USC Names Bland And Hart As Men's Basketball Assistant Coaches
April 12, 2013
The USC men's basketball program has hired Tony Bland and Jason Hart as assistant basketball coaches, it was announced by head coach Andy Enfield today (April 12).
"We are extremely excited to welcome Tony and Jason to the USC coaching staff," said Enfield. "Both men grew up in Los Angeles and have been successful players, mentors and coaches. Tony and Jason will be a big part of our future successes as we build the Trojan program."
Bland spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater San Diego State, helping lead the Aztecs to the NCAA Tournament both seasons. He is a Los Angeles native who was a high school All-American at Westchester High.
Bland played for two national championship coaches in Jim Boeheim and Steve Fisher and was part of teams that won 84 games and advanced to three NCAA Tournaments and the NIT in his four seasons of collegiate ball. He combined to score 1,368 points, grab 331 rebounds and dish out 319 assists in 127 collegiate games, 95 starts.
Bland began his college playing career at Syracuse for the 1999 and 2000 seasons, advancing to the NCAA Tournament each season. As a sophomore, he was one of three Syracuse players to start every game for a team that advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to eventual NCAA Champion Michigan State in Auburn Hills, Mich.
He transferred to San Diego State and as a junior led San Diego State's magical run to a Mountain West tournament championship and the school's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1985. He averaged 15.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists, in becoming the first player in the history of the Mountain West Conference to rank among the league's top 10 players in scoring and assists and top 20 in rebounding.
He was a captain at SDSU as a senior and helped lead the Aztecs to their first Division I postseason victory, a 67-62 overtime win over UCSB in the NIT. He averaged 16.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists and was named to the NABC District 13 and USBWA District IX teams.
Following college, Bland was invited to the Indiana Pacers' training camp and then went on to play in the United States Basketball League where he earned the league's Rookie of the Year award. He signed a contract with the Sacramento Kings for the 2004 preseason. He went on to play in Russia, the NBA Development League and in Europe.
He returned to San Diego State prior to the 2008-09 season to serve as the team's head manager and ultimately completing his degree in social science. Bland has three sons, Anthony, Landon and Axl, and is engaged to Tasia Jackson.
Hart is also a Southern California native who attended Inglewood and Westchester High schools in Los Angeles, and then went on to star four seasons at Syracuse, playing two seasons with Bland.
Last season Hart served as an assistant coach at Pepperdine and the season before he was the head coach at Taft High in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Hart played at Syracuse from 1997-2000 and left as the school's all-time leader in steals (329) and second all-time in assists (709). He also shares the Syracuse record for most steals in a season of 101 set in 1999.
In his four seasons at Syracuse, Hart helped lead the Orange to the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT one time. During his sophomore and senior seasons Syracuse advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
During his senior season, Hart was named to Syracuse's All-Century Team, which honored the top 25 players in the program's history. In 2011, Syracuse awarded him the Vic Hanson Medal of Excellence.
He was picked in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and went on to enjoy a nine-year career in the NBA. He played for Milwaukee, San Antonio, Charlotte, the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento, Utah, Denver, New Orleans and Minnesota. Four times his teams qualified for the NBA Playoffs. Hart also played a season in Greece.
Hart retired in December of 2010 and began coaching on the AAU circuit. He then took the job at Taft High and led the Toreadors to a 29-4 record, the Los Angeles City Section Division I title, the second round of the Division I state championships and a perfect 10-0 record in league play. He was named the L.A. City Coach of the Year.
Hart graduated from Syracuse in 2000 with a degree in sociology. His wife's name is Brandi and they have two children, Jason and Justin.