Orlando Sanchez

St. John’s Orlando Sanchez hires Shabazz Muhammad’s attorney to fight NCAA

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St. John’s forward Orlando Sanchez played a total of three minutes and thirty-eight seconds with the Dominican National Team in 2010 and, as the NCAA ruled in January, that is apparently enough to cost him his final year of college eligibility.

Sanchez, 24, was a highly touted and versatile forward prospect when he signed with St. John’s in April 2012, part of another strong recruiting class for coach Steve Lavin in Queens. He has since been forced to sit as his Red Storm teammates push for an NCAA tournament berth.

According to NCAA rules, a year of organized competition after the age of 21 counts as a year of eligibility. Thus, he had previously played two years at Monroe College and eight games with a Dominican amateur club team in 2009. That together makes three, plus the NCAA’s assertion that his time with the Dominican team would have used up his available eligibility.

From the New York Times:

If the rules are applied without flexibility, the ramifications can be harsh, said Jason Lanter, an assistant professor of psychology at Kutztown University and a former president of the Drake Group, an N.C.A.A. watchdog. “You are at the whims of the N.C.A.A.,” he said. “They are the judge, jury and executioner.”

St. John’s and Sanchez have now retained the legal counsel of Robert Orr, who was hired by UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad when he was accused by the NCAA of taking impermissible benefits and held out of competition earlier this season.

“Orlando is a thoughtful, humble and focused young man, who has worked diligently toward his goals,” Lavin said in a statement. “He has been successful as a student with a 3.48 GPA during his time at St. John’s, and has shown both promise and progress practicing as a member of our team throughout the year. Our University continues to work in concert with the NCAA as we have throughout the waiver and appeals process.”

If Sanchez’s case is reopened and he wins the appeal, the Red Storm have one open scholarship remaining. They are actively recruiting Philadelphia point guard Rysheed Jordan and senior forward God’sgift Achiuwa is redshirting this season.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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.