Larry Brown cutting SMU players

DALLAS -- Several SMU players have been informed by new coach Larry Brown that they will not remain on the team.

SMU athletic director Steve Orsini said Friday night that Brown, the Hall of Fame coach hired last week, conducted an evaluation of the roster and held individual meetings with players. While not saying how many or which players wouldn't stay on the team, Orsini referred to "these young men" in his statement released by the school.

Starting point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas told the school's student newspaper that Brown basically told him that he "wasn't good enough to play for him."

Samarrippas, a 5-foot-10 guard who would have been a junior next season, averaged 6.9 points and 4.2 assists a game last season. He started all 31 games last season and was a starter most of his freshman season.

The Dallas Morning News, citing a source, reported that three non-starting forwards were also being removed from the team. Leslee Smith, Ricmonds Vilde and Eric Norman all would have been sophomores next season.

"During each meeting, there was honest, straight-forward discussion about the future of the program," Orsini said. "No player was told his scholarship would not be renewed."

Orsini said each of the former players could remain at SMU as a student on scholarship.

If they decide to transfer to play somewhere else, Orsini said Brown and his staff would help them find another school.

"These are decisions that will be made by the individual student-athletes, though, and not the athletic department," the AD said.

Later Friday, Brown announced the hiring of assistant coach Jerrance Howard, who spent the past five seasons as an assistant at Illinois.

Howard was a point guard for four seasons at Illinois (2000-04). Before returning to the Illini as an assistant coach, he worked for more than three years under Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M (administrative assistant) and Kentucky (basketball operations).

The roster on the school's website was unchanged Friday night. Samarrippas and the trio of forwards were still listed.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.