2013 NIT Championship - Semifinals

Baylor center Isaiah Austin to return for sophomore season

Leave a comment

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

With one tweet from departing point guard Pierre Jackson, Baylor fans became very excited about their prospects for the 2013-14 season.

In news that has since been reported by multiple outlets, 7-1 center Isaiah Austin will in fact return to Waco for his sophomore season. Baylor sent out a press release late Sunday, following a meeting between Austin and head coach Scott Drew.

With rising redshirt senior Cory Jefferson making the same decision Thursday, Scott Drew’s team will be loaded inside next season.

“We’re extremely excited to have an opportunity to work with Isaiah for another year,” Drew said in the release. “I think it’s a compliment to Baylor Nation, the university and the team that Isaiah wants to return, and I know Baylor Nation is really excited to have him back for another year.”

In 35 games this past season Austin averaged 13.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game for the Bears, who won the Postseason NIT title. Austin has been projected as a likely first round selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, likely falling just outside of the lottery.

But with his decision to return to school the 2014 NBA Draft (should he declare then) becomes deeper in theory, and Baylor should be considered a Big 12 contender along with Oklahoma State (the early favorite in the eyes of many) and league standard-bearer Kansas.

This is where Jackson’s departure comes into play.

Jackson leaves a big hole for Baylor to fill at the point, with the hope being that rising sophomore L.J. Rose and junior college transfer Kenny Chery are capable of handing the responsibilities.

Gary Franklin Jr. is another option at the position, and with the amount of talent both returning and arriving in Waco at the other spots this is the big question for Coach Drew and his staff to address.

However that question is for another day. Today Baylor fans will celebrate Austin’s decision to return to school for another year, and rightfully so.

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

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
1 Comment

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
Leave a comment

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.