Florida Gulf Coast Eagles coach Enfield shouts instructions to his players during their win over the San Diego State Aztecs in their third round NCAA tournament game in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Andy Enfield hire is accepted by USC recruits says commit Kahlil Dukes


After taking the first No. 15 seed to the Sweet 16 for the first time in NCAA tournament history, Andy Enfield became a big name for college coaching vacancies. Monday night, the Florida Gulf Coast head coach reportedly accepted a position as the head coach of the University of Southern California.

USC fired head coach Kevin O’Neill was fired in January, but the veteran coach had already locked up a four-commit class that includes guards Julian Jacobs and Kahlil Dukes along with forwards Roschon Prince and Nikola Jovanovic. According to one commit, bringing Dunk City to Southern Cal is fine with him.

“I’m excited about it,” Dukes said in a phone interview on Monday night. “I’m speaking to everybody in the class right now about it. They’re excited about it too.”

Dukes, a 5-foot-11 guard from Capital Prep in Hartford, Conn. had followed the Dunk City phenomenon only in bits and pieces. He was offered and accepted a scholarship after impressing the USC coaching staff with his scoring ability this summer. Dukes, like many was surprised, but excited at the chance to play for Enfield.

“It never really crossed my mind that it’d be him,” Dukes said of the hire.

The New Englander believes that this class will have no problem fitting the face-paced style Florida Gulf Coast ran in Enfield’s two seasons with the Eagles. At under 6-feet, Dukes may not be on the receiving end of those highlight-reel alley oops, but he thinks that he and Jacobs can thrive in this style of play, like point guard Brett Comer did in the NCAA tournament this season as a sophomore.

“Julian works hard and he’s an uptempo player, so he’ll fit right in,” Dukes said. “I think the uptempo offense will fit in fine with us.”

The decision to hire Enfield was reported late on the east coast, and Dukes, who has been in contact with the USC athletic department throughout this season isn’t sure when he will be able to get a chance to talk to his new head coach.

“I’m guessing tomorrow, but I’m not really sure,” the USC commit said.

It’s uncertain what connections Enfield has to California and the rest of the west coast, but he’s off to a good start with the support of the Class of 2013.

The Trojans finished 14-18 (9-9 Pac-12) during the 2012-2013 season.

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

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.