At the conclusion of the 2012-2013 men’s basketball seasons at UB and Niagara the future looked bright. Then soon after UB fired Reggie Witherspoon and Joe Mihalich left Niagara for Hofstra. Despite both schools having a talented and young returning group of players the future seemed uncertain. Today both programs have new coaches, but seemed head in opposite directions.

UB Athletic Director Danny White hired Duke icon Bobby Hurley as his new coach. The firing of Witherspoon angered some supporters of the institute, however the recruitment of Hurley quickly quieted critics.

At Niagara AD Tom Crowley underwhelmed supporters when he hired Chris Casey to replace the departed Mihalich. Casey was a Div II coach at Long Island University and an a assistant at Niagara’s sister Vincentian college St.Johns. Still, with the cupboard full at NU hopes were high for a repeat performance of the regular season MAAC Championship.

Now NU has announced that All-conference guard Juan’ya Green and rebounding leader Ameen Tanksley have been granted transfer requests and are leaving the university. Word is freshman guard Tahjere McCall will also be leaving the program. Suddenly Chris Casey has a huge hole in his lineup and little recruiting time.

Word inside Niagara is that the departure of Mihalich concerned the free-wheeling Green and his Philadelphia grown teammates. Also, there is a growing unrest on the squad over what some feel is a “selfish” attitude by all-conference guard Antoine Mason. The program that Chris Casey agreed to run has suddenly taken a turn for the worse.

So while UB will have a new head coach with a big name and a roster full of experienced players, Niagara is facing a backslide to an also ran. Both programs are facing big questions next season.

Perhaps Chris Casey will rise to the occasion and “coach” his way to success as opposed to just recruiting the run and gun guards that made Joe Mihalich a winning bench boss. Maybe Bobby Hurley is a better player than coach and his skills are not in coaching? Right now I would bet that the sky is much bluer at UB.






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