Josh Pierre-Louis is poised to have a breakout AAU season – Q&A with HG Insider

Before heading into AAU season, it’s always interesting to look into those who have the talent to boost their stock on the national scene. Josh Pierre-Louis is coming off a big high school season as he played a vital role in Roselle Catholic’s TOC championship win. The class of 2019 guard will lead Sports U this spring and summer. He talked with HG Insider on his expectations this AAU season.

Q: For people who haven’t experienced it, what is it like to win a TOC Championship?

A: “For those who don’t know what it feels like to be a TOC Champ it is a great feeling and an accomplished feeling,” he said. “In many ways as a team and for yourself it feels so great cause you know the amount of time, effort and sweat equity you put in to accomplish such a goal.”

Q: Your role grew on this team more and more as the season went on. What is it like seeing your hard work pay off on such a successful team?

A: “I mean I kept working until it was my chance to show the world how much better my game has gotten and improved,” said Pierre-Louis. “I’m not going to look back, I’ll just continue working and perfecting my craft.”

Q: You are a well-known name, but this is a big season to gain even more exposure. What about that excites you?

A: “This summer is looking great because my game has elevated so much from last season to now,” he said. “I look at this like my break out season and I’m going to succeed at that goal. I’m going to let people know who I really am.”

Q: How would you describe the way you play and what do you do best on the floor.

A: “My athleticism has brought my game to a different level,” Pierre-Louis said. “I also like my skill set, the way I can finish around the rim and knock shots down. The best things I do on the floor are playing defense, being a playmaker and scoring the ball.

Q: What goals have you set for yourself this AAU season?

A: “To win the UAA finals, get invited to the Stephen Curry Camp and get invited to the UA All American Camp,” Pierre-Louis said. “I also just want to improve my game and gain more scholarships.”

Louisville Will Regret Firing David Padgett if They Can’t Land Chris Mack

David Padgett did not expect to be the head man at the University of Louisville this year. But as the saying goes, “Life comes at you fast.” In what was a whirlwind start to the college basketball season, Padgett found himself one seat further up the bench, as interim head coach for the Cardinals. He led the Cards to a 22-14 record, with a modest 9-9 in ACC play. Louisville missed the NCAA Tournament and lost to Mississippi State in the Quaterfinals of the NIT. One day later, the school parted ways with Padgett.

In the world of coaching rumors, Louisville and Chris Mack has been a steady one all season long. He appeared to be perfect candidate to take over the soon-to-be-vacant position. Mack is already the all-time winningest coach at Xavier, and won the Big East regular season this year. More importantly, with the off-court drama circulating the sport, he’s been thought to run a clean program. To Louisville, that may be the most important piece. Landing Mack isn’t a slam dunk, however. Xavier is his alma mater and pulling away from a program he has brought to the top of the Big East may not be easy, especially with the Cardinals looking at potential NCAA violations.

If Mack falls through, Louisville could find themselves in a bad situation. The coaching situation at Louisville is less than ideal. The Cards are still subject to NCAA penalty and they have the blackest of clouds hanging over their program after this year. That could result in loss of scholarships and possible tournament bans. The looming uncertainty is a tough thing for a coach in a good position, like Mack, to leave for.

Padgett did a great job given his circumstances. He took over a team right before the start of the season, that it’s best recruit right before the start of the season. He dealt with countless off the court issues as the season progressed and almost took Louisville to the NCAA Tournament. Not many first year coaches could have had the season he had given the situation. I get a school like Louisville wants a more established coach, but they may have let a good one slip away. At the very least, Padgett could have stuck around for two years to help guide the program through its NCAA penalties, then be re-evaluated.

I think some school should give Padgett his first real head coaching job. In his one season audition, he achieved more than most people thought. He deserves a chance to lead a team. As for Louisville, they better be very confident that they can land Mack. Dan Hurley could be an outside shot, but will likely stay in the Northeast, Tom Crean was already scooped up, and I can’t see Thad Matta wanting to walk into their situation. It could end up that Louisville just let go their best candidate.

To Leave or Not to Leave: Where Should Dan Hurley Coach Next Season

For all but 16 teams, 34 if you include the NIT, CBI and CIT, it’s the offseason. Time for coaches to turn the page and look forward to next season. They try to envision what their team is going to look like seven months from now. For Dan Hurley, that process could start later than usual. Currently the head coach of Rhode Island, Hurley is maybe the most desired coach in college basketball. He’s on the short list for maybe every high major program with a coaching vacancy. Ever since the firings of Kevin Ollie and Kevin Stallings, Hurley has been rumored to be heavily desired by both UConn and Pittsburgh. As Jon Rothsein reported today, Pitt already offered him a multiyear contract.

For 95% of “mid” or “low major” coaches, the move is a no brainer. If you can get a job at an ACC school, or a school with the prestige of UConn, you take it. But this isn’t any mid major coach. And this isn’t the first “high major” coaching job he’s been offered. Hurley could have taken Rutgers two years ago. A jersey kid returning home to rebuild a tumultuous program. Hurley turned it down. Instead Hurley spent the next two years taking Rhode Island to the NCAA Tournament. He won the A-10 Tournament last season, and was regular season champs this year. Now the offers are coming in again, and the expectation at least is that Hurley is going to make the move. But are his options now better than what he turned down two years ago?

Pitt is a disaster

Rutgers isn’t a dream job. They don’t have the basketball history that Pitt and UConn have, but that’s all those programs have right now. History. Pittsburgh is coming off a season in which they went winless in the ACC conference. They had some embarrassing performances, including a seven point first half against Virginia. After firing Kevin Stallings, they saw eight players request transfer from the program. As if the coaching position could not be any less desirable, the roster is now completely cut up. Competing in a conference as tough as the ACC, this program is maybe in worse shape than Rutgers was two years ago. Pitt doesn’t need a rebuild, they need a miracle.

UConn is better, slightly

Connecticut is a little better of a situation than Pitt, but that’s not saying much. The program has tailed off a little since Shabazz Napier carried the Huskies to a National Championship. Ollie had his struggles retaining players as well. Last year, UConn saw three players transfer, which ultimately hurt them this year when several others went down with injury. With all the talent in the Northeast, you have to be able to recruit that region if you want to put Connecticut back on the map, figuratively. Hurley can certainly recruit; The senior class he is graduating at Rhode Island this year proves it. If UConn can avoid having their whole team transfer like Pitt did, it could be a quicker rebuild in a conference that is much easier to compete in than the ACC.

Or, he can stay

Neither job is as glamorous as it was a few years ago. The prestige has been wiped away from both programs after a couple of strung together sub par seasons. Hurley graduates a heck of a senior class this year, but he does have enough players coming back and coming in, that will have Rhode Island contending at the top of the A-10 again next year. Another trip to the NCAA Tournament will put Hurley in contention for the next group of jobs that open up. He turned down Rutgers, he could do it again.

Stay or go, Danny Hurley will be a wanted man. He and his players completely turned around a Rhode Island program in his time there. It is that turnaround that makes him such a heavily desired target by both Pitt and UConn. I think if Hurley were to make the move, UConn makes the most sense. It’s not a total rebuild, and it’s an easier program to sell to recruits initially. The rise to the top of the AAC is much easier than the ACC. And it’s easier when you have a player or two to start with. As the coaching carousel goes round and round, we may not see any schools make a move until Hurley makes his decision.

Buffalo commit Jeenathan Williams does a Q&A with HG Insider – He talks Buffalo’s upset NCAA tournament win over Arizona and more

Class of 2018 Buffalo commit Jeenathan Williams can’t wait to play on the next level. Williams stood out for Prolific Prep, a top prep school in California, this past season and showed he can play on the high major level. Even with this being the case, Williams turned down multiple high major offers to stay in his home state of New York to play for the University at Buffalo. He did a Q&A on his decision, their upset victory over Arizona and more for HG Insider.

Q: You decided to transfer to Prolific Prep for your senior year. How did the season go and are you happy you made the move?

A: “It finished off very well, it was a good adjustment for me,” said Williams. “I had to get used to playing a different type of style. That new style helped me get a lot better and enhanced my game in so many ways. I’m now able to play without the ball in my hands and I’m a better shooter. I improved a lot and I’m glad I made the move.”

Q: You guys played a national schedule at Prolific Prep. How is this going to help you prepare for college?

A: “It helped me a lot because in college you aren’t just going to be in one area,” he said. “You have to face the adversity of traveling a lot, which is a lot to get used to. It was a good experience getting to travel every week because it really helped us all get ready for the next level.”

Q: Your future home in Buffalo upset Arizona in the NCAA tournament. What was it like to see them pull off this big win?

A: “I was just so proud and it’s great to know that I’m going to be a part of that next year,” Williams said. “I know next year we’ll go far in the tournament again. My hopes are high and I’m just ready to work when I get there. The sky is the limit next year, that’s really how I feel.”

Q: You had multiple high major schools recruiting you. Why did you decide to go with Buffalo over bigger named programs?

A: “They are a family to me,” he said. “They kept in touch with me through my ups and downs since the ninth grade. They always told me that I had the option to go there, which made it a lot easier for me and my family in making the decision. It’s also only 45 minutes away from home so my family can come to see my games.”

Q: What does Head Coach Nate Oats expect when you arrive next year?

A: “Coach Oats wants me to come in and be the player I know I can be and I know I am,” he said. “He wants me to show everyone what I can do by scoring the ball and continuing to improve my game. Coach thinks I have the tools to be an NBA player so I just have to keep adding to my game and give it my all.”

Q: With Buffalo only being 45 minutes away from you grew up. What is it going to feel like representing a place that is so close to home?

A: “It’s going to feel great because that’s basically where I’m from,” Williams said. “It’s going to be great knowing I have people from back home watching and a great fan base supporting me. I think I can make a big impact on my community if I do well there so it’s going to be great and I can’t wait for it.”

Best Collegiate Basketball Facilities in America

Ask any college basketball recruiter and they will tell you that the need for collegiate basketball facilities is extremely important. Of course, some downgrade this importance. For example, Rutgers has been one of the hallmarks of NJ basketball for many years and they seem to get along just fine with the aging Rutgers Athletic Center. The dominant question many ask is this: why is a top-notch practice facility even necessary? The answer is simple-because it can attract the best recruits. Although the list could actually be several pages long, here are five universities who have some of the best facilities in America.


The main theme of Villanova’s facility, the Davis Center for Athletics and Fitness, is that it is a place where “we can come to relax and enjoy ourselves.” Indeed, the description is aptly granted as one sits in the La-Z-Boy recliners. They also can utilize the group exercise room to enjoy Pilates, aerobics, dance, and martial arts. The student fitness center features 10,000 square feet of space and 40 cardio machines, free weight stations, and select top-of-the-line equipment.

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State might seem like a small school, but they definitely went all-out with their basketball facility. They provide all students and visitors with a host of bathrobes to choose from. Moreover, this facility could make a run on the nearest Best Buy or Walmart technology department with the amount of flat-screens they have. And how about those marble staircases?


Kentucky spent $30 million on their facility, and really it’s no wonder. Students at Kentucky realize that their athletic programs are the best, and they definitely want the athletic facility to reflect that. Volumes could definitely be written about this place alone, simply because the Joe Craft Center is an astonishing 102,000 square feet. That’s definitely plenty of room to hang up many more championship banners!

West Virginia

Although many wouldn’t think of the Mountaineers as being one of the top programs in the country, that perspective is quickly changing. While they may not be able to provide as extensive a facility as Kentucky, they are proving to be competitive. Some of the hallmarks of their homey facility would include a fireplace and a 14-foot video board. Add a Gatorade station and you definitely have a recipe for a high-class facility.


Finally, there is Indiana. Their facility is called Cook Hall, and it blows away all other modern training facilities. Moreover, Cook Hall also has the added gravitas of the Pfau Shine Legacy Court, which is a literal museum that showcases the proud Indiana Hoosier program.

Of course, while those of us at the Hoop Group realize that a solid basketball academy is important, we realize that ultimately it is only the icing on the cake. Training the next generation of basketball players from elementary and middle school on up is every bit as important. That is why we offer the latest basketball training camps, college basketball camps, college elite basketball camps, and summer basketball camps to help your youngster realize his or her full sports potential.