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
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.