OSU coaches killed in plane crash

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OSU coaches killed in plane crash

From Comcast SportsNet

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)Oklahoma State University womens basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed when the single-engine plane they were riding in during a recruiting trip crashed in steep terrain in central Arkansas, the university confirmed Friday morning.

The university said the pair died in the crash around 7 p.m. Thursday night in the Winona Wildlife Management Area near Perryville, about 45 miles west of Little Rock. The planes pilot and another passenger also died in the crash, but their names were not immediately released. OSU said they were not affiliated with the university.

There were no survivors, the university statement said.

The crash is the second major tragedy for the sports program in about a decade. In January 2001, 10 men affiliated with the universitys mens basketball team died in a Colorado plane crash, prompting the university to require that planes used by the schools sports team undergo safety checks before travel. It wasnt immediately clear if the same policy applied to travel by coaches or administrators.

Oklahoma State canceled its womens college basketball home games set for Saturday and Sunday. The schools second-ranked college football team plays Friday night at Iowa State.

University president Burns Hargis credited Budke with elevating the team in a tough program. Serna, he said, set a good example for the players.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims. Kurt was an exemplary leader and a man of character who had a profound impact on his student-athletes, Hargis said. Miranda was an up-and-coming coach and an outstanding role model for our young ladies.

OSU hired Budke from Louisiana Tech seven years ago and the coach compiled a 112-83 record at the school. This years team was 1-0 after defeating Rice on Sunday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending investigators, and that it could take nine months to determine the cause of the crash.

FAA records showed that the plane was built in 1964 and registered to Olin Branstetter of Ponca City, Okla. A telephone message left on an answering machine at a number for Branstetter wasnt immediately returned Friday morning.

The plane that crashed in 2001, a Beechcraft King Air 200, had been donated by a school booster.

On Jan. 27, 2001, one of three planes carrying players and others connected to the OSU mens basketball team crashed in a field 40 miles east of Denver as the Cowboys returned from a game at Colorado. The crash occurred about 35 minutes after the plane took off in light snow.

An NTSB report cited a power loss aboard the plane and said the pilot suffered disorientation while flying the plane manually with still-available instruments.

After that crash, the university began requiring a firm to check out the condition of any plane used by a school sports team. It wasnt immediately known if that policy also applied to planes that carry only coaches or other school employees, or if the plane the womens coaches were traveling in had undergone an independent check.

Thursday night, the weather near the crash site was clear with temperatures in the upper 30s to mid-40s.

Azubuike: Paul George 'definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson'

Azubuike: Paul George 'definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson'

Paul George can become a free agent in 2018.

Klay Thompson is scheduled to hit free agency a year later.

Might they be future teammates with the Lakers?

"He's (George) definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson, and obviously he feels like Klay Thompson is a guy that he would love to play with in the Lakers," NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors analyst Kelenna Azubuike said on 95.7 The Game on Tuesday morning. "Now, for all we know, Klay could have said, 'Buzz off, I'm staying with the Warriors.' It doesn't really mean much that he put in a call. They probably had a nice conversation.

"Maybe they even talked about something other than basketball, and didn't talk about basketball at all. Who knows. It doesn't really mean much, but he's definitely put in calls to Klay Thompson; he's talked to LeBron James and he's trying to see if he can figure out who can come with him to the Lakers."

George reportedly told the Pacers he isn't going to stay with the franchise long-term and Indiana is currently looking to trade him before he has the opportunity to walk.

George -- who grew up in Los Angeles -- wants to suit up for the Lakers.

Klay is entering Year 3 of a 4-year, $69 million deal.

If he continues to play at his current level, he will absolutely be in line for a max deal when his contract is up.

A lot can change between now and then, but one thing is clear at this point: Klay doesn't want to go anywhere.

“At the end of the day, I’ve tasted winning,” Klay told Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group at the championship parade. “No stats can ever overcome that. I’d rather win these championships and score no points than have 60-point games and 37-point quarters. These championships are everything to me...

"It’s so much more to being part of a team and being part of something special. You can build a legacy ... the thing with basketball these days, there’s a lot of individuality with stats, numbers, Who’s the greatest, he’s a better player than him, he put up this many points.

"But Steve (Kerr) helped me a lot with that. He said nobody is going to remember how many points you put up. They are going to remember how many championships you win."

Klay was born in Los Angeles, grew up rooting for Kobe Bryant and went to high school in Southern California.

His father, Mychal, won two titles with the Lakers.

"But I doubt, I highly doubt that Klay Thompson will end up leaving the Warriors," Azubuike added.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Dorell Wright knew Steph and Klay would be this good because...

Dorell Wright knew Steph and Klay would be this good because...

Dorell Wright played for the Warriors in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

He spent a lot of time with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. 

Did he think they would end up being this good?

"Yeah. I seen it because they put the time in, they put the work in," Wright told Alex Kennedy on the HoopsHype Podcast. "Sometimes we'd have to go talk to Steph like, 'Yo, you know we got a game tonight? You're going pretty hard.'

"He's a little different, man. He takes coaching and advice from everybody. If you're telling him something that's gonna better him and help him, he's gonna sit there and listen to you. He's not gonna be one of those guys that thinks he knows everything.

"I'm happy for his success ... I'm just happy he's back and being healthy."

And what about Klay?

"A guy that I had to shoot with every day in different 3-point drills that Mark Jackson used to have us doing," Wright explained. "And I'm always going first because I'm the starter, and then it would be Klay and B-Rush. I'm making 20 shots in a drill and Klay would come right behind and hit like 26, and it's like, 'Dang, this dude really is a dead-eye knockdown shooter.'

"So that was a great experience being around another good shooter and a guy that puts the time in to get better each and every day."

During the 2010-11 season, Wright set the Warriors' single-season franchise record with 194 3-pointers (Curry made 151).

The following year, he made 105 in 61 games.

Wright, who will turn 32 in December, has not played in a regular-season NBA game since April 1, 2015.

He spent the 2015-16 season in China, before returning to the Heat for the playoffs.

He was in training camp with the Clippers last October, but was waived during the preseason.

Wright enjoys watching the Warriors play and wants to make an NBA comeback.

Perhaps with his former squad...

"They play well with each other, they move the ball and they take good shots ... that's pretty hard to guard," Wright said. "I didn't get a chance this year to play them so I can't really, really tell you how hard it is (laughing), but they make it look real easy out there.

"Hopefully I can get back out there next year so I can be either on their side or on the side of trying to dethrone them."

Wright also made sure to give some love to Warriors fans.

"Some of the most loyal fans that you will ever encounter -- rowdy, loud and just love their Bay Area teams ... I'm still a resident of the Bay Area and they still show me love like I'm a current Warriors player everywhere I go...

"The fan love is crazy."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller