• The classiest move at the Final Four in Detroit went without publicity. Princeton athletic director Gary Walters made sure he got tickets for the family of Lorin Mauer and her boyfriend, Kevin Kuwik, Butler's director of basketball operations. Mauer, who worked in the Princeton athletic department as the Athletics Friends group manager, died in the Buffalo plane crash of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 from Newark to Buffalo on Feb. 13.
Kuwik and Mauer's parents were going to go to the games and visit with friends. The NCAA's Greg Shaheen, a vice president in charge of men's basketball, had also made quite a gesture while Mauer was still alive by pursuing a job opportunity for her in Indianapolis to help her get closer to Kuwik.
Kuwik said he, the family and relatives of other passengers who perished were going to pursue lobbying efforts in Washington on plane safety issues. Kuwik, a former assistant coach at Ohio University who also did two tours in Iraq with the Indiana National Guard, has been warmly received during his one year at Butler. Kuwik was understandably trying to get through a rough transition period as he deals with his grief as well as the lull in his duties for Butler. Kuwik isn't recruiting at this point for Butler. But he has found a home with the Bulldogs and they too have embraced him. Kuwik will be a head coach one day. He is diligent, determined and passionate about the game. Nothing will replace the love of his life, but he is clearly trying to find a cause to channel his grief. He is a good man, who deserves only the best.
• Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun passed on his thoughts through a spokesperson Friday that he doesn't believe junior Stanley Robinson will declare for the draft. If Robinson does turn away from the chatter that he would be in the first round then the Huskies should be a top 25 team, with Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson, assuming he's OK after knee surgery, in the backcourt.
• Kentucky coach John Calipari said Friday he fully expects sophomore forward Patrick Patterson to follow junior guard Jodie Meeks and declare for the NBA draft. Calipari said he sees no reason why, under the current structure, college players wouldn't declare and get four or five workouts in to see where they stand before going back to school if they don't sign with an agent. Calipari did say the one danger is that a bad workout won't be forgotten. Teams tend to latch onto the bad workouts in their own gyms. NBA teams can pay for the workouts in May and June. There are no five-on-five games for underclassmen this season (a number of fringe seniors are at the Portsmouth Invitational in Virginia this weekend). The Chicago combine in late May will be some light drills in the morning followed by interviews with teams the rest of the day. It will be interesting to see how many personnel are sent from teams that normally would send their whole scouting staff to Orlando for the pre-draft camp. That won't be necessary with the main part of the combine being interviews.
• Calipari said he has two more workouts next week with the returning Kentucky players and should know then who will or won't be back next season. He's still trying to sort out who wants to play for him and under his dribble-drive-motion offense. Calipari said he's also reviewing the schedule. The Wildcats will honor games against Louisville, Indiana and North Carolina but he still needs to sign off on playing Connecticut in the SEC-Big East Challenge in Madison Square Garden and is looking at the exempted tournament options. Former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie had put Kentucky in an event in Cancun, Mexico. That is also being reviewed.
• Gonzaga coach Mark Few said he would talk to new Memphis coach Josh Pastner about continuing their series that was predicated more on Few and Calipari.
• Davidson coach Bob McKillop said the Wildcats start a new series at Duke and return a BracketBusters game at Butler. But McKillop is on hold about any other scheduling requests until he knows for sure if Stephen Curry is returning for his senior season.
• Calipari said he would put Rod Strickland on the road for Kentucky. He will have a spot open on his staff with Pastner staying at Memphis. Pastner is interviewing candidates, especially experienced, older coaches, for a prime spot on his bench. Florida has a prime assistant gig open now with Shaka Smart left to be the head coach at VCU.
• Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski said he would likely have a decision on the next head coach sometime in the middle of next week. He also said not to read that a time lag would hurt assistant Chris Mack's chances of replacing Sean Miller.
• Tulsa got great news Friday when Jerome Jordan said he would return for his senior season. The Golden Hurricane will likely be the favorite now ahead of Memphis in Conference USA. Jordan has helped Tulsa to consecutive 25-win seasons, averaging 13.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks as a junior.
• Friday's way-too-early Top 25 will get crushed over the next few weeks, especially the back end of it. I'm not too worried about being wrong with the top 10 teams being capable of landing in that range next season. From Nos. 11 to 35 you could put a host of teams in there and not be off. This will be a fluid process over the next six months.