Pitino announces transfer; staff additions

Rick Pitino announced the additions of Tim Fuller and Mark Lieberman to his coaching staff Monday. Pitino also announced the addition of Roburt Sallie, a transfer from Memphis, and updated the status of top recruit Justin Coleman and Louisville senior guard Preston Knowles.

Rick Pitino announced the additions of Tim Fuller and Mark Lieberman to his coaching staff Monday afternoon.

Fuller, a former Nike NBA player representative who also worked at Wake Forest and Fairfield, replaces Walter McCarty, who accepted a position with the Indiana Pacers, on Pitino's bench. Pitino said he hired Fuller, 32, because of his "recruiting potential."

Tim Fuller
"Walter McCarty sort of caught me off-guard with this because I felt he was just coming into his own in the college basketball world," Pitino said. "So I went a different route, like I did with Reggie Theus. I started talking to a lot of people in the business and I got three phone calls on Tim's behalf. All three recommendations were off the charts."

Pitino, who also considered Ole Miss assistant Torrey Ward and Drake assistant Kareem Richardson, chose Fuller for recruiting purposes.

"I went with Tim solely because of his potential as a recruiter," Pitino said. "That's the name of our game, recruiting the best possible basketball players. He has great connections in the recruiting world. His job at Nike was to search out and sign certain athletes. He's had experience at the collegiate level, and he's been around a lot of great athletes."

Lieberman, the former head coach at Miami's Monsignor Pace High, coached Louisville sophomore Rakeem Buckles in high school. Lieberman impressed Pitino with his coaching ability while he was recruiting Buckles and he'll initially serve as Pitino's director of basketball operations, replacing Eric Scott. Scott moved into an administrative role under Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich.

"He's won three state championships," Pitino said. "Mark ran the best high school practice I've seen in the last 20 years."

Lieberman appears the eventual replacement for Louisville assistant Steve Masiello, whom Pitino expects to become a head coach in the near future.

"The reason Mark is so crucial for us is that I expect Steve Masiello to be a head coach and I need Mark to watch every little thing so I don't have to start this process all over again. Mark's hiring is key to have somebody to take Masiello's place."


Rick Pitino also announced the addition of Roburt Sallie, a 6'5, 196-pound transfer from Memphis.

"He fulfills so many needs for us," Pitino said. "We thought we lacked consistent scoring at the wing position. There are a lot of unknowns about where the points are going to come from this season and Roburt intrigued us because of his experience starting for the University of Memphis.

"He's a great perimeter scorer, a terrific passer and he's a lockdown defensive player. He has good size and because of the recruiting class we have coming in the following year we need just a one year basketball player that would not hurt the mix the following year. He fills a tremendous void for us."

Sallie, who was also considering Indiana and Oregon, visited Louisville last week.

"He was going to visit some other schools but he came in and immediately committed to us," Pitino said. "It's very exciting because we wanted someone who wanted us as much as we wanted him. We're excited to have him in our program because he's going to be a very mature person on a very young basketball team."

If Sallie graduates from Memphis this August, Louisville can apply to the NCAA for a waiver that would allow him to play this season without sitting out a year of residency.

"He has to fulfill his academic requirements, which we fully expect him to do," Pitino said.


Rick Pitino updated the status of Justin Coleman, Louisville highest-rated 2010 recruit. Coleman is working this summer to qualify academically to play this season, something Pitino cast doubt on during his press conference.

"He's got a tough row to hoe. He's got a really tough road, difficult road [to qualify]," Pitino said. "That's why Roburt Sallie was so crucial to us. Someone who has played against the highest competition is better than the unknown."

"There could be an outside shot [Coleman becomes eligible], but it's not looking great," Pitino added.


Senior guard Preston Knowles has work to do this summer to return to Rick Pitino's good graces.

"Right now he's in my doghouse," Pitino said. "He's not in my good graces. He has to do certain things to get back on this basketball team and prove he's worthy enough to be a Cardinal. He's going to miss a little bit of time. He's going to miss practice early on until he proves himself as a student, a player and a person."

Pitino said that Knowles status remains in limbo.

"I haven't decided what to do or not to do," said Pitino. "I'm not real pleased with him at this moment. I haven't officially done anything. I want to see the results of his summer grades and the results of how he's acting. As of right now, he's not in good graces with our basketball team."

Pitino made clear that Knowles is not off the basketball team and his standing has nothing to do with the incident involving the altercation with his girlfriends father this spring.


Pitino said he's excited about rebranding the Louisville basketball program. "We're going to play like the old Loyola-Maryamount teams, but we're going to play defense." Pitino said that Louisville would run at every opportunity and said his team would try to "take people out of what they do best" with defensive pressure, including more emphasis on playing man to man halfcourt defense.

Pitino said that Fuller and Lieberman will bring "fresh ideas" to the Louisville basketball program. Pitino also said that Fuller would be able to get Louisville in with a few rising juniors.

Pitino also alluded to his 2011 recruiting class a few times, promising "we're going to come in with a banner recruiting class." Pitino currently holds three commitments from Wayne Blackshear, Zach Price and Ryan Taylor – all Top 100 prospects.

Pitino announced that David Padgett has joined the program as assistant strength coach.

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