New hoops assistants ready to get to work

When Louisville played last month in Saint Louis at the Final Four, Marvin Menzies had a pretty good idea he'd be taking a new job for the fourth time in as many years. That's when the former UNLV assistant first met with Louisville coach Rick Pitino about replacing Reggie Theus, who had already taken the head coaching job at New Mexico State.

When Louisville played last month in Saint Louis at the Final Four, Marvin Menzies had a pretty good idea he'd be taking a new job for the fourth time in as many years.

That's when the former UNLV assistant first met with Louisville coach Rick Pitino about replacing Reggie Theus, who had already taken the head coaching job at New Mexico State.

And though – like most rational people – Menzies had grown tired and wasn't particularly looking forward to the process of moving and establishing roots elsewhere, again, the situation Pitino offered proved too good to turn down.

A little more than a month later, Menzies was formally introduced to the Louisville media. He arrived for a Wednesday afternoon press conference at the Student Activities Center – where the basketball Cardinals practice – donning his new teams colors – a red and black Final Four logo jacket.

"My whole motivation for this move is my family," said Menzies. "I did a lot of research on the staff that Rick had in place, including Steve (Masiello), and I heard nothing but great things about everybody. At my age, I do want to be with people that I do enjoy working with in a real positive environment. And I do think that U of L provides that."

Reputed as one of the best – if not the best – recruiters out west, Menzies refuses to take all the credit for the recruiting successes he's enjoyed during coaching stints at San Diego State, USC, and UNLV.

"I've always been big on team recruiting," explained Menzies. "I get a lot of accolades for being one of the gurus in the west in recruiting, and it's amusing to me because my whole staff everywhere I've been has been a part of signing every kid that we've signed. I just want to be, hopefully, an important piece of the puzzle."

But all modesty aside, Pitino knew exactly what he was getting when he met with Menzies in Saint Louis – a top-notch recruiter.

So what separates Menzies on the recruiting trail from others?

"Recruiting just comes natural," Menzies, whose quick-witted sense of humor was readily evident, said. "I just try to be honest and direct with kids and that happens to work well for me."

With Pitino at the helm, and coming off a Final Four appearance, Menzies will almost assuredly be like a kid in a candy store when he hits the recruiting trail this summer.

"We're going to try and get the best of the best that the United States and beyond has to offer," said Menzies. "It's actually a nice change of pace for me to be able to walk into a gym now and get any kid in there. At other places I was (limited) to watching only the kids that I could get. But here we can get anybody, and that's refreshing."


Masiello says working for Pitino
a "dream come true."

For the 27 year-old Masiello, the reality of being an assistant under Pitino seemed still to be sinking in.

"Working for Coach Pitino at the University of Louisville is a dream come true," said Masiello. "Even when I finally got the job offer I was kind of like, ‘what is going to happen – something's going to happen, there's no way this is going to happen.' It's kind of like I'm in a dream right now. It's so exciting for me, and this really is a special place."

A former player and graduate of the University of Kentucky, Masiello sported a U of L logo golf shirt during Wednesday's press conference and made a surprising revelation.

"I actually prefer red and black," he said.

That being the case, Masiello, considered one of the top up and coming coaches in college basketball circles, should be able to help Pitino, and the Cardinals, in two key aspects.

"Obviously coming from New York and having recruited the east coast the past four years, I think I can bring that aspect and help there, especially moving into the Big East," said Masiello. "Also being a little bit younger guy I have the ability to relate to the players."

Now, as the spring and summer recruiting periods begin to heat up, Menzies and Masiello are ready to hit the recruiting trails and take advantage of the Cardinals recent success.

"Recruiting is a lot like what have you done for me lately," Menzies said. "And when you're hot, and right now we are hot, we're going to roll up our sleeves every day and just get after it. That's just what we do."


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