Minnesota Richard Pitino Basketball

Richard Pitino introduced at Minnesota, has already talked to Tyus Jones and Rashad Vaughn


Richard Pitino, son of future Hall of Famer, Rick, was introduced as the new head coach at Minnesota on Friday, taking over for Tubby Smith.

Norwood Teague is rolling the dice, hiring a 30-year-old with one season of head coaching experience. Though, Pitino has studied under his father as well as Florida’s Billy Donovan and took Florida International to a 18-14 record and was within one win of earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Pitino in his press conference held on Friday mentioned that landing the Big Ten coaching job was a dream come true and he has one promise for the Golden Gopher faithful.

“It’s going to be a style that the kids love to play,” Pitino told reporters.

Pitino, who’s press conference aired on the Big Ten Network, used the right choice of words, especially in this year of Minnesota high school hoops. The North Star State has a talented group of players in the Class of 2014, including point guard Tyus Jones (Apple Valley High/Apple Valley, Minn.), shooting guard Rashad Vaughn (Cooper High/New Hope, Minn.) and small forward Reid Travis (De La Salle/Minneapolis Minn.) ranked by Rivals as No. 3, 6, and 41 overall, respectively.

All of them have been offered by Minnesota and  the new coach of the Golden Gophers had talked to each of them by Thursday, according to TwinCities.com.

“He seems like a good guy. He was really friendly,” Vaughn told Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press. I don’t know much about him yet, but I do like the brand of basketball that I’ve heard.”

Jones narrowed his list to seven back in early March which included Minnesota. The 6-foot-7 Reid has more than a dozen high major offers including Michigan State, Arizona and Notre Dame. Vaughn, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard, also has a wide-open recruitment which includes offers from Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Syracuse and Pitino’s father’s team, Louisville.

Richard Pitino takes over a Minnesota team that finished 21-13 (8-10 Big Ten), eighth in the conference.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Louisville’s Rick Pitino on allegations: ‘We will get through this’

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino remains defiant that his program will survive the allegations in a book by an escort alleging that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

Pitino said Tuesday that the Cardinals “will get through this the right way.”

The coach told a packed room at a tipoff luncheon that he understands the motivation behind Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” but questions the need for the alleged activities given the talent his program has produced.

Pitino added, “We will find out the truth, whatever it may be, and those responsible will pay the price.”

Georgia Tech lands Class of 2016 guard

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Georgia Tech picked up its third Class of 2016 commitment on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets landed a pledged from three-star guard Josh Okogie.

The 6-foot-4 guard is considered the No. 143 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016 rankings and Okogie played with a very talented Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL. In 22 games this spring and summer, Okogie averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Okogie joins three-star wing Christian Matthews and four-star big man Romello White in head coach Brian Gregory’s Class of 2016 at Georgia Tech. The group is definitely a solid influx of talent with some coming from successful grassroots programs.