After failing to turn around the NBA's Knicks in five years as an executive and a coach, the 48-year-old Thomas is taking on yet another major fixer-upper: The Panthers haven't had a winning season in nine years or reached the NCAAs in 14.
ELENA DELLE DONNE / DELAWARE
Having second thoughts about leaving her home state, the Wilmington native transferred from Connecticut in June 2008 and dropped hoops for volleyball (Point After, Nov. 16). The 6'5" pivot is rejuvenated, ready to make a resounding return to basketball—and could recapture her rep as the female LeBron James.
MICHAEL COOPER / USC
The 53-year-old former Laker hopes to invigorate the Trojans—who haven't reached the NCAA tournament since 2006—with the same run-and-gun game that helped his Los Angeles Sparks teams win 178 games and two WNBA championships in seven seasons.
It Must Be the Genes
Central Florida had to give up its $1.9 million sponsorship deal with Adidas because guard MARCUS JORDAN, the second of Michael's sons to play college hoops, wouldn't hang up his Nike Air Jordans.
Oklahoma is counting on 6'4" senior pivot ABI OLAJUWON, a daughter of Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon, to fill a void in the post left by the departures of Courtney and Ashley Paris.
St. John's hopes that 6'7" senior swingman ANTHONY MASON JR.—son of former NBA forward Anthony Sr. and a big scorer from three-point range—will bounce back from a hamstring injury.
All-Americas / Men