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2019-2020 High School Bounce

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Posts Tagged ‘Rick Pitino.’

Minnesota’s Coleman decides to transfer

Joe Coleman (courtesy U of Minnesota)

The firing of head coach Tubby Smith has cost the University of Minnesota one of its better basketball players.

Shooting guard Joe Coleman, who averaged 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore, is the first player to leave the program.

After the season, Minnesota hired Richard Pitino, son of Rick Pitino to run the men’s basketball program.

Seton Hall hires Kevin Willard to be head men’s basketball coach

compiled from staff and news reports

Kevin Williard has left Iona College to head the men’s basketball program at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. The 34-year-old Williard replaces the controversial Bobby Gonzalez, who was fired on March 17 after a 19-win season that was beset by problems off the court.

Kevin Williard Seton Hall (SHU)

Gonzalez was fired a day after Seton Hall lost in the opening round of the NIT, a game in which Pirates forward Herb Pope was ejected for hitting a Texas Tech player below the belt. Gonzalez also picked up his seventh technical foul of the season.

Forward Robert Mitchell, who was kicked off the team days before the NIT game, was charged the same week with robbing eight people at gunpoint in South Orange. He pleaded not guilty.

A week before the season started, guard Keon Lawrence, a transfer,  was involved in a traffic in a traffic accident on the Garden State Parkway in which he was driving in the wrong direction, seriously injuring the driver of the other vehicle. Lawrence was charged with assault by an auto and driving with a suspended license, and was suspended for the first eight games of the season.

Rumors had been swirling for months that Patrick Hobbs, the law school dean who is overseeing the Seton Hall Pirates athletic department, wanted to get rid of Gonzalez because he had lost control of the program and that the school’s reputation was taking serious hits from the fans, media and alumni.

Kevin Willard took over the Iona Gaels program that was in the bottom 10 among Division I teams in the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) three years ago and led the it to a 21-10 record this year, earning  the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) coach of the year award.  A former Pittsburgh guard, Williard is a disciple of Rick Pitino. He spent four years as a Boston Celtics assistant and followed Pitino to Louisville for another six years before arriving at Iona.

During his first year, the Gaels finished with 10 victories or more than the previous year, one of the top turnarounds in NCAA Division I in 2007-2008. They won two games during the 2006-2007 season.

Just like Bobby Gonzalez, Willard favors an uptempo, pressure defense and aggressive game.

Willard comes from a basketball pedigree.  His father, Ralph, was a head coach at Western Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Holy Cross, and currently is the associate head coach under Rick Pitino.

Louisville upsets #1 Syracuse in Freedom Hall Finale

compiled from staff and wire reports

Venerable Freedom Hall in Louisville (wfe)

Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky is only 54 years old, so why will it no longer be the home of the University of Louisville basketball teams? Eventhough the building doesn’t look 54 years old, the university felt a change of venues was needed.

Freedom Hall is a part of the Louisville Fairgrounds and the Kentucky Expositions Center. The university also wanted to have its basketball teams play in the downtown area  where it would be accessible for the average fan to get to the games. Not everybody could get to the fairgrounds. Plus, they needed more seating to satisfy public demand for tickets. So next year, the Cardinals will play in a new downtown arena.

Peyton Siva (2) leads Louisville past Syracuse (lc-j)

In their Freedom Hall finale, Louisville upset #1 Syracuse, 78-68. That closes the history book on Freedom Hall. The arena opened in 1956, with the Cardinals winning 682 games and losing 141. It was host to 6 Final Fours (’58, ’59, ’62, ’63, ’67 and ’69). Louisville only had two losing seasons there in 1998 and 2001. Rick Pitino had a record of 151-26 at Freedom Hall.

Kyle Kuric, a reserve guard will go down in Louisville Cardinals history as a trivia question. “Who helped the Cardinals upset #1 Syracuse in the final game at Freedom Hall”?

The shy and bashful, Kuric scored all 22 of his career-high 22 points in the second half, in helping the Cardinals to the surprising win before a record crowd of 20,135 at the 54 year old arena. The Cardinals have won six straight against the Orange.

Kuric said, “It’s an unbelievable moment. It’s what every kid dreams of growing up.”

Kuric’s heroics may have helped secure Louisville (20-12, 11-7 Big East) a return trip to the NCAA Tournament by sweeping the regular-season series from Syracuse (28-3, 15-3), whose only other loss came against Pittsburgh.

Legendary Louisville coach Denny Crum, who at one time was an assistant to John Wooden at UCLA,  was introduced at halftime along with players from his two national title teams of 1980 and 1986. The court at Freedom Hall is named “Denny Crum Court.”

Despite losing to Louisville, Syracuse is still the regular season champions of the Big East.


* Louisville is 4-5 all-time against number 1 ranked teams.

* The Cardinals attempted 40 3-pointers-hitting 12-for the most long-range attempts by a Big East team this season.

* Syracuse suffered its first loss away from the Carrier Dome this season (11-1). Scoop Jardine finished with a team-high 20 points and Wes Johnson added 18.