Rodney Hood went for 30 points and Jabari Parker finished with 21 points, nine boards and six blocks — his fifth straight game with 20 points to start the season — as No. 6 Duke took every punch that East Carolina could throw and still managed to escape Cameron Indoor Stadium with an 83-74 win.
The Blue Devils pulled out the win, but it was a long way from what you would call an impressive victory as East Carolina was able to take advantage of some of Duke’s flaws this season.
For starters, they attacked the basket to take advantage of the lack of a rim-protector for the Blue Devils, particularly in the second half, when Duke went with their small lineup. Parker, the de-facto center, did manage to block six shots, but those blocks may turn into fouls when it’s Jerian Grant or C.J. Fair attacking the rim instead of Prince Williams and Antonio Robinson.
The Pirates also went to a 2-3 zone, which threw the Blue Devils off for a while in the second half. They rushed, taking quick shots and failing to swing the ball. The offense got stagnant, and that allowed ECU to make their run.
Generally speaking, Duke will be fine. They didn’t play well tonight and still managed to pull out the win. This game would have been a different story if Quinn Cook had played better — his 14 points and 10 assists are impressive, but also a bit misleading, as he was 5-for-15 from the floor — and Rasheed Sulaimon had shown up. After scoring 33 points in the first two games of the year, Sulaimon went for nine points on 1-for-8 shooting in the two Preseason NIT games this week.
That small lineup is much less effective when the guards aren’t playing well.
But less effective and ineffective are two different things, and the bottom line is that Duke won and will advance to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals of the Preseason NIT next week.
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.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.