Michigan guard Caris LeVert to return for junior season

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After averaging just 2.3 points and 1.1 rebounds per game as a freshman, Michigan guard Caris LeVert emerged as one of the most improved players in the Big Ten in 2013-14. With more playing time available due to the early departure of Tim Hardaway Jr. (and Trey Burke) LeVert took advantage, raising his averages to 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest.

MOREThe entire list of players entering the 2014 NBA Draft

That progression had some wondering whether or not LeVert would make a move towards entering his name in the 2014 NBA Draft pool. But Wednesday night at the team’s postseason banquet LeVert confirmed that he’ll be back in Ann Arbor for his junior season.

LeVert confirmed that he joined Stauskas, Robinson and fellow sophomore Mitch McGary in applying for an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee following the end of season.

“There was definitely a time when I talked (about considering entering the draft) over with (the coaching staff) and my mom, but, I mean, it was kind of an easy decision for me,” LeVert said.

Obviously the return of LeVert is good news for Michigan, which loses both Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas after they announced their intentions to enter the 2014 NBA Draft on Tuesday. The one question mark that remains is the status of big man Mitch McGary, who is still going through the decision-making process.

McGary played in just eight games due to a lower back injury, but he remains on NBA draft boards with Draft Express projecting him to be a late-first/early-second round pick. The NBA’s early entry deadline for prospects is April 27.

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.