The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

Leave a comment

Seton Hall’s Fuquan Edwin reflects on a career he feels was “a disappointment” (Newark Star-Ledger) 
On Monday night Seton Hall’s seniors led the way in a 71-62 win over Xavier on Senior Night. One of those leaders was Fuquan Edwin, coincidentally the final player recruited by Bobby Gonzalez before he was dismissed. Edwin reflected on his career to date, one he feels is a disappointing one due to the program’s lack of success. 

In yet another act, Brown writes a winning script (New York Times) 
SMU head coach Larry Brown has coached at many levels throughout his career, but his latest job proved to be one difficult to get. Friends within college coaching helped Brown remain in the game after failed stints with the Knicks and Bobcats, and ultimately he would get his chance at SMU. And the move has paid off for all involved, with the Mustangs on their way to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993. 

SIU’s Hinson struggling to cope with family tragedy (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) 
Southern Illinois head coach Barry Hinson may have made news early this season due to a post game rant following a tough road loss, but the fact of the matter is the the coach has endured a far tougher year off the court. And with this being the case Hinson’s tried to immerse himself in the game, but that understandably has proven to be difficult. 

Senior night emotional for Markel Brown (The Oklahoman) 
While much of the pre game attention given to the fact that Marcus Smart was walking with his teammates on Senior Night, it was a big night for Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown. Brown was understandably emotional and he went out with a win, as the Cowboys beat Kansas State to continue their charge towards an NCAA tournament berth. 

Bertrand, Ekey looking back, ahead (Champaign News-Gazette) 
Tuesday night Illinois will honor fifth-year seniors Joe Bertrand and Jon Ekey, two players who arrived in Champaign amidst different circumstances. While Bertrand’s been a part of the program all five seasons the same can’t be said for Ekey, a transfer from Illinois State. Both, who have moved from the starting lineup to reserve roles, reflected on their time in college. 

Remembering Perfection (Sports on Earth) 
On Saturday No. 2 Wichita State completed its regular season undefeated, becoming the first team since the 2003-04 Saint Joseph’s Hawks to finish the regular season without a loss. And looking back, those Hawks were incredibly good with the backcourt rotation of Jameer Nelson, Delonte West, Pat Carroll and Tyrone Barley leading the way. And like these Shockers the Hawks had many questioning their credentials, providing motivation for a group that would reach the Elite 8. 

Cardinals, community embrace Shoni (ESPN) 
The Louisville women, ranked third in the country, may not have had the best season-ending experience on Monday night as they fell 68-48 to No. 1 UConn. But that result did nothing to take away from the night for many who made the trek to watch the Cardinals on their Senior Night, with guard Shoni Schimmel being one of players honored. Shoni and  younger sister Jude have had an incredible impact on the Native American community and the Louisville program as well during their time at the school. 

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
Leave a comment

While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
Leave a comment

With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.