John Calipari, Mike Kitts

Mike Kitts taking over as MAAC coordinator of officials in 2014

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Mike Kitts’ 31st season as a college basketball official will be his last in an on-court capacity, as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced on Wednesday that he will be the league’s coordinator of men’s basketball officials beginning with the 2014-15 season.

Kitts will move into the role vacated by mentor Brad Tracy, who is retiring at the end of the 2013-14 season. Tracy has held the position since the 1990-91 season.

By his own count, Kitts has officiated in 19 NCAA Tournaments, including four national semifinal games in the Final Four. Kitts has worked in many of the country’s top conferences during his career, including the Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference, in addition to the MAAC.

Kitts has officiated the MAAC’s championship game in 14 of the last 15 tournaments, and in 2008, was the recipient of the Naismith Award, given annually to the nation’s top referee.

In a summer of transition for the remnants of the “original” Big East (or close to it), Kitts is the second official to make the move into an administrative role. John Cahill will be the coordinator of men’s basketball officials in the “new” Big East, which will officially be recognized by the NCAA on August 1 (the league goes into existence on July 1).

For the MAAC this is a good move, given Kitts’ overall experience and connections to the conference.

“We are pleased that Mike will be taking over as our Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials,” MAAC commissioner Richard Ensor said in the release.

“Mike has had an outstanding career as an official on the court, and is held in high esteem by so many in college basketball. To have someone with his knowledge and experience take over as our coordinator, we won’t skip a beat.”

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.