CHICAGO -- Elliott Pitts graduated from De La Salle High School with only about 170 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame and even his high school coach wondered if he was ready to play for the Arizona Wildcats.
“There was a chance he would redshirt and I thought that would be a good option for him,” said Frank Allocco, the De La Salle coach who is also serving as the McDonald’s All-American West team coach. “But he wanted to compete. He wanted to stick in there and do what he needed to do.”
Pitts quickly gained 20 pounds at UA but Allocco said Pitts suffered a bout of mono before the season – getting sick the day UA ran its preseason mile run – and also suffered a wrist injury that made things even more difficult. (UA did not disclose either of those ailments).
Pitts sat out for 14 games but wound up averaging 8.4 minutes over 24 games while playing a greatly increased role after the Wildcats lost at ASU on Feb. 14, still struggling then to adjust without Brandon Ashley.
“He played limited minutes but hustled and wasn’t afraid to shoot,” Allocco said. “I couldn’t have been prouder. … Elliott’s always been very good. There were people surprised Arizona signed him but he’s a very talented player. I think he could have played in this (McDonald’s) game.”
UA associate head coach Joe Pasternack may be in the mix for the Cal job, though the Bears are reportedly interviewing current assistant Travis DeCuire, who has received the endorsement of the retiring Mike Montgomery.
Pasternack, once an assistant under Ben Braun at Cal, has been a well-regarded recruiter for the Wildcats, with strong connections in California and in his native Louisiana. Pasternack did a lot of the legwork in recruiting Stanley Johnson to Arizona, and has a good relationship with Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight.
The Cal job could be a tough one.
Rivals' Eric Bossi said Stanley Johnson has been shooting well during McDonald's practices this week.
FWIW, just though this was kind of interesting when McKnight told me this: Allocco was a backup quarterback at Notre Dame for a guy named Joe Montana.
Top line from Ernie Kent at his introductory press conference today at WSU came when he was asked the obligatory question about how he will manage to attract recruits to Pullman.
Kent said there was plenty of things to sell at WSU and noted that Oregon had its issues when he took over as the Ducks' coach.
"We kept the mice alive to eat the maggots in the locker room," he said.
Matt Carlino, once a major target of Lute Olson's out of Gilbert, is on the move again. Having committed to Indiana out of high school, playing at UCLA, then BYU, he is now seeking to be a graduate transfer.
A former agent says he paid $55,800 to former UCLA player Tyler Honeycutt but didn't sign the player.