Arkansas rebuffed by big-name candidates for coaching job

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 06 Apr, 2024 at 05:49 PM

Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas took a step back in its search for a men's basketball coach as its top two choices both passed on the job.

And, Saturday, the Razorbacks' top recruit in 2024 class, Jalen Shelley asked to be released from his letter of intent to Arkansas, ESPN reported.

Kansas State coach Jerome Tang and Ole Miss head coach Chris Beard both announced their intentions to stay in the current jobs on Friday after overtures from Arkansas.

The Razorbacks lost head coach Eric Musselman to Southern California this week. Musselman replaced Andy Enfield, who accepted the job at SMU.

Beard's rejection came first on Friday when he posted to social media: "Great times ahead in Oxford. We are just getting started."

Later Friday, Tang followed with his own post, a highlight reel of his two seasons in Manhattan, Kan., to which athletic director replied, "Great Day to be a Wildcat!"

The Kansas City Star reported Friday night that Kansas State is expected to give Tang a contract extension with a raise, more money to pay assistant coaches and increased NIL efforts for the basketball program."

Beard, 51, led Ole Miss to a 20-12 record in his first season on the job in 2023-24.

Tang, 57, is 45-25 in his two seasons with the Wildcats, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2022-23.

Among the coaches Arkansas reportedly could consider are 63-year-old Darrell Walker, the head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock, who played for the Razorbacks, as well as Will Wade, 41.

The former coach at LSU, Wade led McNeese State to the NCAA Tournament this season. The team was 30-4 this season, though Wade was suspended for the first 10 games, part of the punishment meted out by the NCAA for three Level I violations during his tenure as the head coach with the Tigers (2017-22).

As for Shelley, he is a 6-foot-8 four-star forward. He signed his commitment letter in November but now wants to reopen his recruitment in the wake of Musselman's departure.

Shelley, who is from Texas, chose Arkansas from schools that included Texas A&M, Ohio State and Houston.

--Field Level Media