UE News and Notes for June 20, 2013

—I’m back from a few days on vacation, so here goes…

—Marty Simmons said Jordan Nelson’s decision to transfer surprised the UE coach. Nelson didn’t respond to a request to comment, so we’ll likely never really know why he left at this point of the year — and after Simmons repeatedly said he expected everyone back who had eligibility. It leaves a hole as far as experience goes, but with four incoming guards (among them a pair of sharpshooters) the departure shouldn’t much affect the rotation.

—Nelson’s transfer does, however, create an opportunity for UE coaches to recruit the class of 2014 again now that a scholarship will be open in the class. Originally, that wasn’t going to be the case as there will be no seniors on this season’s team. The Aces’ staff is also already showing interest to a number of 2015 prospects now that those recruits can receive unlimited texts and phone calls from college coaches. You can search the Rivals.com database for that growing list of players.

—The one incoming freshman who hasn’t yet made it to campus, combo guard Christian Benzon, has a good reason for that. He won the U20 Nordic Championship this week as part of Denmark’s national team.

—A year after he flipped an all-terrain vehicle and broke his jaw, Rokas Cesnulevicius feels stronger. I featured the UE junior center, who played sparingly last season after the accident, in a story over the weekend. Cesnulevicius wants to compete for playing time at power forward now that fellow Lithuanian native Egidijus Mockevicius has the five spot locked up.

—UE signee Blake Simmons contributed as a reserve in a pair of Indiana All-Stars victories last weekend over Kentucky, while women’s incoming freshman guard Dakota Weatherford moved into a starting point guard role while committing just one turnover in two games.

—UE women’s basketball coach Oties Epps promoted director of operations FahKara Malone to an assistant coaching role, the athletic department announced Wednesday. Malone, a former Memorial High School and Purdue standout, fills the spot previously held by coach Meredith Baugher, who took a job recently in Chicago. “She has a strong reputation in the state from her playing days and more importantly, she is a winner that has succeeded at a high level,” Epps said.

—Former UE star and Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan came out of retirement to rejoin the NBA organization this week as a senior basketball adviser. Sloan will, according to USA Today, “work with players in the offseason and handle regional scouting, as well as clinics.” Sloan retired from his original position with the Jazz during the 2010 season. He posted a 1,221-803 career mark as an NBA head coach.

—More UE influence in the league: As many as five NBA teams will wear jerseys with sleeves next season, according to an ESPN.com report. This story from Darren Rovell didn’t give the Aces the same props adidas’ original sleeves announcement did, but UE fans will always be able to say they wore them first.

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