Florida State University

Report: Stetson to hire Florida State assistant Corey Williams

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Just one head coaching vacancy remains at the Division I level, and that position may be filled in short order.

According to Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com Stetson is expected to hire Florida State assistant Corey Williams as the school’s new head coach. Williams, who has spent the last six years on Leonard Hamilton’s staff in Tallahassee, was an assistant at Oral Roberts for seven seasons before joining Hamilton’s staff.

Stetson has scheduled a press conference for 2:30 p.m. Monday afternoon to announce the hiring of a new head coach.

If Williams is the pick he replaces Casey Alexander, who stepped down last month after two years at Stetson. In two seasons at Stetson, Alexander went 24-36 (17-19 Atlantic Sun) with Adam Pegg and Chris Perez earning all-conference honors in 2012-13.

With Pegg (15.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) out of eligibility and Perez (15.1, 4.1) transferring the Hatters have to replace their top three scorers from a season ago, with guard Joel Naburgs (10.1, 4.3, 3.9 apg) being the other key departure.

Stetson does have four players signed to a National Letter of Intent, and they’ll join a group led by guard Aaron Graham (11.2, 3.6) and forward Willie Green (8.3, 6.6). Green started all 31 games for the Hatters last season, leading the team in rebounding, while Graham was one of the better sixth men in the Atlantic Sun.

“I am determined to move quickly to find a coach who will be dedicated to returning Stetson men’s basketball to its proper place,” Stetson AD Jeff Altier said at the time of Alexander’s departure.

“We will move aggressively to find a new coach who will lead our program with character and passion, as well as a commitment to this fine university and its student-athletes.”

Williams has plenty of experience at the collegiate level as an assistant, and he also won an NBA title as a player with the Chicago Bulls in 1993. Williams, who played two of his four seasons at Oklahoma State for Hamilton, was quite the athlete as he was drafted by both the Bulls and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The hope for Stetson is that Williams’ work at Florida State as a recruiter and a tutor of guards will help turn the Hatters into a consistent contender in the A-Sun.

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.