NCAA

Turnovers, 1st half doom St. Joe's in A-10 loss to Richmond

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Turnovers, 1st half doom St. Joe's in A-10 loss to Richmond

BOX SCORE

At the press conference following his team's 70-66 loss to Richmond on Saturday, St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli just stared at the box score and uttered:

"17 turnovers."

The Hawks committed 17 turnovers, including 10 in the first half (see Instant Replay), and a critical one in the final minutes. After rallying from an 18-point deficit in the second half to cut the Spiders' lead to one, 65-64, St. Joe's had a chance to take the lead, but sophomore Lamarr Kimble was called for an offensive foul with 1:08 to go. 

Since the loss of star Shavar Newkirk, Kimble’s role has increased as the team’s primary ballhandler. He hasn’t played less than 36 minutes in the four games since Newkirk's injury, including all 40 against Richmond.

"I definitely made some mistakes. I had a charge on one play," said Kimble, who had five turnovers. "I definitely want to cut [the turnovers] down. It's definitely too much no matter how many minutes I'm playing."

James Demery has been St. Joe's go-to scorer since Newkirk's injury, but the junior forward struggled mightily. He had more turnovers (six) than points (five). 

Demery was just 2 for 13 from the floor, including 0 for 4 from three. In his previous three games, Demery tallied 16, 25 and 17 points, respectively.

“It just wasn’t going in the basket for me today,” Demery said. “Everybody else stepped it up. For me, baskets just weren’t going in.”

Kimble and freshman Charlie Brown, an unlikely source of offense, scored 17 and 13 points, respectively.
 
Brown struggled from the field in the first half, missing all three of his shot attempts, but rebounded in the second half and contributed 13 of the Hawks' 38 second-half points, improving on his 10.7 points per game this season.
 
“He’s played a lot of minutes,” Martelli said. “I think the first half is kind of a drift around the game. He got barked at, but we’re still talking about a kid who was 4 for 16, so we’re not like in a celebratory mood here.

“[Kimble and Brown] didn’t hear they did a good job. I don’t buy any of that stuff. There are things that we can take out of that, but only if we’re better on Monday.”
  
Freshman Nick Robinson also played a big role in Saturday’s effort, scoring 11 second-half points for a game total of 14, marking the second time this season he’s eclipsed the 10-point mark. He would also tie his season-high in minutes played and rebounds with 28 and eight, respectively.

But he also had two turnovers. 

“I think we just need to simplify our game,” Brown said. “We try to always make that across-the-court pass, and then the next pass.”

With the loss, St. Joe's falls to 2-3 in conference play and 8-8 overall. Richmond improves to 11-6 and 5-0 in the A-10. The last time Richmond started conference play 4-0, 1991-92, no member of the current team had been born yet.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.