Air Force assistant men’s basketball coach Drew Long has been battling rectal cancer, and has been away from the program since Thanksgiving to receive treatment. A native of Houston, Long has been there with his wife and their three daughters, along with his parents who still make their home there.
Long is currently in the stages of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Head coach Drew Pilipovich said, “”He’s doing well. High spirit, high energy. We think about him often, talk to him daily and text him. He texts the guys and checks in on us.”
Brent Briggeman of The Gazette, explained that Long has had a history of stomach issues, dating back to his days as a student at Northwestern:
Long has a history of stomach issues and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease while in college at Northwestern. He began losing energy this past spring, the result of losing blood. He chalked it up to the same problems that had plagued him in the past.
Pilipovich has put Long’s situation and continual fight with cancer in perspective: “You know that blockout we missed on Saturday? It doesn’t mean that much…When you think about it, this is the most important thing – getting him healthy and being there for his wife and kids and living a long life.”
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’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.