Richard Pitino will be earning $400,000 more per season, as the Gophers have given him a pay increase.
It was reported in March that Pitino had seriously considered taking the Alabama head coaching position, and apparently athletic director Norwood Teague recognized Pitino’s worth to the university and had fears about him leaving, because the university decided Pitino deserved the bonus a season earlier than scheduled.
When Pitino signed in 2013 he was given a six-year deal with an annual salary of $1.2 million with a base salary of $500,000 — which would increase by at least 5 percent per season — and supplemental compensation of $700,000 for media, fundraising, community involvement, endorsements and apparel, shoes and equipment arrangements.
Pitino will still rank toward the bottom of the Big Ten in terms of men’s basketball coaching salaries, but the 32-year-old should surpass John Groce at Illinois, Tim Miles at Nebraska and Iowa’s Fran McCaffery in yearly salary.
One of the things Pitino really showed this offseason was his ability to bring in talented players in quick order. He signed Jarvis Johnson out of De La Salle, Kevin Dorsey out of Clinton Christian in Maryland, Dupree McBrayer out of Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, Jordan Murphy of San Antonio’s William J. Brennan High School and Ahmad Gilbert out of Constitution High School in Philadelphia.
That’s a great collection of athletic wings and guards who should be able to help immediately with Pitino’s pressure style of defense and fast-break offense.
There’s no question Teague knows Pitino is going to continue to be an in-demand name when jobs open up, and that eventually the Gophers are going to have to give him a larger contract if he shows he can recruit and win as a young head coach.
The $400,000 raise might be only a start, but it will keep Pitino coaching here this season.
Twins choose well
Gophers baseball coach John Anderson believes the Twins selected another Glen Perkins when they drafted Illinois pitcher Tyler Jay in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft.
“Outstanding,” said Anderson about the junior lefthanded pitcher, who only faced the Gophers once, that coming in his freshman season when he pitched a perfect inning on nine pitches with one strikeout against Minnesota. Still, Anderson knows a lot about Jay, who pitched in 13 Big Ten games during his senior season, and posted a 1.08 ERA with 76 strikeouts and only seven walks in 66⅔ innings overall.
“Jay has great makeup and composure and was one of the top relief pitchers in the Big Ten,” Anderson said. “He has a 95 miles-per-hour fastball, a good slider and a quick arm. Jay will move up to the major leagues in a hurry.”
Anderson also had good news about a batting cage being built in the near future on Siebert Field now that $500,000 has been contributed by Perkins and another half-million by Dick McCullough, a Gophers shortstop on the 1964 NCAA championship team.
$1M hoops tourney
This summer will mark the second edition of an event called “The Basketball Tournament,” an open-enrollment, single-elimination 5-on-5 tournament where this year the winning team takes $1 million. There are 97 teams split up into four regions, and anyone 18 and up who isn’t an amateur can play.
The most notable team for fans of Minnesota high school basketball is the Bad Boys, which has former University of Wisconsin players Mike Bruesewitz (Henry Sibley), Jordan Taylor (Benilde-St. Margaret’s) and Kammron Taylor (Minneapolis North) as well as Anthony Tucker (Minnetonka) and Royce White (Hopkins). They will play in the Chicago regional.
Other players in the Chicago bracket include former St. Bernard’s guard Jordair Jett, former Gophers guard Devron Bostick and former Timberwolves center Paul Grant. The West bracket includes a team coached by former Wolves guard James Robinson that includes fellow former Wolves guard Marcus Banks. Early-round games will be held in July, with the championship Aug. 2 in New York.
• Terrin Vavra, son of Twins bench coach Joe Vavra, has signed a tender to play for the Gophers next season. Vavra, who hails from Menomonie, Wis., was the Big Rivers Conference Player of the Year as a righthanded pitcher and shortstop. His brothers Trey and Tanner are playing in the Twins’ minor league system. … The Gophers also signed Riley Smith out of Broken Arrow, Okla. Smith hit .330 with a .454 on-base percentage and 13 stolen bases this season.
• Three Gophers baseball players were drafted but none of them plan to sign. Those drafted include Ben Meyer (New Brighton), Lance Thonvold (Eden Prairie) and Dalton Sawyer (Waconia). Thonvold, a righthanded pitcher, was selected in the 24th round by the Seattle Mariners; Sawyer, another righthander, was selected in the 27th round by the Twins; and Meyer, the Gophers pitcher of the year, was selected in the 29th round by the Marlins.
• Minnesota high school players Gary Trent Jr. and Trey Jones are playing with team USA’s under-16 squad in the FIBA America’s Championship in Argentina and both played well in their first game, a 105-54 victory over Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Trent Jr. had 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds and two steals. Jones had four points on 1-for-3 shooting to go with five rebounds and a team-high four assists.
• Ricky Rubio was at the Adidas Eurocamp in Italy and talked to DraftExpress about his feelings when the Wolves got the No. 1 pick in this month’s NBA draft. “Well, I’m excited,” Rubio said. “We had a lot of chances to get that No. 1, we got it and it’s just a matter of time to get the No. 1 [drafted] and build from there. We have a lot of things going on. We got the last two No. 1’s — it’s a great base to build on. We just have to keep growing.”
Rubio said his primary goal in the offseason is to maintain his health and be ready for the start of the season following minor surgery on his ankle.
• NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA President Laurel Richie will be among those in Minneapolis next Wednesday to help unveil the new practice facility for the two pro basketball teams, The Timberwolves and Lynx Courts at Mayo Clinic Square. The teams are planning a VIP event in conjunction with Mayo Clinic on that day to celebrate the completion of what has already been lauded as the gold standard in basketball practice facilities.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. firstname.lastname@example.org