Top recruit Kyle Anderson addresses commitment, state of UCLA

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UCLA scored the most coveted East Coast recruiting prize this fall, when 6-8 point guard Kyle Anderson of St. Anthony (Nj.) signed his name on the dotted line and pledged to play for the Bruins in 2012-13.

Then the storm hit Westwood.

The Bruins started 2-5 and didn’t beat a Division I team until November 28th. The biggest returning piece from last season, Reeves Nelson, was suspended twice, then dismissed from the team.

Questions were raised about what appeared to be another rift between head coach Ben Howland and a star player.

The pendulum has swung back to favorability for the Bruins, of late, having won five in a row, and more good news: Anderson says he is fully behind his future team and coach.

“No, no,” he told NBCSports.com, regarding speculation that UCLA’s season has swayed his decision away from Howland and the Bruins. “I’m still ready to get there in the fall, next year, and we’re looking to roll as a team.”

Anderson leads a top 10 national program at St. Anthony and is one of the most unique players in the country.

He could play more of a point-forward position in college, but his mature passing skills and superb court vision will make him an offensive threat, wherever Howland puts him.

“[Coach Howland] likes his point guards and UCLA is very point guard-oriented,” said Anderson. “I like that.”

Anderson joins Oak Hill’s Jordan Adams as the two players signed to the Bruins from the Class of 2012, while they continue to pursue coveted prospects Tony Parker, the big man from Miller Grove (Ga.), and Shabazz Muhammad, the nation’s number one player.

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.

h/t ShockerHoops.net