By Josh Cook
It was a big day for the University of Louisville men's basketball on Monday.
The transfer, Roburt Sallie, is a 6-foot-5 guard who played his last two seasons at Memphis. Sallie averaged 10.5 points and four rebounds per game and started 22 of 34 games for the Tigers last season. He leaves Memphis as the school's career leader in three-point accuracy, hitting 119 of 272 three-point tries (43.8 percent). He may be best known for hitting 10 three-pointers in Memphis' come-from-behind victory against Cal State Northridge in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
"Roburt fulfills so many needs for us," Pitino said. "One thing we may lack this season is consistent scoring at the wing position. When you lose your top three scorers, there are a lot of unknowns on from where the points are going to come. Roburt intrigued us because he has great experience, is a great perimeter scorer, a terrific passer, has good size and is a good defender. We're getting someone who has won a lot of basketball games and has a strong passion for winning. We're excited to have him in our program."
Sallie will be eligible to play right away (the 2010-11 season) as long as he completes his bachelor's degree at Memphis this summer and meets meets specific academic qualifications to be admitted to UofL. Louisville must also apply for a waiver for the transfer residency requirement for Sallie, who has signed a financial aid agreement with the school.
Sallie adds immediate depth to UofL's wing positions - shooting guard and small forward - and could start right away. His addition will be especially helpful if recruit Justin Coleman, a 6-5 jumping jack from West Virginia, fails to meet academic requirements.
Pitino also added three new members to his staff - assistant coach Tim Fuller, director of basketball operations Mark Lieberman and former UofL player David Padgett, as the assistant strength coach.
Fuller replaces Walter McCarty, who left Pitino's bench to become an assistant with the NBA's Indiana Pacers. He is a 2000 graduate of Wake Forest, where he played basketball as a walk-on. His coaching career as included stops at North Carolina A&T, Elon, Miami (Fla.), Wake Forest and Fairfield. He has spent the past two years as an NBA sports marketing field representative for Nike.
"Tim has come highly recommended to me by people I respect in the business," Pitino said. "He has experience in coaching and the private sector with the game of basketball. He has the potential to be an outstanding recruiter and will add a totally different dimension to our staff."
Lieberman has spent the past 13 years as the head varsity coach at Monsignor Pace High School in Miami, Fla, where he coached current Cardinal forward Rakeem Buckles.
"I've observed Mark's practices and coaching ability up close and personal," Pitino said. "He is one of the premier teachers at the high school level. He'll start his collegiate career in operations and will work his way up to the full-time coaching ranks. Mark is an outstanding communicator and teacher of the game of basketball."
He replaces Eric Scott, who served in a similar role the last three seasons. Scott has moved to Special Assistant to the Athletic Director.
Padgett has spent the last two years playing professional basketball for UB LaPalma in the Canary Islands since graduating from UofL. He was a three-year starter and captain for the Cards, and one of the best team leaders in the Pitino Era at UofL.
"David is giving up his playing career to try to enter the coaching ranks," Pitino said. "He'll start near the bottom as an assistant strength coach, where he'll learn all facets of what it takes to be a college basketball coach. David was a coach on the floor for us during his playing career at UofL and contributed strongly as a complete player while helping his teammates."