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

Rick Pitino: ‘We should be penalized … but not this team’

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.

Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.

How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?

Well, it seems.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.

And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.

“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”

He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.

But credit the Cardinals for responding.

Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.

Oklahoma State without Jawun Evans, questionable moving forward

Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans (1) goes up for a shot between Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and forward Perry Ellis (34) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Oklahoma State won 86-67. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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Oklahoma State’s star point guard was not in the lineup on Saturday against No. 13 Iowa State.

Evans injured his shoulder in the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.

According to the school, his official status moving forward is questionable. The Pokes are just 11-11 on the season and likely need to earn the Big 12’s at-large bid to get into the NCAA tournament. It makes sense to let him get healthy.

Evans was averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 boards this season, but he had been arguably the best point guard in the Big 12 during league play, averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 assists.