Chris Collins

Forward Derek Pardon becomes Northwestern’s second 2015 commitment

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Northwestern head coach Chris Collins and his coaching staff have done a good job on the recruiting trail since arriving in Evanston last spring, signing a solid five-member 2014 class that’s expected to help the Wildcats this coming season. With that group, led by wing Vic Law, set to arrive on campus this summer, the focus is now on Northwestern’s 2015 recruiting class.

Saturday the Wildcats landed a second verbal commitment in the class, with 6-foot-8 forward Derek Pardon making his pledge to the Big Ten program. He joins guard Jordan Ash, who verbally committed to attend Northwestern in mid-March. Pardon’s decision was first announced by his high school coach, Babe Kwasniak at Villa Angela-St. Joseph HS in Cleveland, Ohio.

According to Evan Daniels of, Pardon picked Northwestern over Pittsburgh and Dayton. As a junior Pardon posted averages of 11.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, leading his team in the latter category.

Among Pardon’s high school teammates is fellow forward Carlton Bragg, a five-star recruit in the 2015 class who has received attention from many of the nation’s best college programs. Pardon plays his grassroots basketball for the King James Shooting Stars program, which now has three verbal commitments in the 2015 class.

Shooting guard Kyle Ahrens verbally committed to attend Michigan State earlier this weekend, and center Nate Fowler picked Butler in late-May.

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.


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.