INDIANAPOLIS – This weekend wasn't supposed to be this rocky for Cloverdale High School basketball star Cooper Neese.
He was in the midst of enjoying the Indiana All-Star experience when he got hit with the news that his future was going to altered significantly.
The Butler University recruit found out early Friday that Bulldog coach Chris Holtmann had resigned to accept the same position at Ohio State and whether or not that news is the root cause of it or not, the fact is, Neese's game hasn't been the same since.
“I stayed up until about three in the morning waiting to see what was going to happen,” Neese told The News-Sentinel about his fitful Thursday night of rest. “I woke up about two hours later and saw it. Then (Holtmann) gave me a call about 7:30.”
Earlier that evening, Neese had rained in five 3-pointers (in six attempts) to lift the Indiana All-Stars to a dominating 42-point rout of the Junior All-Stars, but he has struggled ever since.
In Saturday's 94-89 win over Kentucky, Neese missed 4 of his 5 shots and that trend continued in Sunday's 111-110 double overtime defeat in Frankfort, Ky.
In the latter game, Neese played just 22 minutes despite the Indiana squad being limited to nine players and the game lasting 50 minutes and he missed 4 of his 6 shots.
Neese's reputation is of being a fantastic shooter, but he didn't make a 3-pointer in either game.
Despite the on-the-court malaise, Neese is saying all of the right things in regards to his future with the Bulldog program.
“I picked a school just as much as a coach,” Neese said of Butler. “It takes a big blow when the coaches that mainly recruited you go. But Butler recruited me, as well.”
Neese was recruited primarily by former Bulldog assistant coach Michael Lewis, who resigned a year ago to take a position at Nebraska, and then Holtmann's departure stung also.
“It was definitely disappointing,” Neese said. “But Butler is Butler and that is what I am looking forward to when I get there.”
Neese said that the Bulldog players, remaining assistants and even athletic director Barry Collier have kept him up to date and he expects a “familiar” name to be in place soon.
“They are getting ready to wrap it up,” Neese said of the quick coaching search that Collier has conducted. “It'll be soon. It's going to be a coach that everybody will probably be familiar with.”
The “familiar” part of that statement has lent some reassurance to Neese and his family, but so has the history of Butler in this situation. The Bulldogs' next coach will be their seventh in the past 18 seasons, so this isn't exactly new territory for Collier, who has hired (now) four of those coaches.
“Of the past six coaches,” Neese explained, “it's always been a good coach. They've always had a problem losing a coach to a better job and that proves that they always pick a good coach.”
Holtmann will be introduced at a press conference in Columbus at 11 a.m. today, while Collier reportedly was in further discussions with former Butler player LaVall Jordan, who is currently the Milwaukee head coach, late Sunday.
Jordan interviewed for the position four years ago, but Collier hired former Butler assistant and player Brandon Miller instead.
Milwaukee struggled under Jordan this season to just 11 victories. However, the Panthers advanced to the Horizon League Tournament championship game before falling.
Jordan has high-major recruiting experience as an assistant at Big Ten programs Iowa and Michigan earlier in his career.
Not only did Neese hit a shooting slump over the weekend, but Indiana Miss Basketball Karissa McLaughlin did, as well.
The Homestead High grad connected on just 4 of 16 shots (2 of 10 from 3-point range) in Saturday's 75-67 loss. She finished with 12 points in 28 minutes, and her play didn't improve Sunday.
Indiana bounced back after seeing a seven-game win streak snapped Saturday with a 58-51 win in Frankfort, Ky. Sunday. However, McLaughlin missed 10 of 11 shots (she was 1 of 6 from 3-point range) and totaled just four points (none in the second half).
Her Spartan teammate, Madisen Parker, scored two points and grabbed three rebounds in the Saturday loss, while she had three points and a pair of boards in Sunday's win.
The Indiana girl's have now won seven of their past nine games in the annual series, while the boy's saw their impressive run halted in Sunday's loss.
Indiana had won 17 consecutive games against Kentucky and 25 of the past 26. That record is now 25-2 in the past 27 games after the double overtime defeat.
For more on the sport of basketball, follow Tom Davis on Twitter at Tom101010 and on Facebook at Thomas Davis.