Dion Waiters

Dion Waiters withdraws from NBA Combine and interviews, Did he receive lottery promise?

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With his strong performance down the stretch for Syracuse this past season, Dion Waiters has become one of top shooting guards in the 2012 NBA Draft, probably set to be selected anywhere between the back half of the lottery and about the 20th overall pick.

And it took some by surprise when Waiters, a 6-4, 215-pound Philadelphia native, pulled out of the rest of his workouts and interviews with NBA teams, sparking rumors that he has received a promise from one front office that he would be selected in the lottery.

RealGM.com points out that teams like Toronto, Portland, and Phoenix may have made the promise to him, with those three teams sitting on a pick in the second half of the lottery.

“His agent has told me there’s a promise to another team,” Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo said, according to the site. “Regardless, if he’s on the board he’s in our mix.”

Waiters averaged 12.6 points and 2.6 assists per game this past season for the Orange in 2011-12, including 28 points in a Big East tournament loss to Cincinnati.

Most appealing to teams, perhaps, is Waiters’ size and muscular frame, which would translate well as a shooting guard at the NBA level. Scouts are also high on his intangibles, and the fact that he was able to excel at Syracuse, coming off the bench, yet was many times the most impressive player on the floor.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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