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|Pasternack shocked, not surprised|
That was how University of New Orleans men's basketball coach Joe Pasternack III described his reaction to the firing of Ben Braun at California and the hiring of Trent Johnson at LSU.
Pasternack, who spent his very early years in Ferriday, worked for Braun at California before taking the head coaching job at New Orleans.
He coached against Johnson while an assistant at California when Johnson was at Stanford.
Shocked, but then again...
"That's the business we are in," Pasternack said. "You never know what's going to happen. I thought Coach Johnson was doing well at Stanford. He must have known something to take the LSU job. He is a really good coach. He has a really disciplined style of play."
Pasternack led UNO to a 19-13 record his first year, the most wins the program has had since 1997. UNO also tied a school record with nine road victories, including a huge upset at North Carolina State.
"I thought we had a great season and built a foundation for years to come," Pasternack said. "Now we are working hard to expand on it."
UNO's season ended with an 81-77 loss to regular season champion South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference quarterfinals.
South Alabama and Western Kentucky both advanced to the NCAA Tournament, with Western Kentucky reaching the Sweet 16.
"I felt we definitely were the best mid-major conference in the country," Pasternack said.
Pasternack said he also enjoyed watching the NCAA Tournament this year because of ESPN commentator Bob Knight, whom Pasternack served as a student manager at Indiana University from 1995 through 1999.
"I thought it was great," Pasternack said of Knight working for ESPN. "America got a different perception of Coach Knight, not just seeing him throw chairs. As far as analyst, I don't think anyone else could do a better job."
Pasternack, who has been a part of eight NCAA Tournament teams, became the 11th head coach in UNO history last year.
He now must replace six seniors, including two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Bo McCalebb, who surpassed former Navy great David Robinson for 21st place on the NCAA all-time scoring list. McCalebb finished his UNO career with 2,679 career points.
Pasternack said he is looking to recruit nine players for next season.
"It's a lot of responsibility," Pasternack said of recruiting as a head coach his first group of prospects. "But it's what I have dreamed about all my life. It has come to fruition and everything is going well."
Pasternack said there is no such thing as an offseason when you are a collegiate head basketball coach.
"It's been a whirlwind," he said. "There is no stopping in this business. But we are ready to take it to the next level."
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