Butler's Brad Stevens goes onto the court against Indiana during an NCAA basketball game in Indianapolis

Butler president plays coy about realignment

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Before today’s epic overtime upset of No. 1 Indiana was even in the books, Butler president James Danko was asked the obvious question about his program’s future in the Atlantic 10 conference.

According to the Associated Press, his reply was something along the lines of the classic phrasing used when national security is involved – he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of his possible interest in moving Butler to the as-yet-nonexistent, theoretical basketball-centric league that may or may not be formed by the so-called Catholic Seven. A league that may or may not stretch from Maine to Washington State, if the rumors are true, and depending on who you believe.

Got that? If it’s not clear enough, here’s the direct quote from the AP:

During Saturday’s game against No. 1 Indiana, Butler President James Danko said he would not comment on a report this week that the Bulldogs could join the seven Catholic schools leaving the Big East in a new league. But when asked if he would completely rule it out, Danko said only that he would prefer to wait until “something happens.”

Danko’s reaction is really the only one possible at this juncture. Is he supposed to declare his intent to join an organization that doesn’t formally exist? Should he verbally commit to accept membership in the predicted basketball league without knowing a single thing about how it will be run? Even if he did, we should treat such a statement the way we treat a verbal commitment by a high school junior – it’s worthless until pen meets paper.

Any university official worth his salt will respond “no comment” until “something happens” at this point, because — as Gertrude Stein famously said — there’s no there there.

Not that such denials and cagey smiles will deter the press. Heck, I just wrote 300 words about a Seinfeldian nothing. And you just read it.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

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.

h/t ShockerHoops.net

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.