Xavier freshman point guard Semaj Christon out with an infection

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The last thing that Xavier needed on the day of their season opener against Fairleigh Dickinson was to have someone else ruled out, given the fact that they have just nine scholarship players on the roster.

But that’s exactly what head coach Chris Mack will have to deal with, as freshman point guard Semaj Christon is out for tonight’s game due to an infected cut on his elbow.

The contest between the Knights and Musketeers features two shorthanded teams, as FDU will travel just seven players to Cincinnati. Lonnie Hayes, who was supposed to have a homecoming of sorts since he’s a native of the city, was dismissed from the program and four other FDU players are out for disciplinary reasons.

As for Xavier, their personnel issues have been well-documented. Dez Wells, who is now eligible at Maryland, was expelled from school and Mark Lyons is now running the point at Arizona.

There’s also two freshmen who weren’t cleared by the NCAA (Myles Davis and Jalen Reynolds) and the three-game suspension of Towson transfer Isaiah Philmore over a paperwork issue, meaning that the Musketeers will have just eight scholarship players available tonight.

Guard Brad Redford, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, will likely slide into Christon’s spot in the starting lineup but he’s coming off of a hamstring injury suffered while running a sprint last month.

“You get tired of dealing with the injuries and spending time in the training room. You’d much rather just be on the court with your teammates and not worrying about just getting on the court,” Redford said in an interview with Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer last Thursday. “It’s kind of something you deal with. Really you just kind of take it day-to-day, see how it feels.”

While that comment was in regards to Redford’s injury issues, it could also be applied to Xavier’s offseason. Tired of all of the personnel issues, the Musketeers are probably looking forward to just playing basketball.

Photo credit: Xavier University

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej. 

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.


AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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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.