Rick Pitino said recruiting hadn’t been affected by recent negative news surrounding him, but if he loses recruiting prospect Marquis Teague, he’s in trouble. And we’re not just talking getting-trashed-in-the-national-media trouble.
If Teague, who recently visited Kentucky, went from a Louisville lean to a John Calipari get, it would be pretty close to a knockout punch for Pitino, who needs more than anything to build some positive momentum back for recruiting purposes.
Teague, the No. 1 point guard in the nation out of Indianapolis Pike, would appear tailor made to do just that, given that his father, Shawn, played for Pitino at Boston University.
Make of this what you will, but Pitino now has hired Teague’s assistant coach at Pike, Shabaka Lands, as a “special assistant to the head coach.”
Of course, we all make of this the same thing. Recruiting insurance. It happens quite often. Maybe Lands is the best person available, sure. And maybe Daniel Orton’s dad was the best motivational speaker Billy Gillispie could find at Kentucky last summer. And maybe Simeon Mars was the best man for the job when Pitino hired him at UK. Or maybe Mars was Jamaal Magliore’s high school coach, and that helped seal the deal.
Whatever the case, recruiting in the aftermath of the fallout from his involvment with Karen Sypher takes on added importance for Pitino.
The only problem is, insurance doesn’t always pay.
— BREAKING NEWS: Channel 32 in Louisville is promoting an interivew with Rick Pitino to be broadcast on its 5:30 news. Hard to imagine him churning up any new ground, and also hard to imagine why he’s going public again after being roundly criticized after his last news conference. But he’s talking again, and with Fred Cowgill at WLKY, perhpas a thumbing-of-the-nose at WDRB and others. Check back here to see what he said.
— STANDING TOGETHER: Here’s a good piece by The Associated Press. [Read it here.] Players at Ohio State, when asked about reveleations that Rich Rodriguez might be breaking the 20-hour rule at Michigan, respond, in essence, hell yes, you have to break it.
What if every program in America stood up and raised its hand to breaking this rule? (You must know, every decent program is breaking it.) A money quote from Buckeyes’ coach Jim Tressel, who says you can’t keep motivated players from working extra: “It’d be like telling our med students, ‘We’re going to close the library.’ You’ve got to let them train. There is a fine line, but the safeguards we have are we have set schedules and forms that we fill out, just like everyone.”
MAILBAG: Today’s reader email comes from a former C-J columnist — my dad, Byron Crawford. He saw my book review blog entry about Joe Posnanski’s book on the Big Red Machine [read the entry here] and had a few memories of his own.
Enjoyed your notes on the Reds book and the reminiscence about your Reds recollections.
Yes, Tolan, Carroll and Corrales lived in that same apartment complex. In fact you could have called Clay Carroll our next door neighbor, as far from us as the house across your street.
One of our still prized keepsakes, although we probably don’t know where it is, is a personal Christmas card from Sparky [Anderson]. Yes, it’s in a stack of our old Christmas cards — like the ones everyone have in a shoebox.
I can remember having Ted and Katy Bench’s home phone number — in Oklahoma maybe — where I could sometimes catch Johnny if we needed a phoner. I remember when they found a small spot on his lung and that I was on the phone with Ted and Katy a lot then. And of course I have the audio clip of my wrap around feed to CBS World Wide Sports (radio with Frank Gifford hosting) when Bench was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year and there was speculation that he might become baseball’s first $200,000 a year player. (You might have a place to check this fact, but I am 99.9% sure) Of course, when Al Michaels signed to do Reds play by play while I was there, his announced starting salary was $25,000 a year.
Different times indeed.
Enjoyed the trip down Memory Lane.
— NOT-SO-RANDOM MOVIE QUOTE OF THE DAY: In honor of breaking news, we go to Ron Burgundy of Anchorman . . .
Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you to stop what you’re doing and listen. Cannonball!