Nearly a month after it was revealed that 6-foot-7 forward Joe Hampton would be transferring from DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland to Oak Hill Academy, the 2016 forward announced that he has verbally committed to Penn State. Hampton did so during an unofficial visit to the school on Saturday, making his commitment to Patrick Chambers’ program public via his Twitter account.
Hampton is the first commitment in the Class of 2016 for the Nittany Lions, who have three commitments in the Class of 2015 thus far. Last season at DeMatha, Hampton averaged 11.9 points per game on a team that finished the season with a 29-6 record. In a story written by Brandon Parker of the Washington Post last month, DeMatha head coach Mike Jones had nothing but positive things to say about Hampton when discussing the player’s decision to switch high schools.
“I know the first thing some people might think when hearing the news is that Joe got in trouble or his grades were bad, but I want to make it clear that’s not the case,” Jones said. “Joe is coming off a very good year academically. I know his family thought through this decision and it wasn’t an easy one for them. They did what they felt was best for Joe and we wish him the best. He still has brothers on this team and the coaches care a lot about him as well.”
Adding Hampton is an important recruiting move for Penn State, as Brandon Taylor and Donovan Jack are both juniors this season. After receiving a verbal commitment from 6-foot-8 power forward/center Mike Watkins in the Class of 2015, the Nittany Lions have managed to address the need to account for those coming departures.
Among the other programs in contact with Hampton, who is currently ranked 60th in the Class of 2016 by Rivals, were DePaul, Maryland and Xavier.
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.