It’s been a good week for Mississippi State on the recruiting front.
Already having received verbal commitments from two members of the 2015 class in Joseph Struggs and Dante Scott, Mississippi State has landed 6-6 small forward Elijah Staley.
Staley, who attends Wheeler HS in Marietta, Ga., announced his decision to the public via the new social media app Vine. Staley informed the coaches at Mississippi State (as well as his other two choices: Miami and Virginia) earlier this week.
Highly regarded for his talent as a dual-threat quarterback, the left-handed Staley will play both sports in Starkville. The desire to play both sports in college was a sticking point for his original school of choice, as Staley de-committed from Vanderbilt in April after learning that he would not be allowed to do so there.
Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Ray actually offered Staley a scholarship more than a year ago. Ray recruited Staley since he was an assistant at Clemson and really put on the full pursuit once he arrived in Starkville.
When the football staff also offered Staley a scholarship, he knew it was the place for him.
“They said I’d definitely have a possibility of playing early because they only have two quarterbacks,” he said. “They said they’d work with me on the basketball thing. I’d have a chance to come in and compete for the starting job early.”
While Staley has the option to play both sports at Mississippi State, he did state in the story written by John Talty of the Clarion-Ledger that he’ll ultimately go with the sport that gives him the greatest opportunity to play professionally.
But that’s a conversation for another day, as Staley’s commitment is good news for a program that didn’t enjoy a great amount of success in 2012-13.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
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.
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.