University of Kansas Athletics

Report: Former Kansas forward Zach Peters headed to Arizona

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In the aftermath of Solomon Hill’s graduation and Grant Jerrett’s decision to enter the 2013 NBA Draft the Arizona Wildcats found themselves in need of bodies to bolster their front court depth.

Sean Miller’s program certainly doesn’t lack for talent, with McDonald’s All American Aaron Gordon joining rising sophomores Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski to form a trio that has the potential to be one of the nation’s best next season.

However depth is a concern for this group, and Arizona received a boost in that regard as it was reported by Josh Gershon of that former Kansas forward Zach Peters will join the program.

Peters, a 6-9 power forward who attended Prestonwood Christian Academy in Texas before enrolling at Kansas, didn’t last too long in Lawrence due to multiple injuries.

The accumulation of four concussions suffered over a two-year period and a rotator cuff injury prevented Peters from practicing, and ultimately the decision was made in late November to return to his home in Plano, Texas to heal.

“Zach and I met today after he went home to meet with his family for Thanksgiving, and he has informed us that he will be leaving the basketball program effective at the end of the semester,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said when announcing Peters’ decision.

“Zach has labored with health issues since he has been here. His shoulder has improved but he’s also been dealing with multiple concussions that have become a big source of frustration and concern for him.”

The question now is when will Peters be eligible to play. Since he was enrolled at Kansas for the fall semester, in all likelihood he wouldn’t be able to play in games at Arizona until the end of the 2013 fall semester.

Could the fact that he never practiced much less played a game at Kansas improve Peters’ chances of being available at the start of the 2013-14 season? If so, adding Peters to the mix gives Arizona interior depth (there’s also redshirt junior Matt Korcheck) they lacked in the aftermath of Jerrett’s decision to leave school.

Peters is the second addition in as many days for the Wildcats, with 6-7 forward Eric Conklin (Chaparral HS, Scottsdale, Ariz.)  joining the program as a walk-on.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.