Louisville didn’t take long to make its first offseason move, parting ways interim men’s basketball coach David Padgett less than 24 hours after the Cardinals season ended.
The former Cardinals player was brought in to bring calm amid turmoil and upheaval after the school placed coach Rick Pitino on unpaid administrative leave following its acknowledgment that it was being investigated in a federal corruption probe of college basketball .
Padgett did his job.
He went 22-14 after being elevated from second-year Louisville assistant last fall.
“It was just a learning experience,” Padgett said Wednesday at a news conference on campus. “I didn’t give myself expectations, I didn’t give my team expectations. But having never done something before, you’re always going to say, how am I going to do, doing it for the first time. All things considered, I think it went really, really well.”
School officials say they appreciate the job he did, but obviously it wasn’t good enough.
Interim athletic director Vince Tyra thanked Padgett in a statement for taking over the program “during incredible circumstances,” and added, “We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”
Tyra didn’t elaborate on candidates to replace Padgett, but later said that Louisville would seek a top-level coach.
“It is an elite program, it’s going to remain an elite program and our opportunity right now is to hire an elite coach to maintain that,” Tyra said.
Pitino was fired in October after 16 seasons. Players had pushed for the former Cardinals player to be the interim replacement, and the 33-year-old Padgett guided the team to a quarterfinal appearance in the NIT.
Padgett thanked many people including his wife, Megan. He also praised Cardinals players for dealing with a series of incidents, from the initial investigation and Pitino’s firing to the removal of the program’s 2013 NCAA championship banner as part of sanctions for an escort scandal.
“The way they’ve handled this, the way they’ve made this fun for me is something I’ll always remember and will always treasure,” Padgett said. “It’s a group of 14 players that I'll have a special place in my heart for a long time.”
Ayton turning pro
Arizona freshman big man Deandre Ayton is leaving early for the NBA after one dominating season.
Ayton made the announcement on his Twitter feed.
The 7-foot-1, 260-pound Ayton was named the Pac-12 player of the year in 2017-18 after averaging 20.1 points on 61% shooting and 11.6 rebounds per game.
The Bahamian big man has the size of a center, but the athleticism of a small forward.
He has excellent footwork, a good midrange jump shot and passes well out of double teams, traits that have him projected to be a lottery pick in the NBA draft, possibly the No. 1 overall pick.
Also Wednesday, Arizona coach Sean Miller said in a statement that he isn’t a candidate for the coaching vacancy created when the Panthers fired Kevin Stallings after two seasons earlier this month.
Miller, who grew up in western Pennsylvania and played point guard for the Panthers from 1987-92, wished his alma mater luck in its search.
Pitt interviewed former Indiana coach Tom Crean and former Ohio State coach Thad Matta last week. Crean ended up taking the coaching job at Georgia. Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley is also considered a target for Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke.
The Panthers are coming off a miserable season. They went 8-24 and finished winless in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Big East has recommended replacing one-and-done with a two-or-none policy in college basketball, along with NCAA regulation of agents and the creation of an elite player unit to focus on “players with realistic aspirations of playing in the NBA.”
The Big East’s recommendations come a week after a similar report by the Pac-12 for the NCAA’s commission on college basketball, led by former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. The commission was created in response to a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.
The Big East’s plan calls for the elimination of the NBA’s one-and-done rule, which prohibits its teams from drafting players until they are at least 19 or a year removed from high school.
Two-or-none would be an NCAA policy requiring basketball players who decide to go to college to commit for at least two seasons. Meanwhile, high school players who declare for the NBA draft would forfeit future college eligibility.
Similar to the Pac-12, the Big East recommended the NCAA and USA Basketball take a larger role in what it calls non-scholastic basketball, the summer camps and AAU teams and leagues that have no affiliation with high schools but often involve shoe and apparel companies.
Freshman Taveion Hollingsworth matched his career high with 30 points and Western Kentucky advanced to the final four of the NIT for the first time since 1948 with a 92-84 victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. ... .