Big East Basketball Tournament - First Round

Former Rutgers swingman Mike Poole transferring to Iona


One of the five players who decided to leave Rutgers in the aftermath of a scandal that led to the firing of head coach Mike Rice has found a new home.

6-5 junior guard/forward Mike Poole announced his decision to transfer to Iona Tuesday night, joining the list of New York metropolitan area natives who have transferred to the MAAC school.

In making the decision Poole noted his comfort with the coaching staff, as both head coach Tim Cluess and assistant coach Jared Grasso recruited Poole while he was in high school.

“I felt comfortable with the coaching staff,” said Poole, who scored a season-high 18 points in a win over Iona on Dec. 8. “When we played this year, they all wished me the best.”

Poole averaged just 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest for the Scarlet Knights this season, with his value coming as a defender and a “glue guy.” The question in regards his move to Iona is whether or not Poole can improve his offensive production.

Iona led the nation in scoring (80.4 ppg) last season and with guard Sean Armand and forward David Laury III returning the Gaels will once again be formidable offensively. But they also allowed 76.3 points per game on 45% shooting, ranking last and next-to-last in the MAAC in those categories.

Reportedly Poole will request a waiver that would allow him to play imemdiately, and if cleared to play next season he can help Iona defensively. That would ultimately improve Iona’s chances of earning a third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.

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.