Jack Cooley, 'Angelo Harrison

St. John’s beat No. 20 Notre Dame while Jack Cooley watches?

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Where was Jack Cooley?

That’s the question that every Notre Dame fan wants answered after the Irish lost their second straight game to an unranked opponent on Tuesday night, this one being a 67-63 defeat at the hands of St. John’s.

Cooley had struggled throughout the game, there’s no question about that. Steve Lavin made the adjustment to go small, leaving Chris Obekpa on the bench in favor of a lineup that featured Jakarr Sampson, Amir Garrett and Sir’Dominic Pointer — three athletes that can barely be considered power forwards.

Defensively, the Johnnies were able to fall back into a zone, using their length and athleticism to make it difficult for the Irish to get the ball into Cooley. On the offensive end of the floor, that smaller lineup forced Cooley to guard a much quicker player. The result? Sampson scored 14 of his 17 points in the first 20 minutes while Cooley picked up two fouls by the midway point of the half.

Cooley also picked up a quick foul in the second half, and on three straight possessions during one stretch, the all-Big East center shied away defensively. Those defensive lapses — that tentativeness brought on by the foul trouble — sparked a St. John’s run that pushed their lead to as much as 12.

Notre Dame fought back to take the lead with an 18-4 run, but after D’Angelo Harrison buried a 25-foot three, the Irish found themselves down 64-63 with less than a minute left on the clock. Eric Atkins — who was sensational yet again, finishing with 21 points, four assists and six steals — drove and dropped the ball off to Tom Knight under the rim for what looked like an open layup. But Knight was slow to get the shot off and ended up having his shot blocked against the backboard by Harrison.

Knight is a senior that’s playing 5.0 minutes per game this season. Cooley averages a double-double and is having the kind of season that would warrant all-america consideration.

So we have to ask:

Why was Cooley on the bench in the final minute?

Why was Knight on the floor?

Why was one of the Big East’s best big men watching as the third-string center was getting his shot pinned against the backboard by a 6-foot-3 jump-shooter?


You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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

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.