Friday afternoon, according to the Associated Press, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said that he and his program would cooperate with the NCAA’s inquiry into whether or not former Duke forward Lance Thomas broke rules during his senior season in December 2009.
Thomas, a member of the 2010 national championship team, purchased more almost $100,000 of jewelry as a senior. He was later sued by the New York jeweler for allegedly owing more over $67,000. The lawsuit has since been settled.
During the Duke media day on Friday, according to the News & Observer’s Laura Keeley, Coach K was unprompted when talking about Thomas’ situation:
“Before anything was made public, they started working together to go through a process of seeing what happened. As a result of that, we want to honor the integrity of that process. That’s why I haven’t made any statements about it and will continue to do that. I hope you would understand that there is an integrity involved in the process, and we’re cooperating fully, and I’m going to adhere to that. . I have complete trust and confidence in all the parties involved and am very proud of our compliance record over the 33 years that we’ve been here.”
Senior forward Mason Plumlee, who played one season at Duke alongside Thomas, also opened up about Thomas’s lawsuit with the jeweler:
“It was kind of shocking. You come to the locker room everyday, and you hear about other schools, ‘oh this happened at Ohio State, this happened in football,’ but you think you’re exempt or something because you’re at Duke, but you’re not. Again, we don’t know where he got the money from, what actually happened.”
According to Keeley’s report, Plumlee said the NCAA’s inquiry is not a distraction to the team.
Thomas appeared in two games for the New Orleans Hornets last season, in his first year in the NBA.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)