Larry Brown

Report: SMU guard Brian Bernardi granted release

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SMU freshman guard Brian Bernardi has been granted his release from the Mustangs and is free to transfer schools, per a report from CSN Washington’s Daniel Martin.

Martin spoke with Bernardi’s former high school on the decision and the 6’2 guard from New York City has already received early interest from George Washington. Bernardi averaged 3.5 points per game in only 11.5 minutes a game for SMU during his freshman season, but did shoot 42 percent from beyond the arc.

“It’s been something he’s been thinking about for the past few months since the addition of [Top 100 guard prospect] Keith Frazier,” Bernardi’s former high school coach, Chris Alesi, told CSN. “[Coach Larry Brown] really wants him to stay, but he gave him the release.”

And Bernardi’s transfer story could soon have a local tie. Alesi tells CSN that George Washington was the first to call about Bernardi’s availability. Coming out of high school, the Colonials and head coach Mike Lonergan were among the final five schools on Bernardi’s list before he ultimately signed with SMU.
Shooters are always in demand and Bernardi should receive plenty of interest from mid-majors on the east coast as Martin also noted in his report.

Bernardi will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out a season due to NCAA transfer policy.

Scott also writes for NY2LA Sports and can be followed on Twitter @sphillipshoops

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.