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Rice basketball fills coaching staff, signs small forward

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He has no wins or loses yet, but Mike Rhoades recorded the following stats in his first month as Rice University head men’s basketball coach: three assistant coaches, three staff members and one player.

Perhaps the name most familiar to Rice fans of the seven new additions is Carlin Hartman, who has been part of the Owls staff twice before. Hartman will serve as Rice associate head coach.

“We are excited to have Carlin and his family at Rice,” Rhoades said in a school-issued news release. “He’s very familiar with the program and the players that came before us. His experience and relationship with players will continue to move us forward. We have hit a home run with the completion of our staff.”

Hartman’s most recent title was associate head coach at Columbia University, a job he held for four seasons. Hartman’s first coaching job was Rice assistant coach in 1996. He also was director of operations with the Owls from 2002-2004, part of the Mike Harris and Morris Almond era.

Hartman played basketball at Tulane. His other coaching stops have been McNeese State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Richmond.

Also coming from the Ivy League assistant coaching ranks is Scott Pera, an assistant coach at Penn the last two years. Prior to his time in Philadelphia, Pera spent considerable time on Herb Sendek’s staff at Arizona State. He helped recruit Houston Rockets star James Harden to the Sun Devils.

“He is well-respected in recruiting circles all over the country and has recruited some very good players,” Rhoades said of Pera. “I’ve known Coach Pera for a long time. We’ve been great friends and always talked about how if the situation occurred that we could be on the same staff, we wanted to take advantage of it. We’re very fortunate for that opportunity here.”

Joining Pera as assistant coach will be J.D. Byers. He comes to Houston from Radford, and has also coached at St. Francis (Pa.). This is not his first time he has shared a bench with Rhoades. Byers was an assistant for Rhoades for two seasons at Randolph-Macon College.

Rounding out the staff is Graham Bousley, director of operations; Nick Michael, strength and conditioning coach; and Adam Gierlach, video coordinator. Bousley and Michael joined Rhoades coming from VCU. Gierlach is the only holdover from the Ben Braun era. He was an assistant coach for Rice last season.

Rhoades also announced a player signing in April, Bishop Mency from Chino Hills, Calif. The 6-5 small forward averaged 10.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a senior. He is rated as a 3-star recruit by Scout and 2 star recruit by ESPN.

“We’re very excited to have Bishop a part of our basketball family at Rice,” Rhoades said. “He brings a combination of skill and athleticism that we need to play in the style we are striving to play. He comes from a great high school program, which will help in his transition to playing college basketball.”

The news was less good on the returning player front as star freshman center Sean Obi transferred to Duke. Obi averaged nearly a double-double for the Owls last season, leading the team in points, rebounds and blocked shots. The news was made official today.

Keith Washington, a 6-1 sophomore from Philadelphia, also was granted a release from his Rice scholarship. The Owls went 7-23 last season and won just two games in Conference USA. Braun resigned on March 13. Rhoades was hired 13 days later.

To get the latest Rice Owls news updates, please subscribe and follow @RiceExaminer on Twitter.

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