Pitino to announce new assistants

Louisville coach Rick Pitino is set to announce new additions to his coaching staff Tuesday afternoon. Before the interview process, Pitino made clear his new hires would share a common trait: the ability to recruit. If sources are correct, Pitino's new assistants could deliver results on the recruiting trail.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino is set to announce new additions to his coaching staff Tuesday afternoon.

Pitino, who had three open spots to fill on his coaching staff after Steve Masiello accepted the head coaching position at Manhattan, Tim Fuller left for an assistants position at Missouri and Mark Lieberman was re-assigned to an administrative position, is expected to announce the additions of his son, Richard Pitino, and Wyking Jones, an assistant to Steve Alford at New Mexico the past two seasons.

Pitino, 28, served as an assistant at Louisville for two years, helping the Cardinals advance to consecutive NCAA Elite Eight appearances in 2008 and 2009. Louisville went 58-15 during his two years on staff.

Regarded as one of the top up-and-coming assistants in the nation, Pitino left Louisville after the 2009 season to take a job as an assistant at Florida under Billy Donovan. He has earned a reputation as a tireless recruiter and detail-oriented scout and returns to Louisville as Pitino's ‘associate head coach.'

Prior to his first stint at Louisville, Pitino, spent two years on Ron Everhart's staff at Northeastern (2005-06) and Duquesne (2006-07). During his two seasons at Florida, the Gators made the NCAA Tournament twice, advancing to the Elite Eight this season before losing to Butler in overtime.

"He did a great job [here]," Donovan said. "I feel sad that his stay was only two years. I'm excited for him that he is going to be reunited with his family and his dad."

Jones, 36, has strong Nike Grassroots connections and is regarded as a good recruiter. A former player at Loyola Marymount, Jones has extremely strong recruiting ties on the west coast.

On paper, Jones resume looks similar to Fuller. Like Fuller, Jones has Nike Grassroots connections through his position as a former Nike traveling team manager. Those connections helped lure 6-9 UCLA transfer Drew Gordon, a former McDonald's All-American, to New Mexico.

Prior to his stint at New Mexico, Jones spent two years as a travel team manager with Nike. Prior to Nike, Jones worked five seasons (2002-06) at Pepperdine as an assistant to head coach Paul Westphal.

Before he embarked on the interview process, Pitino, who interviewed as many as ten candidates, made clear his new hires would share one common trait: The ability to recruit.

Richard Pitino already has Louisville in the mix with several prospects, including five-star 2012 prospect D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, a standout combo guard from Indianapolis, and rising four-star 2012 prospect Alex Poythress, a skilled and athletic forward from Clarksville, Tenn.

Though Jones' strongest ties are on the west coast, he's well-connected throughout Nike's nation-wide AAU organization. One player Jones could quickly get Louisville involved with – 2013 star Aaron Gordon, a 6-8 dunking machine from San Jose, California who has been compared favorably to NBA superstar Blake Griffin.

Though Pitino isn't expected to announce the third member of his coaching staff today, Hargrave (Va.) Academy coach Kevin Keatts is in the running for the job. Keatts, one of the nation's top prep coaches, interviewed with Pitino while in town last week to coach in the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic. According to sources, a former Division 1 assistant is also in the mix for the final spot on Rick Pitino's staff.

Pitino will announce his new hires during a 12:30 press conference on the University of Louisville campus. InsideTheVille.com will be on hand to provide live coverage, and will have quotes, video and photos from today's news conference on the website this afternoon.

For live updates, be sure to follow InsideTheVille.com on Twitter @ITVHughes. We'll also be posting updates for premium members in the Cardinal Confidential forum.


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