Pat Forde

  • Rick Pitino says he was 'blindsided' by Chris Jones' arrest on rape charges

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rick Pitino loves talking about Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng, Luke Hancock and Russ Smith. With good reason. They were great college players who formed the nucleus of Louisville's 2013 national championship team.

    Often he will drop the names of Francisco Garcia, Taquan Dean and Larry O'Bannon. They led the Cardinals to the 2005 Final Four.

    Pitino has coached a lot of fine players at Louisville who have gone on to be fine men. Not just basketball winners, but winners in other facets of life.

    But the former player Pitino talked about Thursday afternoon is in jeopardy of losing everything – his freedom, his reputation, his future earning potential, quite possibly his entire basketball career. Chris Jones, abruptly dismissed from the team Sunday, was charged Thursday morning with rape and sodomy of two women stemming from an incident that took place Saturday night. What he lost is one thing; what he may have taken from two victims is all the more serious.

    "Shocked."

    "Saddened."

    "Blindsided."

  • When it comes to college athletics, it sure seems cheating pays

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    At Big 12 media days last July, commissioner Bob Bowlsby sent a ripple through college sports by declaring that “cheating pays.” He said the NCAA’s enforcement model was “broken” and that the risk of significant punishment didn’t outweigh the reward of winning.

    “They’re in a battle with a BB gun in their hand,” Bowlsby said. “They’re fighting howitzers."

    This set off a spasm of reaction and rebuttal, including NCAA president Mark Emmert and director of enforcement Jon Duncan defending the association’s ability to police itself.

    As we head into March Madness, you can expect the usual round of assessments of the college sports landscape and its ethical land mines. There will be cheerleaders who declare all is well, and there will be those who sail in after not paying attention at all to declare the place a disaster area. The truth is somewhere in the middle – but what’s transpired since Bowlsby’s startling July declaration gives credence to what he said. A Top 10 List of recent developments:

    Again, that’s the list since last July.

    More college basketball coverage from Yahoo Sports:

  • Forde Minutes: Coaching chaos, bubble watch and the battle for No. 1 seeds

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball (where freshman ineligibility is the clubhouse leader for Dumbest College Sports Idea of 2015):

    IT’S LATE FEBRUARY; DO YOU HATE YOUR TEAM YET?

    Later Sunday, Nebraska coach Tim Miles (3) threw his team out of its own plush locker room for the foreseeable future, after the disappointing Cornhuskers laid down in a 28-point home loss against Iowa. Miles said the locker room will be padlocked from the outside and players will have to dress and shower elsewhere.

    “We gave up,” Miles said.

    All of which is fairly tame compared to what is happening at tailspinning Seton Hall (6).

    Welcome to the dog days of late February, often a time of simmering strife in college hoops. The excitement of March isn’t here yet, but the same nagging annoyances are. Roster turmoil abounds.

    Because they’re all in it together, right?

    OVERCOMING MISSING PERSONNEL

    SEVEN TEAMS, FOUR SPOTS

    THE SWEATIN’ SIXTEEN

    Bubble teams of particular intrigue going down the stretch:

    BEST MID-MAJOR CONFERENCE RACES

  • Louisville left in tough spot after dismissing third-leading scorer Chris Jones

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    A dramatic week ended badly for Louisville point guard Chris Jones.

    The senior went from suspended for the Cardinals’ game at Syracuse on Wednesday to starring Saturday against Miami to dismissed from the team Sunday, the school announced.

    Coach Rick Pitino declined comment to Yahoo Sports on why Jones was dismissed, saying only, “He’s finished.” It’s unclear what happened before this latest disciplinary action against the senior point guard.

    Less than 24 hours earlier, Jones had played extremely well in helping Louisville rally to beat Miami, 55-53. Jones had 17 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals against the Hurricanes.

    “Is it fun to coach him?” Pitino said Saturday afternoon. “Not like [former guard] Russ Smith – there’s not a lot of laughter coaching him. [But] you appreciate how hard he works, so you give him some latitude when things don’t go well. …Chris works hard at his game, all the time. That’s why I appreciate him.”

    Louisville plays at Georgia Tech on Monday.

  • UK's path to perfection driven by John Calipari's relentless attitude

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – At the 9:17 mark of the first half Saturday night, Kentucky led Auburn by the hide-the-women-and-children score of 30-4.

    Karl-Anthony Towns, your thoughts at that point?

    "How did they get four?" the freshman big man said.

    This is the Kentucky mindset, as it flows from coach John Calipari through his outrageously talented and deep roster. In the quest for a perfect season, try to play a perfect game. In the quest for a perfect game, try to have a perfect start. In the quest for a perfect start, begrudge outmanned Auburn its measly four points.

    This is why Calipari screams at his players for lapses, even during blowouts. This is why he lingers on the court at halftime to yell at an official, even when his team is up 26. This is why he says his team "did good" in demolishing Auburn 110-75, but still can scan the stat sheet and drill down on a few shortcomings.

    He's coaching for elimination time, with the knowledge that Kentucky's toughest competition between now and then is on the practice floor every day.

  • How to revive New York area’s struggling college hoops scene

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    This is the kind of week that rekindles the seemingly eternal discussion of what is wrong with college basketball in the New York City area.

    On Tuesday night, bubble team St. John’s was routed in a very important game against Georgetown. At the same time, unraveling Seton Hall watched guard Sterling Gibbs shockingly club Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono in the face during the Pirates’ fifth straight loss. Thursday night, Rutgers is widely expected to absorb its 10th straight loss, at home against Iowa.

    Times are hard. Have been for a while. Last time one of those three programs made the NCAA tournament was 2011. Last time one of them won an NCAA tournament game was 2004.

    In one of the game’s most celebrated locales, that’s embarrassing. I talked to several people this week who are familiar with the New York college hoops scene, and one word kept coming up: “sad.”

    But instead of traveling down the well-worn laundry list of what’s gone wrong, it’s time to ask: Who can make it right?

    The current coaches do not seem like strong candidates to lead the long-awaited revival.

    Vaccaro said current ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla was the last New York-area, major-college coach who checked all the boxes.

  • Forde Minutes: Is UK the Florida State of college basketball?

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball (scorpion venom serum sold separately in Corvallis):

    IS KENTUCKY THE FLORIDA STATE OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL?

    The Minutes was on “The Tony Kornheiser Show (1)” Monday, also known as the Best Radio Show Extant. On said show, Mr. Tony suggested that perhaps Kentucky (2) is the Florida State of college basketball, comparing the Wildcats to the college football Seminoles.

    Kornheiser’s question is whether Kentucky is undefeated largely because of middling conference competition, not due to sheer dominance. That was Florida State, which slithered through the soft Atlantic Coast Conference 13-0 and then was exposed by Oregon when the competition grew tougher in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Could there be a similar unpleasant surprise awaiting these Wildcats when they get outside the Southeastern Conference?

    But they may all be more seasoned and tourney-tough one month from now, after playing in more difficult conferences.

    HALL OF FAME – RETIRE FIRST, THEN INDUCTION

    RUNNING THE LEAGUE TABLE

  • Darrun Hilliard's game-winner shows 'Nova is legit, but questions remain

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    INDIANAPOLIS – The sound in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse was something between a collective groan and a gasp when Villanova’s Darrun Hilliard wound up all alone with the ball behind the 3-point arc in the dying seconds Saturday night.

    How in the name of Bobby Plump did he get wide open?

    Hilliard already had scored a career-high 28 points, already had hit seven 3-pointers. And now he was rising up for an uncontested 3 against a Butler team that works doggedly to prevent giving anyone an uncontested anything – shot, pass, moment to think. Hilliard was free because fellow guard Ryan Arcidiacono dragged two defenders with him to the top of the key – even though he hadn’t scored a point all night.

    Arcidiacono would take the bagel for the first time in his three-year Villanova career if he gave up the ball at that moment, but it didn’t matter.

    “That’s the beauty of Arch,” Hilliard said.

    Hilliard scoring 31 and Arcidiacono scoring zero is the beauty of Villanova. Three nights earlier at Providence, Arch had 20. Jay Wright’s veteran unit truly is an Any Given Night team: six guys average between 9.1 and 13.4 points per game; five of them are juniors or seniors; zero are freshmen.

     

  • Forde Minutes: Dean Smith and the college basketball coaching Mount Rushmore

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball (protective eye gear sold separately if Iowa is on the schedule):

    THE CALMEST COACH

    The accompanying picture of North Carolina freshman Michael Jordan (1) rising for the game-winning shot with 17 seconds left in the 1982 national championship game is a familiar one to basketball fans. It was Jordan's first introduction to the world at large as a blossoming star, the unofficial launch of a global icon. But the part of this famous picture that has always struck The Minutes as most remarkable is the Tar Heels coaching staff.

    The coaches are all just sitting there. Elbows on thighs, hands clasped, faces impassive –as if they were on a commuter train and not the sideline of the Superdome in one of the transformative moments of their careers.

    "You guys are sitting there like you're watching a pick-up game," former Tar Heel Mike O'Koren once told one of the assistants in the picture, Roy Williams (2).

    That is a secure coach. And a great coach.

    WHO IS NO. 2?

    SEC (23)

  • Dean Smith remembered for his influence on others away from court

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    David Chadwick played basketball for Dean Smith at North Carolina from 1967-71. That was a long time ago, and he was not a star player. But when Chadwick asked the great coach for a favor three decades after his playing days were over, Smith granted it immediately.

    Chadwick's son, David Jr., a promising young basketball player, had suffered a major knee injury. He was discouraged. David Sr. left a message for Smith, asking if he could call and offer a word of encouragement to his son.

    The next day on the answering machine, there was the unmistakable, nasally voice of the legend.

    David Jr. called Smith back, and they talked for 15 minutes. After the conversation, David Sr. asked his son what the conversation was like. He said Smith's first words were, "How are your grades?"

    "That," David Sr. told me last summer, "is a Dean Smith classic. He was more concerned with him as a student than as an athlete. He was more concerned with all of us as people than as players.

    When you make a record 23 straight NCAA tournament appearances, a record 13 straight Sweet 16s, 11 Final Fours and win two national titles, it works.