Utah Valley v Oklahoma State

The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

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NBA player supports Dayton’s First Four efforts (Dayton Business Journal)
Dayton’s hosted the opening round of the NCAA tournament since the bracket expanded from 64 to 65 teams in 2001. Since 2011 four games have been played at UD Arena, and the city is doing its best to make sure that the NCAA tournament continues to begin in Dayton. Joining the efforts: Golden State Warriors guard Kent Bazemore, who made a “significant financial contribution” to the cause.

Three- and four-and done still has merit in college basketball (USA Today)
One of the biggest issues in college basketball these days is the stigma attached to some players who end up spending multiple years in college. If a player’s expected to be a “one-and-done” prospect, some rush to label him a disappointment if that doesn’t turn out to be the case. And frankly, that’s highly unfair.

One-two punch keeps San Diego State on the rise in college basketball (Los Angeles Times)
No. 6 San Diego State has surpassed the expectations many had for the program before the season began, with senior guard Xavier Thames leading the way for a team that was picked to finish fourth in the Mountain West. Two other key figures are head coach Steve Fisher and top assistant (and head coach-in-waiting) Brian Dutcher, with this tandem being together since their days at Michigan.

Mihalich is rebuilding quickly at Hofstra (City of Basketball Love)
Some were quite surprised when Joe Mihalich made the move from Niagara to Hofstra this past offseason. And the move has been a successful one for the Pride, which has surpassed last season’s win total with Dion Nesmith and Zeke Upshaw leading the way. And the future is bright, with Niagara transfer Juan’ya Green and Ameen Tanksley eligible to play next season.

Black basketball pioneers walked rocky path (Louisville Courier-Journal)
In 1962 Eddie Whitehead was one of three African-American players recruited by the Louisville program, and that ended up being an important moment for the school as they helped integrate college basketball in Kentucky. The process was difficult but also necessary, with Louisville benefitting from the courage of those three.

Washington’s energy gives NC State a lift (Raleigh News & Observer)
On Saturday NC State nearly upset No. 1 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, falling 56-55 on a C.J. Fair basket with 6.7 seconds remaining. One of the reasons why the Wolfpack were competitive throughout was freshman forward Kyle Washington, who tallied 14 points and ten rebounds on the evening.

This week, Okon’s basketball travels take him to a familiar place (Wichita Eagle)
One person who has been with Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall throughout his time at the Missouri Valley Conference school is Dominic Okon, who has been the program’s director of basketball operations for seven years. Okon’s journey began in his native Nigeria, and on Wednesday night he’ll return to the school where he played his last two seasons of college basketball when the Shockers visit MVC newcomer Loyola (Chicago).

Abreu wants to return to University of Akron basketball team (Akron Beacon-Journal)
Alex Abreu was the starting point guard for the Akron Zips last season before being arrested on charges of marijuana trafficking. With Abreu no longer in the fold the Zips pushed forward, earning an NCAA tournament berth few expected them to get due to his suspension. Now released from jail, Abreu spoke to schoolchildren about his mistakes and hopes that his story will have a happy ending.

Pitt has little margin for error in bid for NCAA tournament spot (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
In the aftermath of their loss at North Carolina on Saturday afternoon, more people are taking a closer look at Pittsburgh’s NCAA tournament resume. And upon closer inspection, the Panthers have a resume that lacks much in the way of quality wins. Entering the stretch run in the ACC Jamie Dixon’s team won’t lack for opportunities to change that, but they have to take advantage.

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.

h/t ShockerHoops.net

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.