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

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.