Tom Pecora

Fordham lands 2013 point guard Jon Severe

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Despite its location in a city known for its basketball talent, Fordham has found the sledding tough in the Atlantic 10 since joining the league in 1995. Head coach Tom Pecora, who just completed his second season at the school, hopes to change the culture of the program and end the days of the Rams being a perennial doormat in the A-10.

Pecora’s efforts received a much-needed boost on Wednesday, as Brooklyn native Jon Severe announced his decision to attend Fordham in the fall.

Severe, who averaged 21.6 points per game at Christ the King HS last season and was one of the top remaining recruits in the 2013 class, picked Fordham over Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and West Virginia.

“Next year I will be attending Fordham University,” Severe said while putting on a maroon Fordham hat. “I think I can change the whole program around.”

According to multiple reports Rutgers attempted to make a late charge, with new head coach Eddie Jordan meeting with Severe on Tuesday, but their efforts ultimately went for naught.

And there’s a lot of work to be done, as the Rams finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 7-24 (3-13 Atlantic 10) and missed the Atlantic 10 tournament for the fifth straight year. The Rams lose leading scorer Chris Gaston but return rising senior guard Branden Frazier, who averaged 14.2 points and 5.0 assists per game last season.

The Rams struggled on both ends of the floor, ranking at or near the bottom of the Atlantic 10 in many of the major statistical categories both offensively and defensively. In order to change that Coach Pecora and his staff need to raise the level of talent in the program, and the addition of a player the caliber of Severe will definitely help.

“We’re thrilled to have Jon Severe become a part of our basketball family,” said Pecora in a statement released by the school. “He will have a huge effect on the rise of our program over the next four years.

“His ability to score the ball and make other players around him better make him an exceptional athlete. The entire Fordham community is proud to have Jon join us.”

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

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.