3-point shot: Coaches must use influence

1. Former Oregon coach Ernie Kent was hired in an executive role with the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Kent said Monday his goal is to grow the game, about which he said has been "very passionate since he was out of coaching." He said he has seen how much coaches care about student-athlete welfare from visiting schools since he has been out. But this organization needs to be much more forceful in the legislative process. The NABC has lost its activist role of late. The coaches should never be surprised by the draft date (pushed through by the ACC) or complain about the transfer waiver issue as much as they do without really trying to affect change. Coaches have the power in college basketball, much more so than the players. If they want to really force an issue then they must get out front, educate other decision makers and make sure they can actually do something. The governance structure is going to change, with more weight given to the power schools. That shift is coming. So the coaches, who are their best lobbying group, must almost act like legislators. Not knowing about the shift in rules that affect them is ignorant. It should never happen. If Kent is going to have a real effect in his job, then he must act.

2. North Carolina said Monday that P.J. Hairston's status hasn't changed. That means he's still suspended. But the school also must make clear if he can practice or play in anything competitive. Practice starts Friday. This shouldn't take long. Either he is practicing Friday and beyond or he is not. The length of any discipline is up to North Carolina. No one should tell them how long or if he should be suspended. But the fan base and those who contribute to the program should know his status. That is of the public domain. Once that is known, then Hairston and the Tar Heels can move forward with the season.

3. Indiana starts an intriguing season Friday, the one post-Big Ten title and Sweet 16 appearance. The anchors, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller are gone. So what is Tom Crean looking for in the first week of practice? "Getting this team to understand that transition and help defense require great effort and talking," Crean said. "Also getting the team to understand the next play, the next pass and the next-shot mentality over worrying about the last play."