Taliaferro 'Definitely Interested' In EMU

ATLANTA -- The team that lost to Arkansas in the title game of the Paradise Jam may be looking to hire one of the assistant coaches who helped engineer that defeat.

Eastern Michigan, which lost 82-64 against Arkansas in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, on Nov. 22, fired head coach Jim Boone after he failed to post a winning record in five seasons, and a report in the Detroit Free Press listed Arkansas third-year assistant Oronde Taliaferro as one of two leading candidates for the job along with Michigan assistant Charles Ramsey.

Taliaferro, 33, who is from Detroit and was at hometown Wayne State from 1992-94, said he'd be interested in the EMU head coaching job.

"Obviously it's home," said Taliaferro after Wednesday's workout in preparation for tonight's first-round Southeastern Conference matchup against Tennessee. "It's a great job. It's a great situation. I'm definitely interested. It's very preliminary right now. Nothing's really going on there."

Eastern Michigan athletic director Dave Diles said he's looking for someone with Taliaferro's background after Boone struggled to recruit in-state players.

The Eagles went 12-18 last season and Boone's best season was his in 2003 when they went 14-14.

"We will focus our energies on people with deep relationships in this state, specifically southeastern Michigan," Diles told the Free Press.

Third-year Arkansas coach Stan Heath is an alumnus of Eastern Michigan (1988), recruited Taliaferro to Albion (Mich.) College and coached him at Wayne State.

Taliaferro coached Detroit Central to two state championships in 1998 and 2001 and joined Heath's staff at Kent State for their magical run to the Elite Eight in 2002.

Taliaferro came with Heath to Arkansas and was recently named one of the top 25 recruiters in the country according to Rivalshoops.com.

Heath said he'd not yet been contacted about Taliaferro, but he expects to be.

"I've not been contacted on that at all," Heath said. "I'm sure at some point I will be because it is my alma mater and I know a lot of people there. The one thing that I know - coach Taliaferro and myself don't want it to be a distraction at all. Our focus is on this tournament.

"If opportunities open up, I'm a guy that's going to push and try to help not only my players, but my coaches. When that opportunity comes, we'll address it. But right now, I haven't had a conversation with anyone."

Taliaferro wouldn't say if he's been contacted by anyone at Eastern Michigan.

"I can't really speak to that, to be honest with you," he said. "But I'm pretty sure we'll hear something in the next week or so."

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