Jonathan Holmes

Texas, Jonathan Holmes beats Kansas State at the buzzer (VIDEO)

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Remember when we were all laughing about Texas because Rick Barnes was so totally about to be fired and, like, he didn’t even know, bro?

Because Texas was going to be awful, right?

So much for that.

After starting Big 12 play 0-2 with losses to both of the Oklahoma schools, the Longhorns have now won four in a row, including victories over No. 8 Iowa State on Saturday and, on Tuesday night, a 67-64 win over No. 22 Kansas State thanks to the buzzer-beating heroics from forward Jonathan Holmes.

As a result, the Longhorns are currently sitting in second place in the Big 12 standings, two games behind Kansas and holding a tie-breaker with the Wildcats. Think about that. We may only be a third of the way through conference season, and Texas still have eight (seriously, eight!) more Big 12 games against teams currently sitting in the top 25, but what we know now is that the Longhorns are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Can they outlast Kansas and win the conference title?

Probably not.

This is still Texas and there are still the talent deficiencies that tend to go hand in hand with losing your top four perimeter threats.

But Cameron Ridley is starting to prove why he was a top ten recruit coming out of high school, and the ability of Holmes as a versatile scorer and defensive playmaker compliment him perfectly up front. If you toss in Connor Lammert and Prince Ibeh off the bench, Texas has a front line that can match up with anyone in the country, and that includes Kansas and star center Joel Embiid.

Javan Felix is a solid enough lead guard when he is flanked by young talents like Isaiah Taylor and Demarcus Holland.

They have some depth, they’re playing hard and they’re playing together. The egos are gone, and it’s working.

Texas looks like an NCAA tournament team, and if they can pull that feat off, it probably will earn Rick Barnes a number of Coach of the Year awards.

So much for getting fired.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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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.


AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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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.