team averaged an SSC-best 90.1 points per game that same year, and in the process, cracked the nation’s Top-25 for the first in program history.

Hoehn’s efforts helped propel the Sharks to the NCAA Tournament for the very first time in 2018-19 on their way to an eventual Elite Eight appearance. The next season, NSU rose all the way to No. 1 in the national poll, ultimately finishing with a 23-6 record and a second straight bid to the tourney.

“I’ve known Devin for nearly a decade now and have yet to see him have a bad day,” Fee added. “That is what makes Devin so special. It’s been a joy to watch Devin walk into this program fresh off his playing career and develop from a first-year Graduate Assistant into a great assistant coach. His impact on our program has been immense, and his time spent here will be etched into the history books.

“I am so excited for this incredible opportunity he has ahead of him, but I will miss his daily presence. I am so thankful for all his hard work and dedication in helping us turn around this program over the last four years. I am thrilled to follow him along this amazing journey ahead.”

As a player, Hoehn was a four-year starter at guard at West Liberty, carrying the Hilltoppers to three Elite Eights, two Final Fours and two National Championship appearances. During his senior season, he posted averages of 17.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 32 starts, good enough to be named first team all-conference.

Bluefield State posted a record of 3-6 in an abbreviated 2020-21 season.
 
 

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Crutchfield Appreciative of Opportunity to Speak at NABC Convention

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Among a profound list that included the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Geno Auriemma and Roy Williams – to name a few – Nova Southeastern head coach Jim Crutchfield was handpicked as a speaker at this week’s 2021 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Convention.

Crutchfield was invited to participate as a clinician on Thursday, following up Houston’s Kelvin Sampson, where he held a 45-minute session for over 1,000 college coaches in which he explained in depth, “How to Teach Players to be Good Decision Makers”.  

Crutchfield is well-known across basketball for his high-octane offenses that have consistently averaged 100-plus points per game throughout his illustrious career, which he attributes to allowing players more freedom on the court and personally improving their abilities to see, analyze and react to different in-game situations.  

“It was certainly an honor to be asked by the NABC to talk basketball during the NCAA Final Four week,” said Crutchfield, who has produced a 69-20 (.775) record in three seasons with the Sharks. “I really appreciate the recognition given to NSU and our basketball program.”

The annual NABC Convention is the nation’s premier professional development event for basketball coaches. For more info on the convention, click here.

To stay up-to-date with the NSU men’s basketball program, visit NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter @NSU_MBasketball.
 

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Crutchfield, Sharks Add Local Product in Jonathan Pierre

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – From nearby Hallandale High School, 6-foot-8 guard Jonathan Pierre will be remaining close to home for his college career after head coach Jim Crutchfield and the Nova Southeastern men’s basketball program officially landed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.

Pierre joins St. Xavier (Ohio) standout Kobe Rodgers as the two signees currently a part of the Sharks’ 2021 recruiting class.  

With the likes of Dallas Graziani, Shane Hunter and Mike Moore already on the roster, Crutchfield and his staff have locked up another local product in hopes of building upon their recent success that has included a combined 52-10 record since the start of 2018.
 
Having grown about five inches between his junior and senior seasons, Pierre made significant strides on the court in 2021, averaging 19.8 points on 42 percent shooting from beyond the arc to go along with 6.0 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game. He finished a mere one rebound shy of a triple double in the district semifinals just last month, and for his overall efforts, was selected to the 2021 Broward County Athletic Association (BCAA) Boys Big 8 All-Tournament Team.
 
With his size and length, Pierre appears to be a no-brainer for Crutchfield’s system which calls for versatile, multi-positional players. At 6-foot-8, one would think he projects as a traditional forward, but with his unique skillset and ability to pass and handle the ball, Pierre may eventually work his way into the lineup more as a modern-day point forward.
 
What Coach Crutchfield is saying: “Jonathan is an outstanding passer and perimeter shooter. Those are certainly two qualities that are needed in every system. Always nice to add a quality person like Jonathan to our program.”

Pierre on signing with NSU: “I chose NSU because it is a premiere Division II program with a winning culture, and because of the way the coaching staff can develop me over the next four years. I love the family atmosphere that surrounds the team and the coaching staff. I can’t wait to be a Shark!”
 
To stay up-to-date with recruiting and the entire NSU men’s basketball program, visit NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MBasketball.
 
 

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Sharks Make Splash at No. 6 in NABC Preseason Poll

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With plenty of unknowns surrounding the 2020-21 season, one thing is certain – expectations of head coach Jim Crutchfield and Nova Southeastern remain high following consecutive berths to the NCAA Tournament, as the Sharks have landed at No. 6 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Preseason Poll.  

The Sharks were also placed at No. 6 earlier this week in NCAA.com’s Power 10 rankings, while previously tabbed No. 8 by the Basketball Times back in October.

Although a fairly youthful roster, NSU has three members from last winter’s starting lineup still intact, including guard Nick Smith, who will enter his senior campaign with over 1,000 career points and 82 straight starts. Reigning Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year RJ Sunahara (12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg) will join Smith, with one of the nation’s premiere shooters in Eddie Puisis (10.0 ppg, 47.5% 3PT) also figuring to shoulder the load. Sophomores Shane Hunter and Jake Maranville expect to be key contributors, but keep an eye out for transfer Sekou Sylla as well after the former College of Saint Rose product collected an eye-popping 20 double-doubles a year ago.

Northwest Missouri State, the nation’s No. 1 team at the end of the abbreviated 2019-20 season, will open the year atop the rankings. Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) checks in at No. 2, with West Texas A&M sitting at No. 3. Indiana (Pa.) and defending SSC champion Florida Southern round out the Top-5.

To view the complete NABC Preseason Poll, click here.

As a result of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the SSC Presidents Council has announced the postponement of all scheduled competitions during the winter sports season through December 31, 2020.  
 
To stay up-to-date with official schedule information, visit NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter @NSU_MBasketball.
 
 

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Sharks Strengthen Ohio Pipeline with Signing of Kobe Rodgers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With five players from the Buckeye State already on the active roster, Nova Southeastern head coach Jim Crutchfield has pried another one away from Ohio, as the Sharks landed their first signee of the 2021 recruiting class with the official announcement from Kobe Rodgers on Thursday.

Rodgers has still yet to begin his senior season, however, the versatile 6-2 guard already proved to be St. Xavier High School’s top player a year ago en route to earning First Team All-Greater Catholic League honors. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Rodgers averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals in a rather defensive-minded league as a junior. He collected three double-doubles and tallied a season high with 29 points. Over the course of his career, Rodgers has been named the Cincinnati Player of the Week an impressive 10 times.

Rodgers drew plenty of interest throughout his recruitment, including from a pair of Division II Top-25 mainstays in Lincoln Memorial and West Liberty, along with programs from Division I’s Patriot League.

What Coach Crutchfield is saying: “I think Kobe pretty much checks off all the boxes, not only as a player, but also as a person and a student. He is a multi-skilled guard with a good understanding of the game. That’s not surprising given the school and area he is coming out of. He has the benefit of good coaching and good competition. We are excited to bring Kobe into the Shark Basketball program both as a player and as a person!”

Rodgers on signing with NSU: “I chose NSU because of the top tier academics, as well as the knowledgeable and dedicated players coaching staff. The coaching staff genuinely cares about my future both within and outside of basketball.”

As a result of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the Sunshine State Conference Presidents Council has announced the postponement of all scheduled competitions during the winter sports season through December 31, 2020.  
 
To stay up-to-date with official schedule information, visit NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter @NSU_MBasketball.
 
 

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Landgren, Kolstad Find New Basketball Homes Overseas

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – While one former Nova Southeastern men’s basketball player has found his second home throughout his young professional career, another’s has only begun, as both Lukas Landgren and Mikkel Kolstad recently signed new contracts overseas for the 2020-21 season.

Both members of the NSU squad that made the program’s first-ever run to the Elite Eight back in 2018-19, Landgren has officially joined Olympia Comiso of Italy’s Serie C following a previous stint with Virtus Fondi, while Kolstad has inked a deal with CAB Madeira in Portugal’s Liga Portuguesa de Basquetbol (LPB), the top league in the country.

As a result of a second COVID-19 outbreak, Landgren and his teammates have seen their season postponed until January 17. Still, the 6-foot-8 forward has maintained a positive perspective and is very appreciative for the opportunity that remains ahead of him. 

“The experience I’ve gained in Italy has been great,” said Landgren, who appeared in 39 career games as a Shark. “Personally, I think I’ve grown a lot as a person in not only taking care of myself, but also learning new languages and cultures.
 
“Being able to live off basketball is something that has always been a goal of mine. It’s been a rocky road getting to this point, but I’m so thankful for the opportunity given to me. It really means everything to me. I know this won’t last forever, so I’m just soaking it in!”

One of the most lethal shooters to ever come through NSU, Kolstad has already proven his scoring ability during the early stages of his career with CAB Madeira. In four contests, the guard has averaged 15.5 points, including 26 in his pro debut, on 44.2 percent shooting while racking up nearly 38 minutes per game.

During his two-year stint with the Sharks, the Norwegian led the Sunshine State Conference each season in three-point percentage, earning his way on to the All-SSC Newcomer Team in 2019. Over the course of 59 career games with NSU, Kolstad averaged 11.1 points per game on 51.2 percent shooting, including 49.7 percent from beyond the arc. His 80 three-point makes in 2018-19 rank fourth-most in program history within a single season, with his 148 career made three-pointers checking in at 10th all-time.

“Playing professionally has always been a goal of mine, and so far it’s been a good experience,” said Kolstad. “Being able to see the world and play at this level would never have been possible without my past two years at NSU. I am really thankful for what we accomplished together and all the great people I met. Go Sharks!”

NSU head coach Jim Crutchfield has now had a combined five players continue on to the pro level since taking over the program at the start of 2017.

To stay up-to-date with NSU men’s hoops, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @NSU_MBasketball.
 
 

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Crutchfield, Sharks Featured in Wall Street Journal ($): Heat, Celtics Get Wisdom From D-II Coach

Jim Crutchfield, a 64-year-old basketball coach at a Division II school in Florida, calls himself one of the least connected guys in his sport. He didn’t play in college or apprentice in the NBA. He’s not a networker. He doesn’t go to camps and clinics or read the collected volumes of basketball luminaries. He even spent a decade working in tennis.

But the Nova Southeastern University coach was contacted last year by two people who wanted to pick his brain. As it turned out, both worked in the NBA.

The first was Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. The second was Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

“I think they’re going to be looked at as two of the greatest coaches of our time,” Crutchfield said.

He would know. Crutchfield happens to be the winningest coach in the history of men’s college basketball.

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Crutchfield, Fee Featured Among Nation’s Top 50 at Respective Coaching Positions

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Validated by the on-court success, and now by the backing of Silver Waves Media, the Nova Southeastern men’s basketball coaching staff has proven itself to be among the nation’s very best, as the basketball-focused organization selected Jim Crutchfield as one of 50 Impactful Division II/NAIA Head Coaches and Jordan Fee as one of 50 Impactful Division II Assistant Coaches in its recently announced lists.     

Despite an abbreviated season, Crutchfield worked his magic once again in 2019-20, directing the program to its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance – and second all-time for that matter – following an impressive 23-6 campaign in which the Sharks climbed as high as No. 1 in the national poll. Per usual, his club had little trouble on the offensive end of the floor, finishing second in the country in scoring (101.8 ppg) with a high-powered lineup that boasted seven players averaging at least 8.8 points-per-game.

Upon his arrival, Crutchfield inherited a program fresh off a 6-20 season, and in three short years has transformed the Sharks into one of Division II’s best by compiling a combined record of 69-20 (.775) that includes a trip to the Elite Eight in 2018-19. Throughout his entire 16-year coaching career, he has posted an overall mark of 428-81 (.841), which ranks as the highest career winning percentage in college basketball history among all NCAA coaches at any level who had spent at least 10 seasons as an NCAA head coach.

Fee, meanwhile, has shown an innate ability to recruit both locally and throughout the northeast, and deserves much of the credit for NSU’s recruiting efforts prior to Crutchfield’s hire, keeping intact a group that eventually helped propel the program to its 17-10 turnaround-season back in 2017-18. Since then, the former West Liberty guard under Crutchfield, has only seen his resume explode. In the past two seasons alone, Fee has coached the Sharks to a pair of NCAA Tournaments, an NCAA South Region Championship and a Sunshine State Conference Regular Season Championship. Under his direction, NSU has also earned five All-America honors and has seen five players go on to sign professional contracts.

To stay up-to-date with the Sharks throughout the offseason, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @NSU_MBasketball.  

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Sharks Bolster Roster with Two More Pieces in 2020 Class

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Even late in the recruiting process, head coach Jim Crutchfield has still managed to work his magic, as the Nova Southeastern men’s basketball program officially landed two more additions in Sebastian Griffin and Sekou Sylla to its 2020 class this week.

Griffin and Sylla join Dallas Graziani and Alex Mangold as part of another exciting group after the latter duo pledged to the Sharks in late March.

A 6-foot-3 point guard, Griffin has made a name for himself on the Australian circuit at a very young age. The 18 year-old brings plenty of leadership to the floor, and possesses a hard-nosed style of play typical of most Aussies. Griffin has been a member of both the U16 and U18 Australian National Teams. As team captain, he earned three Australian National club championships, collecting a Finals MVP and an All-Star nod in the process. In 2019, he guided the U18 South Australian state team to a silver medal at the National Championships while averaging a notable 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists over the final four games of the tournament. Griffin will have all four years of eligibility with the Sharks.  

What Coach Crutchfield is saying: “Sebastian is what I call a cohesive player. He brings out the best in his teammates. It’s a skill that is generally underrated, but every team needs players on the court that never detract but always enhance the team concept. I think Seb is one of those guys.”

Griffin on signing with NSU: “Coach Crutchfield and Coach (Jordan) Fee really made committing to NSU an easy decision. Aside from the great facilities at NSU, the coaching staff and the winning history, the coaches always put the team first. They consistently promoted the team and made their selling point how team comes first and how close-knit and bought in their guys were. To see the coaches value their team like that really showed how special their program is.”

With three freshmen already in the mix for the 2020 cycle, Crutchfield scanned the transfer portal for a more proven commodity, and reeled in just that in Sylla. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Sylla lit it up in his two seasons with the College of Saint Rose out of the Northeast-10 Conference. As a freshman in 2018-19, he posted 12.1 points and 7.3 rebounds in just 24.8 minutes per contest on his way to earning four NE-10 Rookie of the Week awards before inevitably being selected to the NE-10 All-Rookie Team. This past winter, the 6-foot-4 forward upped those totals to 21.9 points (2nd in the NE-10) and 11.6 rebounds per game (1st in the NE-10), and in the process, racked up 20 double-doubles – tops in the nation during the regular season. Sylla was named to NCAA.com’s National Starting Five during the first half of the season, and was later recognized as the USBWA National Player of the Week in mid-January. Sylla will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Sharks.

What Coach Crutchfield is saying: “Sekou brings added experience to the roster. His ability to score and rebound are well documented. I think he can also be an asset defensively, both as a lockdown defender in the half court and in our full-court pressure.”

Sylla on signing with NSU: “I chose NSU because of its winning culture, its great location, and I know the coaching staff will push me to be the best player I can be. Can’t beat that!”

NSU concluded the 2019-20 season with a record of 23-6, earning its second straight berth to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the South Region.

To stay up-to-date with the Sharks on the recruiting trail, follow them on Twitter @NSU_MBasketball.
 

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Small College Basketball Selects Mark Matthews as Bevo Francis Award Finalist

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – One of just 14 players spanning NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA Division I, NAIA Division II, the USCAA and NCCAA, Nova Southeastern men’s basketball standout Mark Matthews has been tabbed a finalist for the 2020 Bevo Francis Award. Matthews is the first player in program history to be selected to the prestigious list.

Also the only player in program history to be named an All-American in multiple seasons, Matthews was arguably even more impressive during the final year of his collegiate career. As the go-to offensive threat for the Sharks, the Bonita Springs, Fla. native paced the nation’s second-ranked scoring offense (101.8 ppg) by averaging 22.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 29 starts. Matthews’ efforts propelled NSU back to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the South Region. He scored in double figures in all but one contest this winter, including a program-best and career-high, 45-point performance against Palm Beach Atlantic on Jan. 15, in addition to a 42-point display in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament final versus No. 5 Florida Southern. In just two seasons in a Shark uniform, Matthews closes his notable career among the program’s Top-10 in points (1,317), rebounds (522) and assists (269).

“On behalf of Small College Basketball and the National Award Committee, I sincerely congratulate all 14 finalists for the 2020 Bevo Francis Award,” said Small College Basketball’s John McCarthy. “Based on our criteria, these players were the elite of the elite in the country during the 2019-20 season. It’s been a joy to watch each of them, and every one of them has had an exceptional season and has helped to lead their teams to tremendous success this season. I’m so happy for each of them, as they have earned this tremendous recognition”

The Clarence “Bevo” Francis Award is presented annually to the player who has had the finest overall season within Small College Basketball. Considerations for the award include season statistics and individual achievements, awards, personal character and team achievements. This is an incredibly prestigious award, as this award will only be given to one player within Small College Basketball per season.

This season marks the fifth of the Bevo Francis Award. Past winners include Dominez Burnett of Davenport in 2016, Justin Pitts of Northwest Missouri State in 2017, Emanuel Terry of Lincoln Memorial in 2018 and Aston Francis of Wheaton in 2019.

The 2020 Bevo Francis Award winner will be announced tonight at 7 p.m. ET. To stay up-to-date on all things Small College Basketball, please head to smallcollegebasketball.com.

A complete list of the 2019-20 Bevo Francis Award finalists is available below.

Chris Coffey                 6’7″       Sr.        Georgetown
Zaccheus Darko-Kelly    6’6″       Jr.        Providence (MT)
Jhonathan Dunn            6’4″       Sr.        Southern Nazarene
Brett Hanson                 6’2″       Sr.        Florida Southern
Ryan Hawkins               6’7″       Jr.        NW MO State
Trevor Hudgins             6’1″       So.       NW MO State
Kyle Mangas                 6’3″       Jr.        Indiana Wesleyan
Cam Martin                   6’9″       Jr.        MO Southern
Mark Matthews            6’6″      Sr.        Nova Southeastern
Selom Mawugbe           6’10”     Sr.        Azusa Pacific
Nic Reed                       6’5″       Sr.        Olivet Nazarene
Jake Ross                     6’4″       Sr.        Springfield (MA)
Andrew Sischo              6’9″       Jr.        Daemen
Nate West                     5’10”     Sr.        LeTourneau
 
 

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