Dan Muller

Illinois State forward Deontae Hawkins gets unique eligbility ruling from the Valley

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Illinois State forward Deontae “Teddy” Hawkins will have plenty of opportunities to show his skills in the Missouri Valley Conference during the 2014-15 season, but it won’t come against Wichita State.

That’s because the 6’8” Hawkins, who signed with the Shockers in the fall of 2011, will have to sit out both of Illinois State’s games against Wichita State during the 2014-15 season as part of a ruling by the Missouri Valley Conference and league commissioner Doug Elgin, according to a report from Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports.

Since Hawkins jumped from one Valley program to another, he fell under a rule that made him sit out two years for any intra-league transfer but Illinois State petitioned for a waiver for Hawkins since he had never actually enrolled at Wichita State or took a class at Wichita State as the rule indicates.

The Redbirds asked the Valley to allow Hawkins to play in all Missouri Valley contests in 2014-15 except the two games against the Shockers and the Valley agreed to the proposition after a meeting with five league officials.

“We think it served to protect the balance of interests between Wichita State, Illinois State and also the conference,” Elgin said in the Yahoo! Sports story. “There are competing interests when you have a situation like this, and all of these kinds of cases are complex. There was an initial consideration that he’d sit not only the two regular season games against Wichita State but also should the two meet in the tournament, but it was decided the two games were enough.”

Hawkins didn’t qualify academically at Wichita State after initially signing the letter of intent and enrolled at Quakerdale Promise Academy for a year of prep school for the 2012-13 season. Hawkins then committed to Illinois State this fall and because of his status as a non-qualifier, is not allowed to play or practice with the Redbirds throughout the 2013-14 season. Hawkins will have four years to complete four years of eligibility beginning with the 2014-15 season.

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.