Ellis Myles, the starting center on Louisville's 2004-2005 final four team, has joined the Cardinals as assistant strength coach.
Myles, who is originally from Compton, Calif., is one of only five players in U of L history to score over 1,000 career points and grab over 950 career rebounds. He totalled 1,045 points and 998 rebounds, sixth highest for the Cardinals. Myles averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game as a senior.
After earning a bachelor's degree in sociology at U of L in 2005, Myles played professionally in Italy, but he ruptured a patellar tendon in his left knee in Israel in November and has been out of action since. He will remain in his new position for five months while he rehabs the knee.
Cardinal coach Rick Pitino hopes that Myles might serve as a muse for troubled freshman Derrick Caracter, who has appeared in just eight games this season because of off-the-court issues.
"I'm hoping he'll spend a lot of time with Derrick," Pitino said. "I think he'd be very good for (Caracter)."
Since arriving on campus, Caracter has been compared numerous times to Myles, a player who had also had some attitude issues, and one that many people believed wouldn't be able to hack it when Pitino took over in 2001. But Myles thrived under his coach's discipline, and rebounded from as season-ending knee injury in 2003 that forced him to redshirt the '03-'04 season to become a captain and leader on the squad that brought Louisville to the final four for the first time since 1986.
Earlier in the year, Pitino brought up Myles when talking about young Caracter who had just been given an early Christmas break.
"Ellis was ready to go to work, Ellis was ready to be a Louisville man," said Pitino. "Someone that carries themselves, understands what a Louisville man is all about. And when these families send their children here, they're going to leave this program a Louisville man. That's someone with great integrity, great honesty, someone with an unbelievable work ethic, someone that knows how to act, someone who carries themselves well, understands what it is to be a student, understands how to be accountable for time and effort and everything else, and right now Derrick's got multiple issues that he has to deal with to be this Louisville man."
Caracter has appeared just once (the team's only loss) in Louisville's last six games.
"It's a big challenge for me (to work with Caracter) but I'm up for the challenge," Myles said.
Myles is arguably Pitino's greatest success story, so I suppose it only makes sense that he's brought in with the hope that Caracter might achieve similar success both off and on the court. Kudos to Rick for going above and beyond the call of duty yet again to help Derrick.
Caracter would have to truly be a fool not to listen to the words of someone like Myles, who had far greater obstacles to overcome than he has or ever will. Perhaps Ellis will be just what he needs.