Tag:Lute Olson
Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:12 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 9:38 pm

Lute Olson releases statement on Salinas

By Jeff Goodman

There were some prominent names on the client list for the late David Salinas, none more so than Hall of Famer Lute Olson.

Olson, according to documents obtained by SI.com’s Pablo S. Torre, invested $1.17 million with Salinas -- the founder of the Houston Select program who committed suicide on Sunday.

Olson, who did not wish to comment earlier in the week when reached by CBSSports.com, was the latest to release a statement:

“I’ve known David (Salinas) for a long time and feel horrible for his family. That (his passing) is something that none of his friends could have expected.  Yes, I’ve invested with David, and he’s been a friend for a while, but I did not invest money until after I had retired from coaching.”

Olson’s one connection to the Houston Select program was former player Jawann McClellan, a highly touted wing who never quite lived up to expectations. 

Posted on: July 20, 2011 6:51 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 7:14 pm

Former 'Zona player talks Salinas and recruiting

By Matt Norlander

The faucet continues to drip.

Former five-star Arizona guard Jawann McClellan went on the record with the Arizona Republic, telling the newspaper he was "pretty sure" David Salinas was involved with college hoops coaches for more than just financial investments. 

McClellan is tied into this not just because he played basketball in the Houston area, but also because he was recruited by, and played for, Lute Olson at Arizona. Olson was reported to have lost $1.17 million dollars with Salinas, per a Sports Illustrated story that came out Tuesday.

McClellan did not say he was ever swayed -- nor attempted to be -- to play at Arizona by Salinas, though. It's just his feeling, his speculation that, despite Salinas appearing to be a pretty stand-up guy, he wouldn't put it past coaches to use the type of advantages Salinas could offer in an effort to get another prospect or two.

McClellan shocked some back in 2004 when he opted to leave the state and choose to play for the Wildcats out west.

"Coach Olson was probably one of his biggest clients and (committing to UA) caught a lot of people off guard," McClellan said Tuesday by phone from Houston. "A lot of people thought I was going to Texas, but I was confident in my decision."

McClellan said he chose the Wildcats primarily because of Olson and then-Arizona assistant coach Josh Pastner, though he also considered Kentucky before committing to UA in the summer of 2002.

We still truly haven't seen a smoking gun -- yet. Maybe we won't. But now we've got a few men on the record who have spoken about the dangerous, less than transparent behavior from Salinas. The Daily's Dan Wolken got a pretty significant quote out of former Houston coach Tom Penders, who basically said he didn't feel comfortable dealing with Salinas due to the man's ties with AAU basketball.

Everyone's standing in the room, shifting their eyes and jingling change in their pockets. Who will talk first? Is there something big out there still in hiding?

When pressed about Salinas' involvement in choosing Arizona, McClellan said this to the Arizona Republic:

McClellan said Salinas was only involved in his decision to attend UA because he was a friend of former UA assistant and former Rice head coach Scott Thompson, who saw McClellan play travel-ball events for Salinas' Houston Select team.

Whether anyone else managed to curry favor with Salinas, McClellan declined to say.

"I'm pretty sure Coach did run one of top two programs in the city, and I'm pretty sure he had players loaded up so you'd think coaches tried to get a relationship with him," McClellan said. "But whether Salinas went for that is neither here nor there."

Plenty of reporters are now on the hunt for former coaches and players who dealt with Salinas. The leaky plumbing probably isn't going to be patched up any time soon. On the heels of our initial report Sunday night, we've now seen three straight days of new, informative reporting on the subject. This slow-boil of a story could take weeks before we can see the breadth of its reach and those who were or were not in the wrong.

Photo: AP

Posted on: January 17, 2011 2:03 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2011 2:04 pm

Is Lute Olson correct in calling out Calipari?

Posted by MATT JONES

In an interview with FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman, former Arizona Coach Lute Olson called John Calipari "very unprofessional" for his decision to take kids who had originally committed to Memphis with him to his new job at Kentucky. According to Olson, people should not be critical of current Memphis coach (and former Olson player) Josh Pastner, until he is able to get the type of kids to Memphis that fit into his system. The shot at Calipari likely implied that Olson believes the decision to take the Memphis recruits made Pastner's job more difficult and was somehow a slap in the face to the UK coach's former assistant.

The view expressed by Olson is not one that he alone shares. Calipari, and other coaches, have often been criticized for trying to get players that originally commited to the coach's former employer, to follow them to their new employer instead. The old-school view on the subject is simple. Players commit to the University, not to the coach, and when that decision is made, it is sacred. This is the view held by the NCAA as well, as showcased by its unbelievably unfair "Letter of Intent" system that binds players to programs, but not coaches, often leaving them begging for mercy from Universities long after a coach has gone on to greener pastures.

However such an approach is exactly the opposite of the player-centric view that should dominate college athletics. Beyond all other considerations, shouldn't the number one priority be that a kid have the ability to attend the college of his choice? The reality is that the vast majority of college basketball players attend a college primarily because of the coaches that oversee the basketball program, not the beauty of the University or its academic tradition. For an athlete who is majoring in basketball (which let's face it, every top college basketball player is doing), the most important factor is who his mentor will be. When that mentor changes, the kid should have the ability to change with it.

Olson can kid himself with the view that John Wall, Demarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe were considering Memphis due to its status as a fine institution and the long tradition of Memphis basketball history. But we all know that is complete bologna. Those players were going to Memphis because of John Calipari and little else. When Calipari left, those kids should have the right to go with him. Regardless of what Olson and the old-timers believe, Memphis and other schools shouldn't be able to "own" those players and control their futures, simply because it makes the new coach's job more difficult.

John Calipari taking the former Memphis recruits with him to Kentucky did make Josh Pastner's job tougher, but it allowed the individual players to go to the school of their choice. That may bother Lute Olson, but making things easier for millionaire coaches isn't, or at least it shouldn't be, what college athletics is about.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com