Brad Stevens

Report: Catholic 7/new Big East to officially add Butler, Xavier, Creighton next week


One of the worst kept secrets is expected to be made official sometime next week.

The Catholic 7, soon-to-be new Big East Conference, will officially add Butler, Xavier and Creighton to form a 10-team league ready for play at the start of the 2013-2014 season, according to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.

Xavier and Butler left Atlantic 10 meetings in New York on Friday, according to Sports Illustrated. The thought was that league might vote on increasing exit fees Friday, and if Xavier and Butler announced their imminent withdrawal, they would have lost voting rights and therefore would have had to exit the meeting.

For months now all three of theses schools have been viable candidates to join the Catholic 7 to form a new league. Hamilton also reports that nothing is truly official yet and delays could occur, though, the Big East is expecting make this announcement on Wednesday or Thursday, before the NCAA tournament begins.

Creighton will be added, according to the Tribune, “barring unexpected complications.” The Missouri Valley Conference has anticipated the departure of one of its most successful programs, having already talked about filling the Bluejays spot in the conference.

Hamilton went on to report that the new conference is now in search of a commissioner and with the help of a search firm, hope to hire the inaugural commissioner within 6-10 weeks.

For months its been reported that teams like Butler, Xavier and Creighton would join the seven Catholic defectors, but sometime this week that announcement looks to be official.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.