Kareem Canty

Has Marshall’s Kareem Canty entered transfer limbo?

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When ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported Tuesday morning that Marshall, despite repeated requests, was denying Kareem Canty’s transfer, it opened a window into the murky situation that is guard’s transfer. At first glance, Goodman’s report confirmed what the freshman himself had tweeted in mid-March. At that point, Canty, who was one of the nation’s best newcomers this past season, had an assist rate around 30 percent, which ranked in Ken Pomeroy’s top 100 (and seventh best of frosh point guards) and was expected to be a cornerstone for whomever Marshall hired to replace coach Tom Herrion, who recruited Canty to Huntington but had been bought out by the school.

Canty tweeted weeks ago, “Smh bad year bad news I loved playing for him not his fault we lost games,” as well as, “But I can’t hold this in any longer I will not be returning back to Marshall next year! It’s been fun.” However, since both tweets were deleted, it appeared Canty would remain at the school until the new coach’s hiring, which is why Zach Braziller’s NY Post report this past weekend that Canty was no longer a member of the Thundering Herd was surprising.

NBC Sports emailed men’s basketball sports information director Andrew Piper on Saturday morning to confirm Braziller’s report, and we were told Canty had, in fact, not asked for his transfer. With regards to Goodman’s tweet, though, that seems contradictory. NBC Sports reached out to Jason Corriher, the school’s assistant athletic director for media relations, on Tuesday and were informed that Mike Hamrick, Marshall’s athletic director, had “…told those guys there wouldn’t be a release until meet with new coach.” Since Marshall’s coaching search is entering its fourth week, that obviously has not happened. Corriher was also asked to confirm his colleague’s statement that Canty hadn’t even asked for a transfer — according to Corriher, “I don’t know and I am not going to comment on whether Kareem has requested his release.”

It isn’t surprising that Marshall wants desperately to keep Canty on the roster. He is a guard who will be a future all-Conference USA first team performer, a player who instinctively understands how to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Without Canty, a team with promise becomes more of a rebuild. But the combination of Goodman’s reports and the conflicting stances within Marshall’s communications department indicates there is a strange situation developing in Huntington. And in the absence of any reports, or even rumors, regarding the conclusion of Marshall’s coaching search, Canty could be in limbo for the foreseeable future.

Duke knocks off No. 13 Louisville in first game of critical four-game stretch

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Grayson Allen scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half and Brandon Ingram added 18 points, 10 boards and four assists as Duke picked up a critical win over No. 13 Louisville in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday night, 72-65.

A call this a critical win for the Blue Devils because it kicks off what may be the most important two-week stretch of Duke’s schedule This weekend, the Blue Devils square off with No. 9 Virginia. Next Wednesday, they’re at the Dean Dome to take on No. 7 North Carolina. Four days after that, they head to the Bluegrass State to pay a visit to Louisville.

 

With the way that Duke has been struggling on the defensive end of the floor without Amile Jefferson, that’s a stretch that could derail Duke’s season; entering Monday, all four of those games were losable. But a four-game winning streak — or even going 3-1 in that stretch — could completely change the tenor of what has been a fairly disappointing year for the defending champs, and that’s before they get Jefferson back to 100 percent.

And the difference was defensively, at least in the first half.

I’ve written in this space a number of times about how opponents know what they’re going to get from Duke defensively. Coach K, traditionally, plays half court man-to-man defense, switching every exchange — ball-screen, off-ball pick or simply when two players run by one another — that doesn’t involve the center. In recent years, he’s played some zone in situations where he defense has struggled or, like this season, when he doesn’t have the depth to risk foul trouble. We’ve even seen some 2-2-1 pressure from him of late.

But on Monday night, Duke played straight man-to-man for much of the game, and in the first half, it seemed to fluster the Cardinals. They scored just 24 points in the first 20 minutes, and while Louisville did find a way to break Duke down defensively in the second half — they shot better than 55 percent from the floor after the break — but part of the reason Duke was able to win this game was the lead they built. After a three from Allen opened scoring in the second half, the Blue Devils were up by 14, and while Louisville made a run down the stretch, they could never get control of the game.

Duke is becoming appointment viewing for basketball nerds like me that pay too much attention to X’s-and-O’s to see what kind of wrinkle Coach K is going to put in to try and compensate defensively, so I’m not sure that this performance sticks. But it is worth noting that this was the first time in eight games the Blue Devils gave up less than 1.0 PPP, and the first time since Dec. 19th they did so against an NCAA tournament-caliber team.

As far as Louisville is concerned, you have to tip your hat to those kids. They played their hearts out and fought back from a big deficit in one of the toughest places in the country to play. They did all that three days after their school ripped their hearts out with an NCAA tournament ban for this season.

So good for them. You never know how a team is going to react to something like that, but the Cardinal players showed that they have some serious fight in them.

Iowa State’s starting center Jameel McKay remains suspended

Iowa State forward Jameel McKay celebrates on the court at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.

“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”

McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.

“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.