With Cory Jefferson having graduated and Isaiah Austin foregoing his final two seasons of eligibility to enter the NBA Draft, Baylor head coach Scott Drew has two major departures to account for as the Bears look to build on their Sweet 16 appearance in 2014-15. Rico Gathers, Royce O’Neale and Taurean Prince were all members of Baylor’s front court rotation in 2013-14 and their returns will help next season, but there’s always room for another contributor.
Sunday afternoon the Bears landed one of the best junior college prospects available, as according to Brad Winton of JucoRecruiting.com 6-foot-8 Lee (Texas) College forward Deng Deng has committed to Baylor.
Deng was originally an LSU commitment, making the verbal pledge to join Johnny Jones’ program in 2012 with plans of joining the program for the 2013-14 season. However Deng needed a second year at Lee College, where he averaged 19.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Nebraska was also considered to be in the running for Deng’s services.
Deng reached double figures in 27 of the 29 games in which he played this season, and he managed to grab at least ten rebounds in 20 games. Deng’s addition gives Baylor added front court depth, and he has the skill needed to be a key member of the Bears’ rotation in 2014-15.
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.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.