College basketball: California promotes Wyking Jones to head coach

California promoted longtime college assistant Wyking Jones to head basketball coach Friday in place of the departed Cuonzo Martin.

Jones was an assistant under Martin the past two seasons and served as interim coach after Martin left to take the job at Missouri last week. Jones has also been an assistant at Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, New Mexico and Louisville before getting his first chance as a head coach with the Golden Bears.

“To be able to lead this incredible group of men is a dream come true for me,” Jones said in a statement. “When I left Louisville and decided to come home to California, I was stepping out on faith, but I knew in my heart this was where I needed to be. Coach Martin left an unbelievable foundation for the program and we will work hard to continue to elevate Cal basketball.”

Before coming to Cal, Jones spent four seasons at Louisville under Rick Pitino, where he helped the Cardinals win the national title in 2013 and another trip to the Final Four.


“Wyking is a five-star recruiter, a five-star coach and a five-star person,” Pitino said. “I’m so happy for him and his family.”

But most of his experience has been in the West with Jones having played and coached at Loyola Marymount before stints as an assistant at Pepperdine and New Mexico.

Jones inherits a thin roster that only got more depleted when star Ivan Rabb declared for the NBA draft earlier this week. Rabb was Cal’s second-leading scorer as a sophomore at 14.0 points and top rebounder averaging 10.5 boards. Leading scorer Jabari Bird was a senior and freshman point guard Charlie Moore is the only returning player who averaged more than 5.0 points per game this past season.

The Bears will have Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee available to play next season.


Martin, meanwhile, landed top recruit Michael Porter Jr., who tweeted he would be signing with Missouri one day after his father took a job there as an assistant. The 6-foot-10 forward renounced his commitment to Washington after the firing of Lorenzo Romar.

Davis gets new contract at Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis has agreed to a new contract that runs through the 2023-24 season. School officials said the seven-year deal will give Davis a $575,000 base salary plus $175,000 each year for television and broadcast responsibilities.

Davis has led Middle Tennessee to an NCAA tournament victory each of the last two seasons. Middle Tennessee stunned Michigan State in last year’s tournament and defeated Minnesota this year before falling to Butler in the round of 32.

Davis is 307-180 in 15 seasons at Middle Tennessee, including a 154-54 mark over the last six seasons. The Blue Raiders went 31-5 this year.


Florida State freshman Jonathan Isaac says he is entering the NBA draft, becoming the third Seminoles player since the season ended to leave early. The 6-foot-10 forward made his announcement in a video on social media and also informed the school of his decision. Isaac did not say whether he intends to hire an agent, a move that would prevent him from returning to school. He is projected to be a lottery pick. … Oklahoma State promoted assistant Mike Boynton to head coach less than a week after Brad Underwood left for Illinois. Boynton, 35, helped engineer Oklahoma State’s run to the NCAA tournament last season. He was an assistant for Underwood for three years at Stephen F. Austin and spent four years as an assistant at South Carolina, where he played and earned a degree in African-American studies. …

Iowa State has given Coach Steve Prohm a contract extension that will run through 2022 and a raise to $2 million in annual compensation. Iowa State also extended women’s Coach Bill Fennelly through 2022, though the terms of his deal remain unchanged. … Cleveland State has hired Dennis Felton as coach. The former Georgia coach succeeds Gary Waters, who retired after 11 seasons with the Vikings. Felton has also coached at Western Kentucky and spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Tulsa. …