DePaul, In A Tough PR Spot, Releases Pitchford

Posted by nvr1983 on July 12th, 2010

Zagsblog overlord Adam Zagoria reported earlier tonight that 2010 recruit Walter Pitchford will be granted his release from DePaul at some point in the next two days, allowing Pitchford to sign with another school.

Pitchford, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, had signed a letter of intent with DePaul early in the recruiting period and was to start his college career this fall, but later asked for a release, telling Zagsblog that he asked for it because of the coaching change that saw Jerry Wainwright fired and former Clemson boss Oliver Purnell brought in to run things on the Chicago campus. He also claimed to be “concerned” with the level of crime in Chicago. DePaul initially denied Pitchford’s request, and his appeal to the NCAA was also rejected. In an ESPN.com article published earlier on Sunday, Purnell defended his new employers, saying that DePaul was retaining Pitchford because they wanted to run the basketball program “with integrity.” Purnell also voiced suspicion that there may have even been some tampering, by other schools, and reiterated that they weren’t holding onto Pitchford just to be cruel, that there was a principle involved, here, and that he wanted the entire process to play out. Then, just hours later, came the news that Pitchford was to be released.

Purnell and DePaul were put in a tough spot, and giving Pitchford his release will be better for both sides. (Photo: coachpurnell.com)

To be sure, since the moment that Pitchford asked for his release, DePaul has been in a tough spot. If they had immediately released Pitchford, they would have lost a recruit that they wanted, and in the process painted themselves as a program that can be walked on, a basketball team from which recruits are better off escaping. They would have looked like a place that has made no progress in coming back from their recent disarray, not a program doing all that it can to repair itself. If they had held onto Pitchford no matter what, there’s no way they could have come out of that positively, from a PR standpoint. If they’d have held Pitchford to his letter of intent, DePaul would have been painted as a recruit-unfriendly program that holds kids hostage. Even if the reputation would have been unfairly gained, it’s not exactly an image a new coach wants to cultivate, especially in a city as rich with young basketball talent as Chicago. And, of course, you never know what kind of effort you’d get from a player who doesn’t want to be in your program.

Now we wait to see where Pitchford lands, which will be interesting, considering his reasons for wanting out of his LOI at DePaul. We can’t really buy that there was a sudden realization in Pitchford’s camp that there might be crime in Chicago, and while we know that Jerry Wainwright was a nice guy, there’s no denying that Purnell’s resume — especially recently — is more impressive, and DePaul will be the better for his being there. Pitchford’s choice of school will have to jibe with his reasons for wanting out of DePaul. If they don’t, despite Pitchford getting his release, there will be more questions here than answers.

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Morning Five: 01.12.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 12th, 2010

  1. Fordham transfer player Jio Fontan has resurfaced all the way across the country at USC, and he will be eligible to play next season at the semester break.  This is a good pickup for Kevin O’Neill, as Fontan averaged 15/5 assts in a season-plus at Fordham and will be able to move into the PG slot vacated by Mike Gerrity.  Speaking of USC, the self-imposed sanctions on the basketball program may not become official until February, when the school will appear in front of the NCAA Infractions Committee.  Does this mean that, if the Committee imposes much harsher penalties than proposed that this year’s Trojans could actually still play in the postseason?
  2. Jerry Tarkanian never wasted an opportunity to take a shot at the NCAA, and his guns were blazing at a speech he gave in Arkansas Monday where he called the NCAA the “crookedest organization in this country.”
  3. Charlotte’s Shamarr Bowden, a freshman shooting guard averaging 5.7 PPG in ten minutes per game, will transfer from the school to a destination unknown.  Former Ohio State guard Walter Offutt has transferred to Wright State, and Georgetown forward Nikita Mescheriakov is enrolled at Wake Forest.
  4. Mike DeCourcy suggests that the problems at DePaul go well beyond Jerry Wainwright and indicts the administration itself.  His point about firing Wainwright in the middle of the season after an 0-18 Big East slate is a great insight.
  5. More aftermath from the Tennessee upset over #1 Kansas on Sunday, including Parrish’s take on Skylar McBee and how he’s living his dream at Tennessee.   As for Kansas, maybe they should have taken more half-court shots during the game.  They seem to be pretty good at making them.

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DePaul Shows Wainwright DeDoor

Posted by jstevrtc on January 11th, 2010

OK, maybe that headline’s a tad unfair, because by just about every account, Jerry Wainwright is a top guy.  Who knows, maybe being a nice guy got him a little more time at DePaul than anyone else would have received.  Either way, Wainwright was let go today as head coach of the Blue Demons.  He took over before the 2005 season and built a 59-80 record while running things there.  In a twist that might make that ol’ Yalie Stephen V. Benet proud, it’s now The Demons and Tracy Webster, the assistant who was promoted to interim head coach for the rest of this season.  The buzz on Wainwright’s departure began in earnest last night, but we should give props to Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy for listing him as numero uno on his list of coaches under pressure in a pre-season article.

Wainwright in better -- yes, better -- days.

Wainwright’s squad had started out 5-1 this season, scoring wins over a decent Detroit team, losing a close one to current darlings Tennessee, and handing 14-1 Northern Iowa their only blemish on the season.  There were a few cupcake wins and a couple of setbacks to a pair of pretty good SEC teams in Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.  These early performances likely served to mitigate the sting left over from last year’s crippling 0-18 conference record, but then came a home loss to American (3-13), a loss at Florida Gulf Coast (5-10), and eventually three convincing losses to Big East powerhouses (at Pittsburgh, Georgetown, at Villanova) to start the conference slate that put the Blue Demons at 7-8, and turned out to be Wainwright’s undoing.  In that last game against Villanova, by the way, Wainwright actually suffered a torn MCL and broken tibia when he was hit by a diving player near the DePaul bench.

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Morning Five: 01.11.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 11th, 2010

  1. #1 Kansas Goes Down.  Given the circumstances involving Bruce Pearl’s team, a lot will be written about this game in the next 24 hours.  Here are some of the better takes we’ve found.  Mike DeCourcy calls the Tennessee win miraculous, Luke Winn points out (correctly) that Cole Aldrich cannot be a forgotten man in the KU offense, and we over here at RTC had a bit of take on that game as well…
  2. You don’t see this often, and it was hidden in the Friday night news feeds, but Dartmouth head coach Terry Dunn was fired (“forced to resign”) after his entire team mutinied by signing a document stating they refused to play for him anymore.  The players then took the court on Saturday and were run out of the gym by thirty against Harvard.
  3. Injured center Gregory Echinique announced that he is transferring from the Rutgers program, and one possible destination for the talented big man from Venezuela is Tom Crean’s Indiana program.
  4. From last week, CBS/FSN announcer Tim Brando apparently (allegedly?) got into a bizarre email exchange with a Kentucky fan over his comments regarding DeMarcus Cousins’ elbow in the UK-Louisville game.  It doesn’t seem real, but whoever wrote it trashes the SEC and the “limited knowledge” of Kentucky fans outside of their own team.
  5. Midnight Madness on October 1 as well as a shortened regular season could come to fruition if the NCAA Board of Directors proposals are approved this week in Atlanta.  Another key proposal is the elimination of the hire-the-AAU-coach loophole to get a top prospect to attend your school, which is a fantastic piece of legislation if you ask us.
  6. BONUS:  Late-breaking news but DePaul’s Jerry Wainwright will be removed as head coach today, according to Andy Katz.  Wainwright seems like a good guy, and he’s had coaching success at the mid-major level, but he could never get it going there in Chicago.
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2009-10 Conference Primers: #3 – Big East

Posted by rtmsf on November 5th, 2009

seasonpreview

Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is the RTC correspondent for the Big East Conference.

Predicted order of finish:

  1. Villanova
  2. West Virginia
  3. UConn
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Louisville
  6. Georgetown
  7. Syracuse
  8. Seton Hall
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Marquette
  12. South Florida
  13. Rutgers
  14. Providence
  15. St. John’s
  16. DePaul

Preseason Awards.

  • Player of the Year. Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
  • Newcomer of the Year. Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
  • Breakout Player of the Year. Kemba Walker, UConn

big east logo

All-Conference First Team.

  • Kemba Walker, UConn
  • Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
  • Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
  • Greg Monroe, Georgetown
  • Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

All-Conference Second Team.

  • Jerome Dyson, UConn
  • Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati
  • Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia
  • Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
  • Lazar Hayward, Marquette

All-Conference Third Team.

  • Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
  • Corey Fisher, Villanova
  • Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall
  • Stanley Robinson, UConn
  • Samardo Samuels, Louisville

All-Rookie Team.

  • Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
  • Peyton Siva, Louisville
  • Maalik Wayns, Villanova
  • Dante Taylor, Pitt
  • Mouphtaou Yarou, Villanova

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03.10.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2009

Another day full of teams punching their tickets for the dance, and another morning after with tons of analysis, opinions, and great links…enjoy!

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International Incidents

Posted by rtmsf on July 17th, 2007

The real dog days of summer are here, and that can only mean one thing to hoopheads - international basketball.  Yes, we know that you’ve all missed the trapezoidal lane and goofy emblazoned unitards preferred by our international friends.  Harkening back to the days of our youth when we trotted amateurs out there and still actually won these events, we should take solace in the knowledge that, even though the world has indeed caught us in team basketball, we still own the patent on And1-style showmanship.  If only there was an international competition that allows four steps after picking up your dribble followed by random acts of dancing with the crowd.

Skip to my Lou

A Team USA Led by S2ML Could Win This Competition

The Senior Men’s National Team will get most of the hype this summer (will Kobe play?  will Team USA qualify for the Beijing Olympics?), but there are two other international teams filled with collegians that we’re keeping an eye on – the Pan Am team and the Under-19 World Championships team (see rosters below).   

Pan Am Team USA Roster

 Pam Am Team USA

The Pan Am team (coached by Villanova’s Jay Wright) begins play in Rio de Janeiro on July 25, and at least half of the roster is filled with players who will be NCAA All-Americans next season.  What’s most interesting about this roster is the names of some of the players who were left off the squad.  Preseason first-teamer Chris Lofton apparently counterbalanced global warming all by himself as he froze up the gym with his shooting stroke during the trials and was left home, as were Kansas guards Sherron Collins and Mario Chalmers and Duke sharpshooter Jon Scheyer.  It was also peculiar that Wisky’s Brian Butch was left off the team, as it leaves Roy Hibbert as the only true center available – let’s hope he stays out of foul trouble.  Jay Wright realizes that the four-guard offense that he employed at Villanova was out of necessity, yes?  Nobody asked us, but this team seems heavy on shooters and wings and extremely light in the middle.  That’s probably not a strong recipe to win in international competition against stronger, older and more experienced players.  We’ll see…

Seth Davis gave his insights after watching the trials here.      

Under-19 World Championships Roster

U19 Team USA Roster

The Under-19 Worlds team, coached by the Undertaker, has already won its first five games in pool play heading into a showdown with 4-1 France tomorrow.  K-State’s incoming freshman Michael Beasley (14 ppg; 6 rpg; 70% fg in only 17 mpg) and Davidson guard Stephen Curry (11 ppg; 3 apg; 61% fg) have led a balanced attack for the high-scoring (99 ppg) American squad.  Arkansas guard Patrick Beverly is the only Team USA member earning more than 25 mpg thus far, while Donte’ Green and Damian Hollis appear to be the only two Americans not getting substantial minutes.  From what we’ve seen so far, it appears that Beverly, David Lighty and Deon Thompson are poised for breakout years at their respective schools, while Big 12 fans should just hang on for the one-year ride watching Beasley and DeAndre Jordan perform.  The eight-team medal round begins on Friday in lovely (especially as compared to Rio) Novi Sad, Serbia.

Beasley Team USA

Michael BEASTley

We’ll be checking back in periodically with these teams to see how they finish in their respective competitions and, more importantly, whether any particular player(s) shows what to expect next season. 

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