LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- College football kickoff is less than a week away, but that doesn't mean college hoops sits quietly in the back seat. In fact, the news on the basketball front seems only to have intensified this past week, and the 'Book has you covered. Jumping in . . .
PITINO TALKS DYNASTY IN LOUISVILLIAN OF THE YEAR REMARKS
The American Advertising Federation of Louisville presented Rick Pitino with his Louisvillian of the Year award in absentia on Friday. The coach had a rare scheduling issue and found himself double-booked, so his remarks on winning the award came via video.
Still, he had an interesting thing or two to say. Over the summer, it seems, he has shown his teams some examples of sports dynasties, and is trying to get them to think about what quality those teams had that enabled them to sustain success.
"It's been two unbelievable years," Pitino said. "Back-to-back Final Fours, which is extremely difficult, and in arguably one of the toughest conferences in all of basketball -- the Big East -- winning two championships, the last of which was won at Madison Square Garden in the last one of its kind to be played there with all these tremendous teams. One more, and you've now created a dynasty. Anytime you have three years at the championship level, you've created a dynasty. And that's going to be our goal. . . .
"What I showed my team after the season was the Yankees run. The Packers run. The Patriots run. The Celtics, the Bulls, the Lakers. All these great teams. It takes three years in a row to create some form of a dynasty. If we can go to three Final Fours and put ourselves into a championship hunt, we will have accomplished that. That has to be the carrot out there. But it has to be, again, on a one-day contract. What that did last year was get the most out of our abilities. We know there are teams like Michigan State, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, and Michigan that certainly are every bit as good as our basketball team, if not better. But I like our basketball team. I think they're under the influence of that one-day contract mentality, they love what they are accomplishing, and they want to go for it. So we'll strive to meet our goals like everybody else. We know it will be difficult, but I think we're up for the challenge."
KENTUCKY TO LEARN MUDIAY'S DECISION TONIGHT
Emmanuel Mudiay, the Texas point guard rated by some services as the nation's No. 1 player for 2014, surprised some people when he said he's ready to announce a decision during tonight's Elite 24 game on ESPNU.
Mudiay has been deciding between SMU and Kentucky, but has yet to make a visit to UK.
The Twitter punditry on Friday night was beginning to give the nod to SMU and head coach Larry Brown, who is very close with UK coach John Calipari.
Still, recruiting is a strange business. Commitments made early sometimes can be less than iron-clad, and Calipari's track record with point guards is difficult to ignore.
It would be, in any event, a major coup for SMU, and a rare miss on a top-rated point guard for UK, if Mudiay stays home to play for the Mustangs.
CALIPARI DWARFS TWITTER COMPETITION
Coaches are flocking to Twitter just like everybody else, but a listing by The Sporting News of the game's most active coaches on Twitter gives a reminder of just how much of an edge Calipari has in the social media race.
Calipari and Indiana's Tom Crean are listed as the two most popular coaches on Twitter. Crean has better than 122,000 followers, which is impressive by any measure.
Calipari has over a million more followers than Crean.
PITINO TALKS BOOK, PUBLISHER RELEASES EXCERPT
Talking to the AAF during its awards ceremony, Pitino talked about his latest book project, "The One-Day Contract," and how it came about.
"It really started with a situation I encountered," Pitino said. "We lost to Morehead State. I knew Morehead State was pretty good. They had Kenneth Faried, now 'Manimal' in the NBA. We lost Preston Knowles when we were up four, and the complexion of the game changed. At that point, I thought, maybe that's enough. Maybe that's a sign to do something else. So I met with an agent, and seriously thought about doing television. And I struck a great deal. I went home and talked to my wife about it, and at that point she said, 'No it's not time.' I said, 'It's not because we lost, I just think the time is right.' She said, 'No, you're not right. You're too young. You have too much to give.' And she talked me out of it, just as she talked me out of taking the Michigan job instead of the Louisville job. So she's been the star of my family for a while.' As I look back, I think, can you imagine if I'd done that? I'd never have known two Final Fours and eventually a championship.
"From there, I started thinking about moving forward, and there were two things I adopted. One had to do with putting Louisville first. Not the name on the back, not your personal ambitions -- those come from winning, from team ambition. We wanted to emphasize everything about putting the University of Louisville first. And then, even though Tom Jurich was very kind and generous and signed me to a contract through age 70, I told myself I wanted to work on a one-day contract. If all of us had one day, how would you prepare the night or day before to get ready? If you would not be renewed if your day was not great, how would you go about your preparation, your coaching or your business or your selling? Basically, what it does is give you an incredible passion to succeed that day, and gets the most out of your ability for that day, not worrying about yesterday or putting off until later. That's what our whole approach was last season. Let's worry about today, making this day great, getting better today."
In the excerpt released by St. Martin's Press, Pitino says that his biggest career regret was not failing with the Celtics, but that he did not learn humility at an earlier age. From the excerpt:
"Over the course of (my career), I developed a feeling that much of that success was about me and what I was doing. It was difficult not to feel that way. There's no question when you coach at Kentucky, you fall into a trap of thinking you're much better than you really are, because of the adulation and attention. It is constant and seems to come in a never-ending supply. I did not know it in the midst of it, but that arrogance, that thinking of yourself as the best, is one of the biggest reasons successful people stumble and fail. It helped lead me into an error, but it was a fortunate one.
"I was very lucky to have left that atmosphere when I did. I look back at my time at Kentucky and realize I didn't carry myself with the humility necessary to foster more lasting relationships. Thankfully, I was able to build some with several remarkable people, anyway, that remain to this day. Because I left when I did, after being on top for some great years, I had a good ending. Most Kentucky coaches have not. Adolph Rupp didn't; he was in a fierce battle to keep coaching. Joe B. Hall retired under fire despite winning a national title and reaching three Final Fours. Eddie Sutton left in turmoil. Tubby Smith never got his just credit for the outstanding job he did. His major problem was winning the championship too soon. So for me, leaving Kentucky personally wasn't a bad thing. I recognized that I was falling into a trap with all that adulation; but I really didn't understand completely the consequences until I failed with the Celtics. If I hadn't left, I might not have learned that important lesson of humility. Instead, the experience taught me a great deal and I emerged from my time in Boston with the knowledge that I needed to live my life more humbly. I retained that knowledge, but from time to time I would forget it, or not put it into practice, much to my dismay and detriment, which I will discuss during this book."
CHEANEY LEAVING INDIANA FOR ASSISTANT'S JOB AT SAINT LOUIS
Calbert Cheaney, the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer, is leaving his job as director of basketball operations at Indiana to take an assistant coaching position at Saint Louis.
Cheaney has been at IU for two years, but said he wanted to delve deeper into coaching, which led him to make the move.
"It is bittersweet to leave Indiana," Cheaney said in a statement released by Saint Louis. "Learning and building relationships with Coach Crean, the IU staff and players was an unbelievable experience. I wouldn't trade it for the world."
Cheaney will go to work with former Hoosier Jim Crews, who Cheaney knew from growing up in Evansville when Crews was coach of the Purple Aces.
"He has come to have a strong desire to return to the floor coaching and can do so with someone he trusts and respects in Jim Crews," Crean said in a statement released by IU. "He will do an outstanding job and there is no doubt in my mind that he has a tremendous future coaching at any level."
JAMES BLACKMON JR. SETS RECRUITING VISITIS
James Blackmon Jr., the four-star shooting guard from Marion, Ind., who recently decommitted from Indiana, is expected to visit the Bloomington campus today. He says he's still seriously considering the Hoosiers but wants to look around.
That looking will include an unofficial visit to Kentucky on August 29 and Louisville on August 30. He's also expected to visit Michigan State tomorrow.
Blackmon's AAU roommate, Trey Lyles of Indianapolis, is set for an official visit to U of L on August 31. His official visit to UK will be for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 18.
WEEKLY NCAA INJUSTICE ROUNDUP
Another week, another mindless decision by the NCAA. Montana State big man Mohamed Fall has lost a year of eligibility because of two games he played in four years ago.
The 6-9 forward from Senegal had hoped he would get to play his senior season this year. Instead, his NCAA Division I career is over because the NCAA will not bend on a rule. Fall played in two exhibition games in the Washington, D.C., area, and the NCAA has ruled those to be organized exhibitions.
That kicks the following rule into effect: "Any participation in organized sports competition during each 12-month period after your 21st birthday and before initial full-time enrollment in a collegiate institution shall count as one year of varsity competition."
It's another case of the NCAA holding international players to a higher eligibility standard than U.S. players. Fall had no notion of the NCAA rule book. Montana State has offered to keep him on scholarship so he can finish his degree, but Fall wants to continue playing basketball, so he expects to find an option at a lower level, perhaps NAIA.
-- Not an NCAA issue entirely, but just as wrong: Vanderbilt's Sheldon Jeter is being blocked from transferring and playing for Pittsburgh on scholarship by coach Kevin Stallings.
Stallings refuses to comment on why he won't sign off on the transfer, but the upshot is that Jeter this week enrolled at Polk State College in Florida.
Jeter's original reason for transferring was to get closer to home in Western Pennsylvania. His family won't comment on what happened with Stallings. Jeter will not play in games at Polk, to preserve his three remaining seasons of eligibility.
PEARL PONDERS A RETURN TO COACHING
Bruce Pearl is less than a year away from the expiration of his NCAA show-cause period for penalties at the University of Tennessee.
He has established a life beyond basketball. He's vice president of marketing for the H.T. Hackney Company, a Knoxville-based distributor in the convenience store industry. He has picked up an analyst job with ESPN and done well.
"It's going to need to be somebody that has the vision that Tennessee had," Pearl told Parrish. "Tennessee had a vision to try to get its men's basketball program to the level of its football program and where Pat Summitt had the women's basketball program. That was Tennessee's vision. They said, 'We're winning in everything else. We want to do it in men's basketball, too.' So that would be the job I'd want -- a job where somebody has that vision. It would almost need to be a school that's won a national championship in football or baseball. Somebody who's done it and wants to try to do it again in men's basketball. And I'm not saying I can win a national championship. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying it would need to be somebody who wants to try to do those things. Let's upgrade the facilities and schedule [national opponents] and engage the fans and be relevant. Just be relevant. That's what we did at Tennessee. I wanted Tennessee to matter to Kentucky fans. I wanted Tennessee to be a game Kentucky fans circled. We did that. And that's the kind of thing I would like to try to do again."
The Knoxville News-Sentinel's John Adams wrote that it would be wise for somebody to pick up Pearl. He's probably right. Read his take here.
THE LIST: LARGEST TWITTER FOLLOWINGS
The Sporting News has ranked the college basketball coaches with the largest followings on Twitter. Here are the top ten (numbers have been rounded by The Sporting News):
1. John Calipari, Kentucky, 1.2 million 2. Tom Crean, Indiana, 122,000 3. Billy Donovan, Florida, 95,000 4. Bill Self, Kansas, 79,000 5. Tim Miles, Nebraska, 47,000 6. Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee, 36,000 7. Frank Martin, South Carolina, 34,000 8. Bob Huggins, West Virginia, 26,000 Mark Gottfried, N.C. State, 26,000 10. Chris Collins, Northwestern, 25,000