What do we make of Brandon Ingram’s performance against Indiana?

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DURHAM, N.C. — The problem with the one-and-done era and the dominance that highly-ranked freshmen have had over the college game in the last decade or so is that it has created an expectation for greatness.

No one knows that better than Brandon Ingram these days.

The current member of an emerging pipeline of elite wings that Duke has landed — Jabari Parker, Justise Winslow, Jayson Tatum — has struggled to acclimate to the college game. After scoring 36 points in his first two games at Cameron Indoor Stadium, reality hit Ingram like a ton of bricks. Prior to Wednesday’s date with Indiana, Ingram had managed a grand total of 17 points on 5-for-20 shooting in No. 7 Duke’s three games against high-major competition.

Kentucky’s quicker, stronger wings frustrated him. His shooting touch evaporated against VCU. As his struggles continued against Georgetown, Ingram was relegated to the bench, playing a season-low 16 minutes despite being projected as a top five big in this June’s draft.

“I knew I had to pick it up,” Ingram said. “I knew I had to have my teammates’ backs, so I had to pick it up and just be aggressive. I’m never satisfied but [tonight] was better.”

It didn’t take long for him to make that change against Indiana.

Ingram scored eight of Duke’s first 10 and 13 of their first 26 points. In total, he notched 18 of his career-high 24 points in the first half, a performance that helped the Blue Devils overcome Indiana’s initial surge in a 94-74 evisceration of a team projected as a top 15 program entering the season.

That’s one way to boost your lagging confidence.

“It was great for him and it was big time for us,” Amile Jefferson said. “He kept us in the game early. He did an amazing job of shooting with confidence, just shooting freely.”

It’s no secret that one of Indiana’s biggest issues defensively is their ability — and, specifically, Thomas Bryant’s ability — to defend ball-screen actions. That’s one of the ways to attack this Indiana defense, and early on, Ingram was the prime beneficiary.

“We always go based on our game plan and that was one of our plans going in, just go at the five setting the ball-screen,” Ingram said.

It’s been a process for Ingram, who was as aware of his struggles as anyone. He didn’t mope about it. He didn’t get down on himself. Instead, he got in the gym.

“He’s really practiced hard these last two weeks,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Right after our training meal, at about 5:15 p.m. [today], Nate worked him out. Hard. He responded. He’s put a lot of work in. He was outstanding tonight, he missed that one layup in the second half, it’s still a real good work in progress.”

Ingram’s presence is a difference-maker for the Blue Devils.

Let’s go beyond the fact that he’s clearly the most physically-gifted player on the roster. That’s not really debatable. He has the skill set to be a game-changer. That’s why he’s rated as highly as he is by NBA scouts. That’s why he was considered to be one of the few game-changing recruits in this class.

But it’s more than that.

Ingram is Duke’s lineup versatility. He’s a natural small forward, a guy that can guard on the perimeter, that can be effective in Duke’s switching man-to-man defense. Coach K’s defense doesn’t change. Duke does what they do, and what they do is switch all exchanges 1-through-4. Ingram can more than hold his own in that role. But it’s his size and length that is so important, because he can handle being a four as well. He can block some shots and he can rebound the ball, and while he’s not quite to a point where he can bang with opposing power forwards, his physical tools help make up for it.

“The physicality,” Ingram said when asked what the biggest adjustment has been for him at this level. “Playing against men, 22 and 23-year olds.”

And when he does play at the four, it makes the Blue Devils that much more difficult to defend. He may not be the ideal player defensively, but how many opposing power forwards can stop him?

“It’s unbelievable for our team [when he plays like this],” Jefferson said, adding that the team sees him do things like this in practice. “It makes us longer, not only defensive wise, but spacing. We get bigger. We get better. Our confidence goes up because we know how good he can be.”

“He’s a real threat on the court.”

The question now is what happens from here.

Indiana is as high-major as high-major programs get, but defensively they’re a mess. No one in the Duke locker room was willing to say as much outright, but it’s obvious how much work the Hoosiers have to do when, to a man, every Duke player made sure to carefully word their answers to a question along the lines of “How bad is Indiana defensively?” to make sure they didn’t say something that would inevitably end up in a headline.

I say that to say this: Ingram probably faced tougher defensive tests when the Blue Devils played Yale and Utah State. Scoring 24 on Indiana is entirely different than putting up 24 on ACC foes like Virginia or North Carolina or Miami.

Was this the launching point of Ingram’s season?

Or was this simply a result of his Blue Devil team facing an opponent that provided as much defensive resistance as Nate James did during Ingram’s Wednesday afternoon workout?

The answer to that question will go a long way towards determining what Duke’s ceiling is this season and whether or not they will be able to reach it.

NCAA tweaks rules on block/charge calls in men’s basketball

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INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA is tweaking how block/charge calls are made in men’s basketball.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rule changes on Thursday that require a defender to be in position to draw a charge at the time the offensive player plants a foot to go airborne for a shot. If the defender arrives after the player has planted a foot, officials have been instructed to call a block when there’s contact.

Defenders had to be in position to draw a charge before the offensive player went airborne under previous rules.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee members made the proposal after NCAA members complained that too many charges were being called on those types of plays.

The panel also approved reviews of basket interference calls during the next media timeout – if the official called it on the floor – a shot clock reset to 20 seconds on an offensive rebound that hits the rim, and players being allowed to wear any number between 0 and 99.

A timeout also will be granted to an airborne player with possession of the ball, and non-student bench personnel will be allowed to serve as peacekeepers on the floor if an altercation occurs.

Charlotte head coach Ron Sanchez resigns after winning CBI title

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ron Sanchez resigned as head coach of the Charlotte 49ers.

Sanchez took over the 49ers on March 19, 2018, inheriting a team coming off a 6-23 campaign. In five years Charlotte went 72-78 under Sanchez, highlighted by winning the College Basketball Invitational championship this past season, the Niners’ first post-season tournament title in school history.

The 22 wins this past season are the most for Charlotte since 2001.

“Ron took over a proud but struggling program and carefully rebuilt it into a 22-game winner. He has led with class, dignity and devotion to our young men,” Charlotte director of athletics Mike Hill said. “His decision to step down from Charlotte was a difficult one for him and everyone associated with our program. We wish him and his family every happiness.”

Hill said the team has already begun a national search for a replacement.

“This is a bittersweet day for me and my family as I step down to pursue other opportunities,” said Sanchez, who came the 49ers after working as an assistant coach at Virginia under Tony Bennett. “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the 49ers basketball program over the past five years and I want to thank Niner Nation for its support. I will be forever grateful to my staff, players and the university.”

Marquette extends Shaka Smart’s contract through 2029-30 season

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MILWAUKEE — Marquette coach Shaka Smart has received a contract extension after leading the Golden Eagles to their first outright regular-season championship and tournament title in the Big East.

Smart’s contract now runs through the 2029-30 season. This is the first extension Smart has received since signing a six-year deal when he took over as Marquette’s coach in 2021.

Marquette didn’t release financial terms of Smart’s deal.

“In a very short period of time, Shaka and his staff have done a tremendous job of establishing a winning culture, both on and off the court,” athletic director Bill Scholl said in a statement. “Shaka’s vision for the program is focused on extended, sustainable success. The individuals who interact with the team on a daily basis are able to observe frequent examples of growth and the excitement around the program is contagious.”

Marquette has gone 48-20 in Smart’s two seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament each of those years.

The Golden Eagles went 29-7 and won the Big East’s regular-season and tournament championships last season after the league’s coaches had picked them to finish ninth out of 11 teams. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

Purdue’s Edey returning to school at NBA draft deadline; Kentucky’s Tshiebwe stays in

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Purdue’s Zach Edey decided it was the right call to go back to school instead of staying in the NBA draft. His predecessor as national player of the year, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, is sticking with his pro pursuit.

And Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.

The 7-foot-4 Edey and UConn guard Tristen Newton were among the notable names to announce that they were withdrawing from the draft, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to pull out and retain their college eligibility.

Edey’s decision came in social media posts from both the center and the Boilermakers program that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Edey, The Associated Press men’s national player of the year.

But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named the AP national player of the year in 2022.

For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) is returning after being one of four Huskies to declare for the draft after a run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.

The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) would remain in the draft.

The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.


TREY ALEXANDER: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.

ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.

EDEY: He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.

JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.

JUDAH MINTZ: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.

OWLS’ RETURNEES: Florida Atlantic got good news after its surprise Final Four run with the return leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a social media statement.

TERRENCE SHANNON JR.: Illinois got a big boost with Shannon announcing his night in a social media post. The 6-6 guard is returning for a fifth college season after averaging 17.2 points.

SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.


KOBE BROWN: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being an AP first-team all-Southeastern Conference pick averaging 15.8 points last season.

JAYLEN CLARK: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”

BRICE SENSABAUGH: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament due to a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.

TSHIEBWE: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

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Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.