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Coach Cal fills gaps smartly


May 16, 2008

• Memphis has been hit hard this off-season with defections to the NBA and losses from the coaching staff. Assistant Derek Kellogg took the head coaching position at Massachusetts and Chuck Martin was hired at Marist. Now John Calipari has made a great move, bringing in Josh Pastner to helps fill one of the holes on his staff. Pastner was a valuable member of Arizona's staff after playing for the Wildcats. I have felt for a long time that Pastner had a bright future in coaching.

• With 69 players from U.S. colleges entering the NBA draft early, you knew that some kids would pull their names out. The first to opt for a return to college was Missouri's Leo Lyons. The 6-9 Lyons should improve under coach Mike Anderson. Look for plenty of others to pull out of the draft, though that deadline is not until June 16. It is a joke that players have that long to make a decision because it is unfair to the college coaches. But I'll have more on that next week.

• Tennessee added a player of note when juco transfer Bobby Maze decided to go to Knoxville. You may remember Maze began his college career at Oklahoma before transferring to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. He averaged 20 ppg and seven apg last season at Hutchinson.

• Iowa suffered a loss when guard Tony Freeman recently opted to transfer. He missed Iowa's first 10 games last season after suffering a stress fracture in a pre-season exhibition game. In 22 contests last season, Freeman averaged 13.8 points and 3.1 rebounds.

• Florida State added a big-name guard when juco star Derwin Kitchen decided he'll attend the Tallahassee-based school. Kitchen, who was a high school star in Jacksonville, showed versatility at Iowa Western Community College last season.

• North Carolina has a lot of depth up front, but Roy Williams had to be sorry to hear that Mike Copeland suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during an offseason pick-up game. Copeland is expected to miss the start of his senior campaign due to the injury.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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