Youth Could be the Ticket to Great Players for Gophers
The University of Minnesota has a 30-year-old coach. He's had one head coaching job so far and that was at Florida International University in Miami. The school isn't known as a powerhouse of basketball.
"Florida International was the only thing then Minnesota came up," Pitino said.
So is Pitino's age a plus or a minus when it comes to recruiting and turning the Gophers men's basketball team around?
"A young coach like Pitino coming in, naturally he's going to have the fire coming in, and desire and energy coming in to get out there."
Rene Pulley is synonymous with basketball in Minnesota. A blacktop legend in his own right who runs what is considered to be the #1 AAU team in the state.
"He's got his fathers name, his father is a great coach but he still has to earn his own stripes," Pulley said.
Pulley says Minnesota has three players who are ranked in the top 30 in the nation for their position: point guard Tyus Jones of Apple Valley, shooting guard Rashad Vaughn of Robbinsdale Cooper and forward Reid Travis of De La Salle. All have opportunities to play in big time programs. Pulley says Pitino's first order of business should be trying to keep these kids here.
"I'd go after them hard and you give them a try even if you don't think you can get them. But also keep your eye on the post across the country and make sure you bring in other fine players," Pitino said.