Rick Pitino’s roller coaster week continued on Friday, when sources confirmed that the Louisville head coach will be a part of the next class inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com initially reported the news, followed by followed by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com who also confirmed it. The official announcement will take place on Monday. Pitino will be joined by former UNLV and Fresno State head coach Jerry Tarkanian and Guy Lewis, the coach behind Houston’s Phi Slama Jama team.
“It would mean a lot to me and my family, but it really exemplifies what I’ve done for athletes and coaches,” Pitino told reporters recently. “And if that day comes, it would mean a lot to share with them. So it’s not something I think about, but it’s something I would be very, very proud of.”
Not surprising Pitino got the call. He was named a finalist in February and is heading to his seventh Final Four, which includes a NCAA title with Kentucky in 1996. Pitino was the first coach to take three different schools — Providence, Kentucky and Louisville — to the Final Four. Pitino likely would have been inducted sooner, if it wasn’t for two separate stints on the NBA sidelines. The Basketball Hall of Fame allows active coaches to be inducted after their 25th season. Pitino is in his 27th as a college coach.
Tarkanian went to four Final Fours, winning a title in 1990 with the Runnin’ Rebels. Lewis won 592 games in his 30 seasons as a head coach, taking Houston to a handful of Final Fours.
Reports also confirm that Gary Payton will join the Class of 2013. The 2013 enshrinement will take place in September in Springfield, Mass.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.
USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.
Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.
The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.
Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.
Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.
The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.
They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).
THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.
Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
- MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
- Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
- Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.