New coaches, new recruiting philosophy

After announcing his new coaching staff last week, Rick Pitino's new assistants – Richard Pitino, Wyking Jones and Kevin Keatts - were introduced to the Louisville media for the first time Tuesday afternoon. With three new coaches on board, Pitino's program will have a new approach – and philosophy – toward recruiting.

After announcing his new coaching staff last week, Rick Pitino's new assistants – Richard Pitino, Wyking Jones and Kevin Keatts - were introduced to the Louisville media for the first time Tuesday afternoon.

With three new coaches on board, Pitino's program will have a new approach – and philosophy – toward recruiting.

"We talked last year about building a different brand of basketball in terms of how we played the game," Pitino said. "Now we want to build a new brand in recruiting. We want to change our philosophy in terms of recruiting where we don't individualize coaches with players. We want to [recruit] as a staff, a team."

Why the change in recruiting philosophy? It stems largely from the departure of Tim Fuller.

Louisville's recruiting efforts in 2012 and 2013 took a hit when Fuller, who was expected to be the point man on those recruiting classes, unexpectedly left after one season to accept an assistant coaching position at Missouri last month.

"If Wyking is recruiting somebody from the west coast then [we want] Richard and Kevin to spend as much time out there in our efforts," Pitino said. "It's going to be team recruiting that we all are on the same page recruiting the same young man. That's a difference in philosophy from what we've had and it's a welcomed change."


Pitino, who interviewed six people before hiring Jones and Keatts, told his son to find him the best recruiters who had unquestionable loyalty.

"This will be the best recruiting staff I will have had as a coach," Pitino said. "Everybody in the business has always been impressed with Kevin. He's had to go out each year and recruit a new team because it's [Hargrave] a one-year school. Every AAU coach who was trying to get their players good coaching and education went to Kevin. So his relationships over a long span of time with AAU and high school coaches is great."

"I wanted to get a west coast person who also recruited other parts of the country," Pitino said of Jones. "He ran the grassroots program for Nike. Tim ran it at the professional level, [Jones] ran it at the grassroots level. So his relationships have been tremendous. New Mexico has gotten some terrific basketball players the last couple of years who are probably going to lead them to the NCAA Tournament."

Though Richard Pitino will help Jones and Keatts recruit, his primary responsibilities will be scouting and game preparation.

"All three are quality people and that's what we really wanted," Pitino said. "Richard put all of this together. He brought me some great people."

Now that the formal introductions are out of the way, Pitino, Jones and Keatts will get busy on the recruiting trail. Pitino said again Tuesday that his program could add a transfer or two this spring. Former N.C. State point guard Ryan Harrow and former Wake Forest star Tony Woods are the two main possibilities. Harrow would have to sit out next season and have two years of eligibility remaining. Woods will be eligible next season and could play two years.

"We may take two players right now in terms of a transfer or another high school basketball player or we may take none," Pitino said. "If that's the case we're going to get three or four next year. If we take one or two now we'll probably only bring in one or two from the [2012] class. We have a lot of doors to open and these guys will get those doors open."

Basketball Notebook

Pitino called Louisville's 2011-12 schedule "exciting" and said that "old rivalries will be rekindled." There have been reports that Louisville and Memphis will play each other this season for the first time since the Cardinals left Conference USA in 2005.

Pitino said Louisville's trip to the Bahamas this summer has been finalized. Louisville will leave August 10 and return August 18. UofL will practice ten days starting July 30. Pitino said his team would scrimmage twice and probably play three games in the Bahamas, two against the Bahamian national team and one against a professional team.

Pitino again expressed his feeling that junior center Terrence Jennings will keep his name in the NBA Draft. "We fully expect Terrence to go pro," said Pitino. "We hope he does, makes it and the lockout isn't too long."


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