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Archive for Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Walters hopes to land FAU gig

Recruit Arthur to visit LSU this weekend

April 25, 2006

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Rex Walters has been offered a position as lead assistant men's basketball coach at Southern Methodist.

The 36-year-old former Kansas University basketball guard hopes that in a week or two he'll be able to respectfully decline.

Walters, associate head coach on Matt Doherty's Florida Atlantic staff this past season, has stayed at the Boca Raton, Fla., school, hoping to be named Doherty's successor. Doherty, an assistant coach at KU from 1992 to '99, on Monday was introduced as head coach at SMU.

"I would love for them to hand it over to me, but everybody has a process," Walters said Monday night in a phone interview from his FAU office. "I want this job. I am willing to stay until they tell me to go to Dallas and help build it at SMU or move into coach Doherty's office here."

Florida Atlantic went 15-13 overall and 14-6 in the Atlantic Sun Conference in Doherty's first and only season at FAU.

"It's our best conference finish in school history," Walters said.

He helped FAU land five recruits last season and six more for the upcoming campaign, the school's first in the Sun Belt Conference.

"One recruit was disappointed. I'll talk to him again tonight," said Walters, who met with the Owls' returning players Monday and phoned all the incoming prospects.

"As far as I know, everyone is still on the same page. They'd like me to be here. I'd like to be here for them. I got great feedback from our players. I want to be here because I want to build this program. I know what it takes to run a program and run it the right way."

Walters, who worked as an assistant at Valparaiso for two years following his nine-year professional career (seven years NBA; two in Spain), already has spoken about the FAU job to Owls' athletic director Craig Angelos.

"Our AD and president want to go through the process and start talking to people, to make sure they are not missing something. I can understand that and accept that," Walters said. "I am confident that at the end of the day I'm best for the job. I wouldn't have stayed here (during interim) if I didn't think I had a great shot."

Walters, a 1993 KU grad, and his wife, Deanna, have four children, Addison (8), Drew (6), Riley (3), and Gunner (1).

LSU heavy leader for Arthur?: Darrell Arthur, a 6-foot-9 senior forward from Dallas' South Oak Cliff High, says he definitely will make an unofficial campus visit this weekend to LSU.

He told the Baton Rouge Advocate the Tigers now led Kansas and Baylor. He's eliminated Texas because he had wanted to play alongside LaMarcus Aldridge, who has declared for the NBA Draft.

Arthur said 6-foot Oklahoma signee Scottie Reynolds, a point guard from Herndon, Va., also would consider LSU if Arthur chooses the Tigers. The two became friends playing for Team USA last year. Reynolds asked out of his national letter of intent at OU after Kelvin Sampson left to take the head-coaching post at Indiana.

"I really want to play with somebody I know, and Scottie is one of my best friends," Arthur told the Advocate. "We really want to find a situation where we can play together."

Arthur, who told the paper Monday night he may make a final decision before he left Baton Rouge, said this of LSU: "They caught my eye when they got to the Final Four, and when their coaches called, I was definitely interested right away. They called me when they knew Tyrus (Thomas) might be leaving and told me they needed a four-man to come in and take his place. I watched how they play, and it looks like a very good fit to me."

On Monday morning, Andrew Skwara of rivals.com and the Sporting News reported LSU had won the recruiting battle for Arthur and an announcement would be made sometime this week.

"Baylor and Kansas both made strong pushes, but neither could offer him a guaranteed starting job and a chance to win a national title right away, or a chance to play alongside Big Baby (Glen Davis)," Skwara wrote.

Mayo suspended?: O.J. Mayo, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2007 who is considering Kansas State because of his close relationship with coach Bob Huggins, has been suspended from North College Hill High in Cincinnati for 180 school days, a school board member told Cincinnati's WKRC TV station. The suspension, the station says, follows an alleged confrontation last week with a female student.

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