Jordan Clarkson, Philip Jurick

Jordan Clarkson and Damontre Harris still need to be fought for

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Bo Ryan is no longer college basketball’s Public Enemy No. 1.

After a couple of days where the coach was shredded by each and every outlet covering college basketball, Ryan finally relented. The only schools that Jarrod Uthoff is restricted from transferring to are other members of the Big Ten, which is about as good of a deal as you can get given the unfairness of the NCAA’s rule allowing coaches to block transfers.

Whether or not this was a result of Ryan simply wanting to hear Uthoff explain to him why he wanted the transfer or the Wisconsin program buckling under the pressure put on it by the media and the fans is, in the end, a moot point. Ryan is off the hook.

But he wasn’t the only one that was unfairly blocking a player’s efforts to transfer.

The nation’s latest transfer martyr is Jordan Clarkson of Tulsa. Tulsa is undergoing a complete overhaul of the program. Head coach Doug Wojcik was fired, replaced by Danny Manning. Manning brought with him an entirely new coaching staff. Tulsa also replaced their athletic director in January, as Ross Parmley took over for Bubba Cunningham, who was hired by North Carolina.

And it’s Parmley who has reportedly been the one fighting to keep Clarkson from being cleared to transfer where he would like to. Clarkson requested a release to eight schools. Five of them — Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri and Arizona — were denied while Colorado, Vanderbilt and TCU were allowed. Ironically enough, not a single Conference USA school is on the banned list.

“We don’t know the reason behind it,” Jamie Clarkson, Jordan’s mother, told on Thursday afternoon. “Jordan has been loyal and honest. We have not been in contact with any other schools.”

Parmley isn’t the only AD trying to prevent a player from transferring to the school that he wants to attend. Eric Hyman, South Carolina’s AD, has restricted Damontre Harris from receiving a release to talk with NC State about joining their program. Hyman believes that Harris was tampered with. Former South Carolina assistant coach Orlando Early is now on Mark Gottfried’s staff at NC State.

And therein lies to precise injustice with the way the current transfer rule is structured.

Like it or not, players pick what school they are going to attend based on their relationship with the coaching staff. In both Clarkson’s and Harris’ case, the coaching staff that they committed to is no longer heading up the program. Manning took over for Wojcik and Frank Martin was hired to replace Darrin Horn, who was fired in March.

There were no restrictions put on Manning’s or Martin’s move by their former employer. The ADs didn’t ask the players if they wanted to see Horn or Wojcik fired. These kids are now forced to: a) play in a program that bullied them into staying around, b) transfer to a school that isn’t the best fit for them athletically or personally, or c) transfer to the school that is their best fit and be forced off scholarship for a year.

How is any of that fair?

Bo Ryan is a public figure. Everyone knows who he is, if not because of the job he holds but because he looks exactly like Frank Costello in The Departed. Parmley and Hyman should be raked over the coals just as much as Ryan was.

We’ll see if that actually happens, however.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.