Former Kansas University basketball guard Terry Nooner and his wife, Tracy, are expecting the birth of the couple’s first child — a girl — on Aug. 30.
“I’m trying to breed the next women’s phenom at KU,” Nooner said Thursday, with a laugh.
Who knows? In 18 or so years, he just might be tutoring his own daughter in Allen Fieldhouse.
Nooner — he played at KU from 1997-2000 — on Thursday was named assistant coach on Bonnie Henrickson’s KU women’s hoops coaching staff. The Raytown, Mo., native spent the last year as an assistant women’s coach at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.
“I’m so excited. You know how much I love this place,” Nooner said Thursday. He will officially begin his new job today. “I’ve been hanging around for years (working Henrickson’s camps and bringing Kansas City-area youth players to Late Night in the Phog).
“To be able to work at KU is a dream come true. I know how much passion fans have for the University of Kansas and basketball in general, and I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of it again. To work with a great coach like Bonnie Henrickson and these players ... I’m just thankful and grateful for the opportunity,” Nooner added.
At KU, Nooner will work with Jayhawk perimeter players in addition to recruiting responsibilities. Prior to his one season at SIU, he coached the girls 13-and-under and 15-and-under teams for the Lady Phenom AAU organization (2007-2011) and coached the Earl Watson Kansas City Bruins 17-and-under boys team in 2006.
Nooner also coached boys basketball at Southeast High School (2002-03, 2007-08) and Raytown High School (2008-09) during his six years of teaching special education at the two schools.
In addition, Nooner served as president of KC Pro Am Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides basketball instruction, and served as a personal basketball instructor at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.
“KU had such a great season. I followed them closely like I always do,” Nooner said. “Every time they’d win a game (in NCAA Tournament en route to Sweet 16) I’d send Bonnie texts. We’d talk trash. I’d say, ‘Way to go get ’em. Good win.’ I was in my office in Carbondale watching the games. I watched the Selection Show and was screaming and hollering, all excited when they got in as the last team (on Selection TV show).”
Henrickson knows Nooner well. He worked her Elite and Team camps, and they’d visit on the recruiting trail.
“He has always been a loyal Jayhawk, and we are happy to be able to bring him back home,” Henrickson said. “Nobody is better from an integrity and character standpoint — who he was as a player on the men’s side. I’m really excited for him, for our kids and our recruits.
“Think about the experience and wisdom he has for people we are recruiting and people in our program. He’s walked the walk they are going through,” she added. “We’ve always been impressed with him going back to when he was coaching all those young kids (in KC area). Danny (Manning, former men’s assistant) said, ‘There’s this guy coaching these young girls. You have to meet him.’ He’d bring those kids over for Late Night and camp. Everybody speaks so highly of him, what a good person he is and the integrity he has.”
Nooner met his wife while a student at KU.
“She is from Manhattan, Kansas, and went to KU,” Nooner said. “She’s ecstatic. She is probably a bigger Jayhawk fan than me. She doesn’t miss anything regarding Kansas basketball. We both have family here, and we both love KU.”
More on Rio: Future KU guard Anrio Adams, a 6-3 senior from Seattle’s Rainier Beach High, said on Twitter this week that he scored an 18 on the ACT, thus would be eligible to play at KU. While that figures to be the case, it’s not exactly that cut-and-dried. The NCAA has a sliding scale pairing ACT/SAT scores with overall grade-point average. For instance, if Adams’ ACT score indeed averaged out to be an 18 (72 overall), he would need an overall GPA of about 2.4 to qualify for a scholarship at KU. His final grades won’t be tabulated and sent to the NCAA Clearinghouse until early to mid-June once the Rainier school year ends.
“You know what? I’d be surprised if he’s not (eligible). He’s been doing very well,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed, hoping for the best. I think he’ll be OK.”
Harris update: University of South Carolina transfer Damontre Harris, a 6-9 junior-to-be, still is trying to pick between KU and Florida.
“They’re both great programs,” Harris told the Fayetteville, N.C., Observer on Thursday at Pine Forest High School, where he participated in a scrimmage. “Wherever my heart takes me, wherever my heart feels I need to be, that’s what I’m going to go with. They’re great programs; they’re all winning programs,” Harris added. “I really don’t see any negativity with either program. It’s a comfort level and the coaches I think I can mesh with the most.”