Kentucky Basketball News Conference

NBA’s sure thing is Team USA’s “long shot”

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Getting the number one pick in a professional sports draft is great, assuming there’s an obvious pick to be made. It can be terrible if you’re – for the sake of example – the 2007 Portland Trailblazers, or, for that matter, the 1984 Portland Trailblazers.

For the New Orleans Hornets, the No. 1 pick in the NBA is — please pardon the rather on-the-nose phraseology here — a slam dunk. They’ll take Anthony Davis from the Kentucky Wildcats and never look back. Even if Davis somehow ends up being a bust, there’s no sure-fire talent behind him in the rankings that is likely to make them look foolish in any case. They have the virtue of iron-clad certitude.

Davis is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and the Wildcats needed every ounce of his ability to win a national title. So are we getting a little ahead of ourselves if we expect him to be an immediate All-Star selection? Perhaps. Jerry Colangelo, the man tasked with filling out the hoops roster for the impending 2012 Olympics, recently called Davis a “long shot” to make Team USA.

Not that he’s ruling it out completely, mind you. Colangelo is intrigued by Davis’ defensive potential on a team that would love to finish any break started by a big defensive play:

“We don’t have any shortage of scorers,” Colangelo told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Anthony has a chance to make his mark sooner rather than later just by rebounding, defending, getting up and down the court, being a team player. He doesn’t have to score.”

Whether Davis is an Olympian or not, he’s getting a jump start on his NBA career by facing his future peers as a team invitee. Davis is already a consensus number one pick, but he can still benefit from early exposure to the pro post game. The last player to improve his NBA credibility by trying out for the Olympic team was none other than current NBA superstar Kevin Durant.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He thinks Anthony Davis can afford to buy his own plane ticket to London this summer.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.


AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.