High School Basketball

Manual girls' LeAsia Wright picks WKU

Manual senior LeAsia Wright committed to the Western Kentucky women's basketball program, the guard told the Daily News of Bowling Green. Wright said she will fax in her letter of intent Tuesday morning.

"It feels really good to make my decision," Wright said. "It feels like a lot of weight went off my shoulders. I just fell in love with WKU and the new coach."

Wright is the fourth member of the Lady Toppers' 2012 recruiting class and the second signed this spring by new coach Michelle Clark-Heard. Kilgore College (Texas) rising junior guard Bianca McGee signed on Saturday.

Green County guard Micah Jones and Jeffersonville (Ind.) forward Jalynn McClain signed in November.

The 5-foot-7 Wright averaged nine points and 3.4 rebounds during the regular season, then averaged 15.5 points during Manual's run to the state title, including a 21-point performance in the championship against Marion County.

"The fact that she's physically ready to play at that level is huge," Manual Coach Stacy Pendleton said. "A lot of times kids come in and they're not strong enough to beat and bang, but LeAsia will be able to take that."

Wright was one of the first players contacted by Heard after the latter took over the WKU program March 22.

"When she came, I already knew of her," Wright said. "That was a plus. Getting a new coach with me coming in will be easier for me, because everything's a clean slate."

U of L's Justice transferring

Louisville announced that sophomore guard Elisha Justice will transfer to Pikeville.

Justice, who led Shelby Valley to the state title in 2010 and was named Mr. Basketball, averaged 0.9 points and 0.4 rebounds in 25 games this past season.

Richard Pitino to FIU official

Richard Pitino had two options. He could remain part of his father's coaching staff at Louisville and aim at returning to the Final Four next season, or take over a program that hasn't posted a winning record since he was a teenager.

And Rick Pitino's son apparently thinks it's time to start making his own name.

He signed a five-year contract with Florida International on Monday, agreeing to be paid $250,000 annually in base salary — less than he was making at Louisville, but a deal that allows the 29-year-old to lead a program for the first time.

"I may be young," Richard Pitino said, "but I'm not inexperienced."

FIU was 8-21 past season. Its last winning record — all of 16-14 — came in 1999-2000. The Panthers are 112-243 since.

Pitino knows the numbers, and is undeterred.

"It may not always be pretty. It may not always be easy," Pitino said. "But we're going to get it done."

Former EKU women's coach hired by Tennessee State

Larry Joe Inman, former head women's coach at Eastern Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State, was named to the same position at Tennessee State.

He most recently was head coach at Lebanon High School just east of Nashville. Inman was head coach at Eastern Kentucky from 1988 to 2008 and at Middle Tennessee from 1978 to 1986.