Pitino Fills His “Greatest Staff” Ever

Posted: April 28, 2011 by Bacon in Louisville Basketball, Outside the Ville
Tags: , , ,

It has been a busy couple weeks for coach Pitino. He decided to back out of his previous commitment to coach the Puerto Rico national team in an Olympic qualifying event and then finally filled the three empty seats on the bench next to him.

It started on Tuesday when Pitino announced the return of his son Richard Pitino after a two-year hiatus to Florida. Also added on Tuesday was New Mexico assistant Wyking Jones. Today Pitino filled that final spot with Hargrave Military High School head coach Kevin Keatts.

Before Louisville fans start whining and moaning about the hires cause you may not know these names don’t jump off that bridge and blow up the radio shows just yet. First get to know these new faces, and return of an old one to Louisville.

Wyking Jones –

Played basketball at Loyola Marymount in the 90s so you know he is familiar with the up and down offense that coach Pitino want to run. With a little more defense I hope though ten they like to run at LMU. Jones has the Nike ties that Louisville may have lost with the departure of Tim Fuller to Missouri. Before his two-year stint as an assistant under Steve Alford at New Mexico, Wyking (pronounced WHY-king) spent two years as a basketball travel team manager with Nike Elite Youth Basketball. Managing all 45 travel teams and the tournaments that Nike sponsored in its grassroots youth program while he built key relationships across the nation.

“I’m very excited to be joining the Louisville family,” said Jones. “I’ve been a fan of Coach Pitino for as long as I can remember. I’ve always admired him as a coach and after spending time with him, admire him as a great person. I’m very much looking forward to joining his staff.”

Before his Nike run Jones was an assistant at Pepperdine between 2002-2006 under former NBA head coach Paul Westphal.

 “Wyking has the experience necessary to help us recruit top-notch student-athletes from all 50 states,” said U of L Head Coach Rick Pitino. “He is highly regarded in all circles as a tireless worker and an outstanding communicator with young people. I had asked Richard to provide me the top five assistant coaching candidates in the country and I would interview them. Immediately he had Wyking at the top of the list.

Kevin Keatts –

Keatts has spent the last 8 years as the head coach at Hargrave Military Academy, where he won  two national prep championships and was runner-up on three occasions. In Keets 10 years overall as a high school head coach he has produced 103 players who signed NCAA Division I men’s basketball scholarships.

” I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with Coach Pitino and the entire Louisville Family,” said Keatts. “Coach Pitino is a great leader, teacher, motivator and Hall of Fame coach. I am excited about coaching in the BIG EAST and look forward to getting started.”

Keatts has coached five current NBA players at the prep level including Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford and forward Josh Howard, Philadelphia 76ers forward Marreese Speights, Memphis Grizzlies guard/forward Sam Young and New Orleans Hornets forward David West.

This is not Keatts first collegiate job though. He was an assistant at Marshall University for two years from 2001-03 under head coach Greg White. Recently Keatts was an assistant at the 2011 Derby Classic, where his Gold team was the winner.

“We’re really excited to add Kevin to our staff,” said Pitino. “He rounds out three outstanding individuals who all bring something different to the table to create a terrific recruiting team, as well being a group that excels in coaching and scouting. Kevin has been a tireless recruiter at Hargrave, where it’s not easy for everyone to get up at six a.m. to march. He’s done an outstanding job of building his prep teams for many years and also has experience as a collegiate assistant. This is one of the best recruiting staffs I have ever assembled.”

Richard Pitino –

Rick’s son return to Louisville is a big boost to recruiting. He was a big component in the recruitment of Marques Teague, who after Richard left for Florida changed his mind and decided on going to Kentucky instead.

“Richard has worked tirelessly since the time he was a college student,” said Rick Pitino. “He fills a much needed void left by Steve Masiello, who handled chief scouting duties and game preparation for our team. Richard will have a lot on his plate as we indoctrinate a new staff into all aspects of Cardinal Basketball. We’re excited to have him return to our staff, as he helped us reach two Elite Eights and two BIG EAST Championships.”

Richard spent 2007-2009 under his father here at Louisville. Helping bring in several top recruits before heading to Gainsville, Florida for the last two seasons.

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