With North Carolina losing the player expected to be its highest scoring perimeter option in P.J. Hairston, roles changed for Roy Williams’ guards early in the 2013-14 season. Marcus Paige became the Tar Heels’ leading scorer while also being asked to serve as their primary distributor, and Nate Britt played just over 20 minutes per game at the point.
Britt was solid in his debut campaign, posting averages of 5.1 points and 2.4 assists per game for North Carolina. But there was a significant issue that Britt wanted to address during the offseason: his shooting. Britt shot just 36.7% from the field and 25.0% from beyond the arc last season, numbers that he’ll need to improve in 2014-15 in order to receive similar (or more) minutes.
Apparently Britt’s taken a step not seen too often when it comes to players looking to improve their shot: after shooting predominantly with his left hand in 2013-14, Britt will be taking the majority of his shots with his right hand in 2014-15.
While this move is rare it isn’t unprecedented, with Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg noting in his story on Britt’s switch in shooting hands that Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers made a similar switch during an offseason. And there’s also the case of Drexel guard Tavon Allen, who’s ambidextrous and can shoot jump shots with either hand (he prefers to shoot lefty from beyond the arc).
Britt’s progression will be interesting to watch for two reasons: whether or not his percentages improve, and if opponents are caught off-guard by the player they last saw as a southpaw suddenly firing up jumpers with his right hand.
Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.