Nate Austin, Kelly Olynyk

Trey Burke leads Player of the Year straw poll, where’s Kelly Olynyk?

Leave a comment has released their latest installment of the Player of the Year straw poll, and once again, the top three consists of Trey Burke, Doug McDermott and Mason Plumlee.

Only this time, it’s Burke that has worked his way into the top spot.

The Michigan point guard received 30 of the 57 first place votes. Doug McDermott finished second in the balloting — notching 21 first place votes — while Plumlee found himself in a distant third. Victor Oladipo made the jump to fourth place this week, and even received two first place votes. That’s surprising given that Cody Zeller finished fifth in the voting this week.

I don’t have many qualms with this week’s ballot — well, except for the people that are voting for Durand Scott (not even the best player on the Miami roster), Nate Wolters, and Shabazz Napier.

I had a vote in this poll, and my top three, in order, were Burke, McDermott and Oladipo. It’s the first time that Plumlee didn’t make my ballot, but it was a coin flip between him and Oladipo for that third spot.

The one name that I want to see get more hype next week is Kelly Olynyk of Gonzaga. The Zags leading scorer — and one of the most efficient and productive big men in the country — got just a single third-place vote this week, which is a shame. He’s been sensational this season, whether you choose to look at the game through the prism of raw stats or advanced stats.

His emergence is why the Zags have gone from a good team to a Final Four threat and a contender to win a national title.

He’s fifth on my National Player of the Year ballot, even if the Wooden Award voters can’t get it together enough to realize it.

Hopefully next week, more people will be saying “Long hair, don’t care”.

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.


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.