Recruiting update, possible Cronin replacements
Coach Pitino has been very busy visiting prospects and hitting the AAU tournaments during this spring's open evaluation period.
Last Friday, Coach Pitino was in Florida visiting with one of the top prospects in the class of 2004, 6'10, 240 Alexander Kaun and his high school coach Aubin Goporo at Florida Air Academy.
From Florida, Pitino traveled to Las Vegas for the Easter Classic to check out 6'9, 200 Mohamed Abukar. Abukar, recently released from his letter of intent by the University of Georgia, will play in this weekend's Derek Anderson Derby Festival Basketball Classic giving both UofL and UK fans the opportunity to watch the skilled big man play.
Abukar scored 43 during the game Coach Pitino saw in Las Vegas and UCLA's Ben Howland, Florida's Billy Donovan and Gonzaga's Mark Few were also in attendance. Several assistant coaches were also in attendance, including one from Kentucky.
Pitino was scheduled to fly from Vegas to Clear Lake, TX for the Adidas Texas Classic on Sunday where top UofL targets were in action, including Sebastian Telfair and Glen Davis among others.
This week, Coach Pitino will travel back to the south to visit with another of the top big men prospects in the class of 2004. ITV has already spoken with this players high school coach and will have a full preview of Coach Pitino's visit with this player Tuesday morning and a complete wrap after the visit.
Pitino will then travel to California to visit with 6'10 forward David Burgess, the younger brother of the former Duke player Chris. Burgess is strong around the basket and has excellent low post scoring skills. He currently lists Louisville as one of his top four college choices, although UCLA is thought to have the edge.
And with all that travel it's easy to see how the search to replace former Associate Coach Mick Cronin could get lost in the shuffle.
However, two possible candidates could be emerging. According to Cardoza High Head Coach Ron Naclerio, Greg Vetrone and Tom Abetamarco might be the leading candidates right now.
Vetrone, the former assistant at UNLV who recruited Lamar Odom to the Runnin' Rebels, has strong recruiting ties in New York City and was considered one of the best recruiters in the nation several years back.
Abetamarco is currently the color commentator for the Sacramento Kings radio broadcasts after being fired as the Head Coach at Sacremento State a couple seasons back. Abetamarco was an assistant to Jimmy Valvano at Iona and N.C. State and is credited with landing Jeff Ruland while at Iona. He was considered one of the best recruiters in the business in the early 1980's and was the chief recruiter for N.C. State while Valvano was the head coach.