One of the few Missouri people not fully enjoying the Tigers’ fabulous season happens to sit on the bench. But not by choice.
Forward Laurence Bowers tore the ACL in his left knee during an October pick-up game. That resulted in season-ending surgery for a guy who would’ve been a starter after averaging 11.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and led the Big 12 in blocked shots.
Missouri (26-4, 13-4 in Big 12) adjusted nicely, going to a guard-heavy lineup and getting consistent play from forward Ricardo Ratliffe inside. (Would the season be the same with Bowers in there? Tough to say.)
But it’s been tough on Bowers, who’s tried to maintain a positive outlook with teammates, even if he’s dying to be on the court.
From the AP:
“He’s been outstanding,” [coach Frank] Haith said. “He’s a really good leader. He’s always talking to the guys. We take him on the road so he’s at every team meeting, he’s engaged (with) what’s going on in terms of our preparation. And that helps … It feeds him, because he’s not playing in the game.”
Bowers acknowledged that Missouri’s success this season has at times made sitting out more difficult.
“It’s real bittersweet,” he said. “Of course, I want my guys to do extremely well. These are guys I’ve been with for three or four years. The bitterness is I’m not a part of it. “
So here’s a question: If Missouri makes the Final Four for the first time in school – or even wins it all – does Bowers still have some bitterness? Or does the sheer joy associated with that kind of accomplishment ease some of that? A little bitterness at a missed opportunity will always remain. But winning makes everything better. Even if you’re forced to watch.
Also good news? Bowers should be ready for next season. Then he can really feel better.
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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.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.