A former Wildcat has been given the reins to one of the NBA’s most storied franchises.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports Frank Vogel will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Vogel will have three years to whip LeBron James and the sorry Lakers into shape; no small task.
Before Vogel coached the Pacers to multiple division titles, before he manned the ship for the Eastern Conference All-Stars in 2014 and before he coached the Orlando Magic, Vogel was a student manager for Rick Pitino at the University of Kentucky. That wasn’t all he did at UK.
For one season in 1996, Pitino resurrected the junior varsity squad. Playing alongside the likes of Oliver Simmons, Cameron Mills and Nazr Mohammed, Vogel started in five of 13 games. He knocked down 45% of his shots to average 6.5 points per game. While playing JV basketball, he also scouted opponents and cut film for the coaches.
Last year Vogel described his UK experience as: “The busiest year of my life still to this day,” he told The Orlando-Sentinel. “I’m lucky I survived.
“What came of it was a reputation for hard work, for handling anything, for being a round-the-clock basketball guy. Everybody around there just recognized how hard I was working to make this happen and to chase my dream and to contribute.”
That work ethic helped transform Vogel into the man tasked to propel LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA Championship. Many have tried, few have succeeded. The good news is that at least one other former Wildcat has already done just that with LeBron and the Lakers, Pat Riley.