Binghamton Basketball Staff Update

Binghamton head men’s basketball coach Tommy Dempsey has locked in his staff for the 2019-20 season. Set to join the Bearcats are former Seton Hall standout and international coach Levell Sanders and former Southern Vermont College head coach and familiar UMBC assistant Brian Johnson. Additionally, local product Patrick Norris has been promoted to coordinator of player development. The trio join Dempsey and associate head coach Bryan Goodman on Binghamton’s staff.

“I am really looking forward to working with both Levell and Brian,” Dempsey said. “We are very fortunate to add two guys who were not only accomplished players, but also have been successful head coaches.”

Sanders, a Brooklyn native, returns to the states after a noteworthy coaching career in the Czech Republic. For the past five years, he has coached BK JIP Pardubice, leading the team to the elimination rounds of the 2017 FIBA Europe Cup and being named All-Czech Republic League Coach of the Year. His teams won at an 84 percent clip and captured bronze medals in the KNBL Czech League three straight years between 2015-18. Sanders was selected to be a member of the coaching staff of the Czech Republic U18 National Team that competed at the 2017 European Championships.  

As a player, Sanders scored 1,399 career points at Seton Hall before embarking on a successful 15-year professional career overseas. With the Pirates, Sanders averaged 12.4 points in 113 games and was named second team All-BIG EAST in 1998. A BIG EAST academic all-star, he graduated in 1998. His pro basketball accolades include being named the All-Czech Republic League Guard of the Year in 2007 as well as being a two-time first team all-star. He ranks 11th on the all-time leading scorer list in the Czech Republic. 

Sanders holds a strong reputation for player development and is the author of a book, “A Guide to Playing Professional Basketball Overseas.”

Johnson, a native of Baltimore, comes to Binghamton after serving as head coach at NCAA Division III Southern Vermont College last winter. He led the Mountaineers to a 16- season that was fueled by a pair of all-conference recruits. The two prior years, Johnson was head coach at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md. There, he led the Owls to the 2017 Maryland Junior Conference Tournament crown. His teams were Regional XX Championship finalists in back-to-back years and he was named the Maryland Junior College Coach of the Year in 2017 after leading PGCC to a 21-9 mark. 

Dempsey first crossed paths with Johnson while the latter was an assistant at fellow America East school UMBC between 2013-16. Johnson recruited two elite UMBC guards in Rodney Elliott (2014 AE Rookie of Year) and Jarius Lyles (NBA G League). 

Johnson scored 1,017 career points at University of Delaware before graduating with a degree in sociology in 2010. With the Hens, he earned CAA All-Rookie honors and graduated among the program’s all-time top-10 in minutes played (2nd with 3,987), assists (3rd with 510) and 3-pointers (8th with 135). 

Norris, a native of nearby Chenango, earned the promotion after serving as a program assistant last year while completing his master’s degree in public administration. A 2017 graduate of Notre Dame, he served as a three-year student manager for Mike Brey’s Fighting Irish program. He was part of Notre Dame’s 2015 ACC Championship team that advanced to the NCAA Elite 8. Norris is the nephew of BU Hall of Fame coach and athletics director Jim Norris. 

“Pat did a tremendous job as a program assistant last season while finishing his masters degree program,” Dempsey said. “I am happy we were able to keep him here with us in an increased role.”

In his eighth year at the helm, Dempsey returns Freshman All-American Sam Sessoms and five letterwinners and welcomes a strong recruiting class of seven players for the 2019-20 season.

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