A Bronx tale

By Adam Fenster and Mike Mallory, SPORTS EDITORS
On April 15, 2014

 

When former Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua was hired to coach USF men’s basketball it was rumored he might bring his younger brother, Oliver, and fellow Kentucky assistant Rod Strickland onto the coaching staff.

It became official Monday afternoon, as Oliver and Strickland became Orlando’s first two hires as the staff starts to take shape, forming a trio of Bronx natives at USF.

In an interview with The Oracle, Oliver said he and his brother were discussing the possibility of joining the staff earlier this month, and Orlando Antigua told USA Today “we’d love to have that opportunity if it works” on April 3.

The middle child in the Antigua family, Oliver spent last season as an assistant for one of USF’s former Big East foes, Seton Hall. Before his time with the Pirates, Antigua had another one-year stint at Manhattan where he coincidentally coached alongside USF’s first “unofficial” hire in Steve Masiello.

The Antigua brothers should be used to working with one another after this past summer when the two coached for the Dominican Republic National team.

Antigua and Strickland together on the sidelines will certainly be a familiar sight as well.

Strickland, a 17-year NBA veteran, served as director of basketball operations when John Calipari coached at Memphis, and later joined Calipari and Antigua at Kentucky as an administrative assistant — a stretch that began in 2005.

Strickland helped Antigua and Calipari recruit many current NBA players, and reportedly advised Memphis and Kentucky’s talented stars on the rigors of a future NBA life.

An All-American at DePaul, Strickland played for nine teams in the NBA and
averaged 13.7 points and 7.3 assists per game in his career and led the league in assists in 1998.

But it’s Strickland’s off-court demeanor that may cause some questioning in the hire.

Strickland has been arrested four times for driving under the influence — three of the arrests came between 1999 and 2001, and a more recent one in 2010.

According to an article on ESPN, after the fourth arrest, Strickland texted Calipari “I’m done” in reference to his future with Kentucky, expecting to be relieved of his duties. Calipari kept him on the staff though.

While USF nixed the hiring of Masiello after it was discovered that he never
graduated from Kentucky, though Masiello has never been convicted of a crime, Antigua must be aware of Strickland’s past.

Joining Antigua and Strickland in the
hiring of USF’s staff was also Jerry McCullough as the director of men’s
basketball operations. McCullough played alongside Orlando at Pittsburgh before graduating in 1996 and spent his last two seasons coaching the MacDuffie School in New York. He also had a long career playing for multiple teams in Europe.

Another part of USF’s coaching staff that has yet to be mentioned is one of USF’s more notable assistants from the Stan Heath era, Steve Roccaforte.

Along with Heath, Roccaforte’s name and biography was removed from the site, even when searching through USF’s archives of basketball coaches over the years.

reference to his future with Kentucky, expecting to be relieved of his duties. Calipari kept him on the staff though.

While USF nixed the hiring of Masiello after it was discovered that he never
graduated from Kentucky, though Masiello has never been convicted of a crime, Antigua must be aware of Strickland’s past.

Joining Antigua and Strickland in the
hiring of USF’s staff was also Jerry McCullough as the director of men’s
basketball operations. McCullough played alongside Orlando at Pittsburgh before graduating in1996 and spent his last two seasons coaching the MacDuffie School in New York. He also had a long career playing for multiple teams in Europe.

Another part of USF’s coaching staff that has yet to be mentioned is one of USF’s more notable assistants from the Stan Heath era, Steve Roccaforte.

Along with Heath, Roccaforte’s name and biography was removed from the site, even when searching through USF’s archives of basketball
coaches over the years.

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