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Jabari Parker says farewell to Duke, Cameron Crazies


After one season at Duke forward Jabari Parker made the decision to enter the 2014 NBA Draft, and given his status as one of the top players available that move didn’t come as a surprise. But that doesn’t mean it was easy to move on, and on Thursday the Chicago native took the time to say farewell via his Instagram account.

In the post is a photo of Cameron Indoor Stadium, with Parker offering words of gratitude to those who supported him during his stay in Durham.

“Finally found the time to get to it so I’ll start here. Last summer I spent countless nights walking across this floor, looking at the banners of the players/coaches responsible for this great program. Then I look off over into the stands, home to some of the best fans. Lastly, I walk over to our team’s bench, dreaming of the moment when they call out “A 6’8 freshman from Chicago, IL.” When that moment came it blessed my life. To live your dream, being apart of a family that stands up for each other, representing a program that’s more than any single person.

“The DUKE basketball program takes a team to be successful on a daily basis. I knew from H.S. that I wanted to be apart of a program that was going to need every single person. Duke didn’t need JP, JP needed Duke. After the season, I go sit in the highest seats in the building aka “the nest”. There I remember all the good moments I had playing on coach K court. As soon as I’m done with that, I walk out into the hallway looking at the players before me, hoping that I could be one of those guys too. To end, I want to thank everyone who embraced me into the Duke family. Especially the fans, I appreciate you for sticking up for a university that hold about 11,000 students (if that). I’m no #AntiUNC, but I’m #ProDuke.

“To everyone out in Carolina, thank you for the best hospitality in the world. I never met so many nice people before. I will miss you Cameron indoor, Cameron Crazies, the team, the coaches, but most of all, those little people who contribute to Duke in the biggest ways.”

Parker is one of the players in the running to be the top pick in the June draft, with the Kansas tandem of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid also being viewed as prime candidates for the spot. However who will hold the top pick won’t be known until the NBA Draft lottery on May 20.

Milwaukee, which finished the season with a 15-67 record, has a 25 percent chance of winning the lottery.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.