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Theus ready for first head-coaching gig


With Lou Henson retired, New Mexico State now has Reggie Theus running the show as head coach.

Reggie Theus
Reggie Theus
Theus brings a wealth of basketball experience to the Aggies. The best thing he did to prepare for this opportunity was to learn as an assistant under Rick Pitino at Louisville. That will be invaluable in his first stint as a collegiate head coach.

Look for Theus to use his charm and recruiting skills to develop a strong program. The former UNLV and NBA star is ready for this challenge.

New Mexico State, 6-24 last season, gets a boost with the addition of Elijah Ingram, a transfer from St. John's. Theus also added a trio of Division I transfers who will be eligible in 2006-07: guard Fred Peete (ex-Kansas State), center Martin Iti (ex-Charlotte) and forward Justin Hawkins (ex-Utah).

Theus has a tough debut with New Mexico State. The Aggies open at UCLA in the Preseason NIT on Nov. 15.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has to be looking forward to the post presence of David Padgett this season.

The former Kansas center sat out last season after transferring to Louisville. He will be an inside threat for the Cardinals.

With Pitino's brilliant teaching ability and his knack for helping in all facets of the game, Padgett will be primed for a big season. Though he wasn't eligible to play last season, Padgett still worked under Pitino's tutelage, and that investment of time will pay dividends.

Padgett will be a factor for Louisville in the school's first year in the Big East. His interior ability will impress, but he also has good range, so he also can step out and make the jumper.

In Cardinal Country, they have to be excited to see the ex-Jayhawk play in games that count.

While much has been made about the players who departed national champion North Carolina, the magical Tar Heels name has attracted a super recruiting class.

Remember the name Tyler Hansbrough. The 6-foot-9 forward was special at the Nike Summit, organized by George Raveling. Hansbrough had a great game against the World squad, and he will take that brilliant inside play to Chapel Hill next season.

He will be an immediate-impact diaper dandy in 2005-06.

Duke also has a super class coming in – with Greg Paulus at the controls right away (his passing ability is special), Josh McRoberts, Eric Boateng, Jamal Boykin and Martynas Pocius.

Plus, center Shelden Williams and guard J.J. Redick, my national player of the year, will return as seniors. With the incoming recruits and that great senior leadership, you can understand why Duke's coaching staff is so happy. Yes, the Dukies will contend for another national title.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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