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UCO's Terry Evans meets with OU regarding basketball coaching vacancy

BY BERRY TRAMEL, Staff Writer, Modified: March 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm •  Published: March 31, 2011

Terry Evans wants the Oklahoma basketball job. And he makes an interesting defense of detractors who say the Sooners shouldn’t hire a coach from the University of Central Oklahoma.

“Some people see me as a Division II coach,” Evans said. Others “see me as we’ve got one of the top 100, top 120 programs in college basketball. It depends on how you see my situation.”

OU athletic director Joe Castiglione interviewed Evans earlier this week. Evans declined to comment on the interview, but though the ninth-year UCO coach remains a longshot for the job, he’s rising up the list as other coaches fall off the OU radar.

Basketball is different from football, which has few layers between major powers and lower divisions. But in hoops, between the Big 12 and the next lower division, you’ve still got various degrees of mid-major and low-major.

So a Division II basketball coach is expected to climb the ladder gradually.

But Evans has a counter.

“I don’t agree with that,” Evans said. “Division II, when you’re at the level we’re at, that’s the same as the low to mid D-I’s.

“Look at our RPI. I would put ours up with Tulsa. I would put us ahead of ORU. To me, I’m already at that level. I know Joe would hire me if I was at Tulsa, but I understand the public perception.”

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Reports: Kruger, Weber not candidates

Where does Terry Evans rank on the OU basketball radar? Who knows, but he could be moving up fast.

Las Vegas newspapers reported Wednesday that UNLV coach Lon Kruger had pulled out of the OU running, though it is believed an offer remains on the table.

Illinois coach Bruce Weber apparently has pulled his name from the OU coaching search.

Multiple reports Wednesday said Weber was talking with Sooner athletic director Joe Castiglione, but Weber today said no thanks.

"I received a few interest calls regarding other positions, but nothing beyond that," Weber said in a statement. "I remain committed to the University of Illinois.

We held our first spring workouts yesterday. I enjoyed being in the gym with our returning players and look forward to welcoming a talented recruiting class to the mix.

"I am fortunate to have one of the elite jobs in all of college basketball and am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for our program. We will work tirelessly to ensure that Illinois is competing at a championship level both in the Big Ten and nationally."

Las Vegas newspapers on Wednesday reported that UNLV Lon Kruger no longer was interested in the OU job, though some believe a Sooner offer remains open to Kruger, who played and coached at Kansas State.



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