Kuran Iverson

Kuran Iverson says Memphis’ recruiting class is ‘way better’ than Kentucky’s

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Memphis commit Kuran Iverson — Allen Iverson’s cousin — is becoming a known name in Big Blue Nation and for all the wrong reasons.

This past weekend at the 2013 Mary Kline Classic in Philadelphia, the 6-foot-8 small forward told SNY.tv that he said that he believes Kentucky’s highly-touted class is not the nation’s best.

“We can be great,” Iverson told SNY.tv. “Everybody talking about Kentucky hype, but there ain’t really gonna be no Kentucky hype. There’s gonna be some Memphis hype.”

If that answer wasn’t bold enough, when asked if he though Memphis’ 2013 class was better than Kentucky’s class, Iverson did anything but hold back.

“Yeah, way better. Way better. They talented, we work hard.”

In Iverson’s defense, what do you expect him to say when asked a question like that? And, if you continue to read past the recruiting class trash talk, Iverson goes on to show that he is a confident basketball player to say the least. The versatile small forward, who committed to Memphis in September, told SNY that he would’ve liked to play point guard next season if it wasn’t for Joe Jackson returning.

The Tigers do have a very impressive incoming class besides Iverson. Memphis adds five-star power forward Austin Nichols, along with guard RaShawn Powell and Markel Crawford, as well as forward Nick King and center Dominic Woodson, the former Baylor commit.

Those six players could be joining Memphis with former Missouri guard Michael Dixon who had reportedly committed to the Tigers on Tuesday morning.

But if you needed a refresher on who John Calipari is bringing in for next season, it includes six of the top 20 recruits according Rivals.com   — Julius Randle, Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson, James Young and Marcus Lee — along with a pair of three star commits, Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins.

This is likely Josh Pastner’s best class and his star freshman forward may have just upped the expectations four months before the season even begins.

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

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.