Nick Wiggins, Cleanthony Early

Wild rally gives Wichita State sole possession of first in Missouri Valley

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It all began with a kick.

With 41.2 seconds remaining in regulation Illinois State forward Jackie Carmichael grabbed a rebound with the Redbirds leading by seven, 67-60. But in his aggressive corralling of the basketball his foot struck Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton in the face.

After reviewing the play the officials would hit Carmichael with a flagrant 1, beginning an 8-0 run that would ultimately give the Shockers an improbable 68-67 victory.

The victory, which was clinched on a Cleanthony Early three-pointer with 4.8 seconds remaining, gives Wichita State (22-5, 11-4 Missouri Valley) sole possession of first place in the Valley while also cooling off an Illinois State team that had won seven of its last eight games after an 0-6 league start.

Malcolm Armstead, who assisted on Early’s game-winner, scored 18 points to lead the way offensively for Wichita State and the Shockers won despite being outscored by 17 points from the foul line (30-13) and committing 14 turnovers.

As a result of the win Gregg Marshall’s team has control of the Missouri Valley race with three league games remaining, but the road to a second consecutive regular season title will not be an easy one to navigate.

Wichita State still has to visit both Indiana State (Tuesday) and Creighton (March 2), with the game in Omaha also being the regular season finale for both. But for a conference that in recent weeks hurt its tournament profile in the eyes of some bracketologists, Wichita State’s win keeps them in position to grab an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament (if needed).

With a loss at Southern Illinois in their most recent road game, getting back on track away from home was something the Shockers needed to do ahead of those upcoming games that will determine the MVC title.

And if the break Wichita State needed came by way of an opponent’s foot, so be it.

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.