While their game at No. 16 Kansas on Sunday afternoon represents a major opportunity for both No. 21 San Diego State and the Mountain West given the league’s low number of marquee non-conference victories, the fact of the matter is that from an importance standpoint that game isn’t as important as a conference matchup.
The Aztecs opened Mountain West play with a tough matchup, playing on the road against a Colorado State team that makes up for its lack of depth with sheer effort. Ultimately the difference between the two teams was their production in an area that measures 15 feet long and 12 feet wide.
Xavier Thames scored 23 points and Winston Shepard III added 17 for the visiting Aztecs, who outscored the Rams 40-16 in the paint on their way to the 71-61 victory. San Diego State shot just 12-for-21 from the foul line compared to Colorado State’s 18-for-25, but the missed opportunities from the charity stripe were nullified by the Aztecs’ ability to get into the paint. San Diego State, which entered the game shooting 42.3% from beyond the arc, shot just 5-for-16 against Colorado State but that wasn’t an issue in the end as the Rams shot 3-for-14.
Colorado State scored just four of its 16 points in the paint in the first half, with San Diego State closing the period on an 11-2 run to establish a nine-point lead at the intermission. San Diego State’s length proved to be an issue for the Rams, and many of the good shots that Larry Eustachy’s team did manage to find missed the mark.
San Diego State may have some good numbers when it comes to perimeter shooting, but they refuse to settle for those shots. That three-point percentage cited earlier? The Aztecs shot that well while attempting the fewest three-pointers in the Mountain West. If Steve Fisher’s team remains committed to getting the ball inside by way of the pass or the dribble, they’ll be in good shape offensively.
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.