With Midnight Madness coming this week, college basketball is starting to slowly enter the sporting world’s thought process…which means more attention to other programs to balance what Kentucky and Calipari have had to deal with all summer. The latest example is the heat being turned up on the Rick Pitino and Shabaka Lands situation. UK fan Jacob Kiper has done what in the Twitter world is now possible…push a story until the media pays attention. Kiper took a fact that no one was paying attention to, the status of a UL Assistant Coach, and sent the facts to reporters and bloggers until someone would listen…thus creating a story where one had been ignored previously. Shabaka Lands was the Assistant High School coach for Marquis Teague who was then hired by Rick Pitino and Louisville to create a “package deal” that would get Teague to the Cards. However Teague didnt join the deal, instead going to Kentucky and leaving Lands at UL with no dowry to help consumate the new marriage. Pitino then instantly regretted the hire, realized he couldnt just take Shabaka to Cincinnati and now, he is apparently no longer with the program (today confirmed by John Clay) just months after being hired.
When Pitino hired Lands, there was no NCAA rule against “package” hiring (although that is changing). But usually those that made such hires tried to justify them in other ways. Not Rick Pitino however….no instead, he lets Lands go once he cant bring Teague with him, thus proving that he only hired him to try and create a recruiting advantage where none existed. Lands is now no longer with the Cards and the media has begun sniffing in the general direction of the whole thing, with at least one national story likely to come soon. And it all began because Jacob Kiper wouldnt let it die. Kudos to Kiper and more shame in the game for Tricky Ricky. Gotta love it.