Reuniting In Mill City

By Josh Herwitt - September 21, 2007

Randy Foye, say hello to an old friend.

The former All-American guard at Villanova and current NBA player will be welcoming Ed Pinckney, another Villanova great, to Minneapolis next season.

Pinckney, who spent four years as an assistant coach to Villanova's Jay Wright, left his position at the Big East school Friday to take a similar one with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

A key member of the Wildcats' run to the national championship in 1985, Pinckney returned to his alma mater in 2003 to join Wright's staff and help Villanova reach the Sweet 16 in 2005 and Elite Eight in 2006.

"We are so proud that Eddie now has the opportunity to accept this position with the Timberwolves," Wright said. "Those of us in the Villanova basketball family are especially grateful that Eddie is joining Randy Foye as the Timberwolves start a new era in their franchise's history."

Last season, Foye had a solid rookie year with the Timberwolves, averaging 10.1 points and 2.8 assists per game while showing consistency from the perimeter as well. The guard from Newark, N.J. finished the 2006-07 campaign at 43.4 percent from the field and 36.8 from beyond the arc.

Pinckney spent 12 seasons in the NBA after graduating from Villanova and continued work with the Miami Heat as the director of the franchise's mentoring program following retirement as a radio and television analyst.

Wright and his staff have begun their search to fill the vacancy that Pinckney leaves with his move to the Timberwolves now, and you would have to think that Wright and his staff would like to reach a decision by Oct. 12, when teams can officially begin practice.

"Eddie has made a great impact as a player and alumnus but his four years as a coach were just as meaningful," Wright continued. "Eddie became a great recruiter and mentor to our young men. We will miss having him around us every day but we also know that Eddie will remain a great representative of Villanova basketball."

Running For Congress

Basketball and politics. They just don't mix. They don't.

Yes, we're seeing it more and more these days with guys like Jesse Ventura and Lynn Swann making the switch, but you won't find me writing about Senate races, the 2008 election or the war in Iraq in this space too often. And that's coming from a guy who majored in Political Science in college.

In any case, former Bradley coach Dick Versace made it known Thursday that he will be running for the 18th Congressional District seat in central Illinois on the Democratic ticket.

With incumbent Republican Ray LaHood announcing in July his retirement following his 2009 term, Versace said he will be touring the district in a 28-foot motor home that he likes to call the "Common Sense Express."

"I'm going on a listening tour," said Versace, who will formally announce his intention to run for office at a news conference in the coming weeks.

Versace has spent time in the NBA as an assistant coach and head coach as well as a longtime television commentator before stepping down as the Memphis Grizzlies' general manager in 2005. He spent six seasons with the organization.

At Bradley, Versace won three Missouri Valley Conference championships and a NIT Tournament title from 1979 to 1986.

"I feel a real debt of gratitude to the Peoria area," said Versace, who resides in both Peoria and Chicago. "I had the most wonderful eight years of my life there."

Chuck Giger, a retired Navy aviator living in Chatham, is also running as a Democratic candidate, while three Republicans have already announced their intentions to run for the seat on the GOP platform.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 10:54 PM on September 21, 2007

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