Tag:Rick Pitino
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:03 pm

Pitino nets deserving Hall of Fame nomination

By Jeff Goodman

Rick Pitino was nominated for the Hall of Fame on Friday afternoon. 

He's the only college basketball coach in history to have officially taken three programs to the Final Four, has a national title to his credit and has 618 career victories despite three different stints in the NBA.

"I'm extremely honored and grateful to be a finalist for the Hall of Fame," Pitino told CBSSports.com shortly after learning he was one of a dozen finalists.

I covered much of Pitino's forgettable tenure with the Boston Celtics, one that was a complete train wreck. The bottom line is that Pitino is one of the best college basketball coaches in my generation. However, he was far more suited to the college game than the pro ranks. 

Just imagine how many wins he'd have in the college ranks right now if not for his eight years in the NBA. Probably somewhere in the vicinity of 825 and he's still not yet 60 years old. 

The 59-year-old Pitino began his head coaching career in 1978 at Boston University, spent a couple years as an assistant with the Knicks before taking over a dismal Providence team. Two years later, the Friars were in the Final Four. Pitino then left for the head gig with the Knicks, where he was 90-74 in two seasons, before taking the job at Kentucky -- where he rebuilt a program that was on probation. 

The Wildcats went to the Final Four in 1993 and won the national title in 1996 with a loaded group that featured Antoine Walker and Tony Delk. 

Pitino took another shot in the NBA, this time asked to bring the storied Boston Celtics franchise back from the ruins. Pitino flopped in his three-plus years in Boston and made some ill-advised personnel decisions. 

Pitino is in his 11th season at Louisville. He took the Cardinals to the Final Four in 2005 and has led the Cards to Elite Eight appearances in 2008 and 2009. Louisville is 21-7 this season and a lock to make its sixth consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. 

The other finalists: first-timers Reggie Miller, Bill Fitch and Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain. Previous finalists include Mo Cheeks, Bernard King, Dick Motta, Don Nelson, Hank Nichols, Ralph Sampson, Jamaal Wilkes and Red Heads. 

The Class of 2012 will be announced on Mon., April 2 in New Orleans prior to the NCAA national title game. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The enshrinement ceremony is Fri., Sept 7 in Springfield, Mass. 

Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:53 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 11:26 am

Rick Pitino goes off about referees, Cincy fans

By Jeff Borzello

Rick Pitino wasn't pleased with the officiating or the Cincinnati fans after Louisville's loss. (US Presswire)

Louisville’s 60-56 loss at Cincinnati on Thursday night was a tough one for the Cardinals. It could prevent them from getting a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament, and the defeat also makes it difficult to get a top-four seed – and double-bye – in the Big East tournament.

All in all, clearly not a great night for Louisville.

But it seems Louisville head coach Rick Pitino is not just upset about his team’s loss. According to Card Chronicle, Pitino went off in the postgame press conference about the officiating.

The officials “are really starting to get under my nerves,” Pitino said. “I don’t know who the hell they think they are. The level of arrogance, I just cannot believe it.”

And more, according to our RapidReporter Evan Hilbert: “I have a problem with the officials. They thought they were the three guys going into the Referee Hall of Fame the way they talked to me. I don’t know what they’re looking at sometimes, but they’re so positive, they should really go into the Referee Hall of Fame.”


Looking at the box score, both teams had the same number of fouls (16), and each team’s marquee big man – Yancy Gates for Cincinnati, Gorgui Dieng for Louisville – were saddled with four fouls. Throw in the fact that Louisville had to commit fouls late in the game to get Cincinnati to the free-throw line, and it doesn’t seem egregious in either direction.

With that said, there were some questionable out-of-bounds calls, as well as a couple of travel (and non-travel) calls that went against Louisville at key points.

And Pitino wasn’t done with his venom. He wasn’t fond of how the Cincinnati fans acted. He did say Cincinnati had the biggest homecourt advantage he’s seen this season, and would like to see the Louisville crowd bring the same energy on Sunday.

There’s one caveat, though, according to Pitino: “without some of the low-class behavior.”

He would not give specifics about that behavior, of course, but we know the crowd was hostile toward Louisville freshman Chane Behanan. Behanan is a Cincinnati native who committed to the Bearcats after his freshman year in high school before moving to Kentucky and changing his mind later on. Behanan found the atmosphere “fun” and “electric,” for what it’s worth.

Pitino was clearly upset about the loss, but the defeat wasn’t because of the officiating or the fans. It was because Louisville shot 1-of-14 from 3-point range, turned the ball over 14 times and allowed 15 offensive rebounds.

At least he found a way to defer attention from his team.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:54 pm

Pitino: Talented frosh Blackshear cleared to play

By Jeff Goodman

Louisville will finally get talented freshman Wayne Blackshear back. 

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said on SiriusXM's Inside College Basketball that the Chicago native, who has been out all season with various injuries and ailments, could make his college basketball debut on Feb. 18 at DePaul. 

"He's been cleared to play in games," Pitino said. "We're shooting for another week at Depaul, but I don't want to rush him." 

"He's obviously going to be very good down the road and we think he'll make an impact this year, but he won't start for us," Pitino added. "He'll be a factor, though." 

The 6-foot-5 wing was the highest-rated player -- and was the McDonald's All-American Game -- in Pitino's incoming freshman class, one that also included Chane Behanan. 

Blackshear has missed the entire season after suffering a torn labrum in practice prior to the start of the year. 

Posted on: January 27, 2012 3:23 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 7:08 pm

Rick Pitino's Cards finally settling on roles

By Jeff Goodman

Rick Pitino knows what to expect now. 

Mike Marra isn't walking through that door. Neither is Rakeem Buckles. Louisville's coach also says it's highly unlikely that big man Stephan Van Treese will return this season and the timetable for talented freshman Wayne Blackshear has been pushed back to March due to one issue after another. 

"We've been so used to shuffling the lineup," Pitino said. "This group has weathered the storm and outside of one game, they've played good basketball." 

If you had told Pitino and Cardinals fans that with this rash of injuries, their team would still be 15-5 overall, they would have gladly taken it. However, after a 12-0 start, many that frequent the Yum! Center had a false sense of what this team is all about. 

It's a good team, but not a great one. 

Even with a healthy Marra, Buckles and Van Treese, it's probably not a team capable of cutting down any nets - whether it be in Madison Square Garden or New Orleans. 

But Pitino still doesn't feel as though it's out of the question for this group -- now that roles are becoming clearer -- to make a run at second place in the Big East. Right now Louisville sits at 4-4 in the league, just two games behind second-place Georgetown and Marquette. 

"It's possible," Pitino said.

Peyton Siva played well in the second half against Pittsburgh and also in the victory over Villanova, but Pitino said the key to this team -- as much as anything else these days - is making certain that much-improved big man Gorgui Dieng is on the floor as much as possible. 

"We're a good team as long as he's on the floor," Pitino said. "He's our most valuable player." 

Pitino said that Blackshear, the prize of a stellar recruiting class that also consisted of Chane Behanan, Zach Price and Kevin Ware, has only practiced once since returning from the shoulder injury that has kept him on the shelf all season. A stomach flu has shut him down since then. 

"I was hoping to get him back for the Big East regular-season, but now I'm hoping we can have him for the Big East tournament," Pitino said. "If he practices well, we'll play him. If not, he'll redshirt." 

Ware, who joined the team after the first semester, isn't ready to contribute. "I like him, but he's not ready -- and it's not his fault. It'd rather go with Elijah Justice as my fourth guard right now." 

Pitino said that he may start to play Price, who has seen in action in just eight games this season, especially against big front lines. The last week or so was the first time all season when this group practiced knowing what it had in its arsenal. 

"I still like this team," he said.

Especially in a league that isn't quite as top-heavy as in recent years. 

"The top four aren't as good as they've been in the past," he said. "But the bottom is also better. It seems like anyone is capable of beating anyone." 

Pitino went onto say that's the way it is around the entire country -- except for maybe one program that resides down the road. 

"Kentucky is the only dominant team in terms of talent," he said.

Pitino gushed about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, about his talent, attitude and motor. "He's going to get better and better," he said. 

And the secret to knocking off the Wildcats?

"You've got to find a way to get (Anthony) Davis off the court," Pitino said. "You've got to get him in foul trouble and make sure he plays less than 25 minutes." 

Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:46 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 10:07 pm

Louisville's free-fall down to earth continues

Has Louisville played its best basketball this year?. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Jeff Goodman

I have said it all season. Louisville is overrated. 

When the Cards rose all the way to No. 4 in the rankings, it was clear to just about everyone outside of Louisville that the Cards did not belong in the same class with the Kentucky's, North Carolina's, Ohio State's and Syracuse's of the world. 

They had reeled off a dozen straight, but had only ventured out of the Yum! Center once - against a Butler team that is still trying to find itself. It was fool's gold. This is an solid Louisville team, maybe one that that win a couple games in the NCAA tournament - or maybe one that will be one and done, as was the case last season.  

Russ Smith gave Rick Pitino's team hope when he nearly single-handedly kept Louisville competitive at Rupp, but this team is a fringe Top 25 club these days in terms of pure talent. 

They can't shoot - and they aren't nearly as efficient defensively as the numbers indicated through the team's first 12 games of the season. In the four losses -- which have all came in the past five games -- the Cardinals are shooting just 27 percent from beyond the arc. 

Pitino's team got crushed on the glass against Kentucky -- but there's no shame in that. But Louisville also lost the battle on the glass to Georgetown and allowed a lackluster Providence frontline to dominate. 

Kadeem Batts went for 27 points. 

Yes, Kadeem Betts. 

Russ Smith has been a non-factor in the last couple of games, there's been virtually no production from the bench -- and after a home date against DePaul, Pitino & Co. will head out on the road for games against Marquette and Pittsburgh. 

The Cards could well be 2-5 seven games into league play. 

It just goes to show how quickly things can change -- especially in the Big East. 

We ranked Louisville in the Top 10 of the preseason with the thought that the Cards would have the prize of their recruiting class, Wayne Blackshear. However, the Illinois native has been out with a shoulder injury and it's anyone's guess when -- and if -- he'll return to the court. 

Even if Blackshear does come back, it's difficult to ask a guy who hasn't played a game in eight months and is a true freshman to make an impact this season. 

So, what you see is probably what you'll get -- and that's a decent Louisville team. 

Posted on: December 28, 2011 12:46 pm

Podcast: Doug McDermott vs. Barnes debate begins

By Matt Norlander

It's that soft spot between Christmas and New Year's, but lots of good basketball is about to get going thanks to conference play starting in earnest. Goodman, Parrish and I have our weekly Wednesday podcast here to discuss: Jordan Taylor's somehow underrated play this year; Creighton's Doug McDermott is about to explode on the national college hoops landscape; Rick Pitino can't be trusted; and this week is so huge for Louisville. The next three games, really: Wednesday vs. Georgetown; Saturday at Kentucky; Jan. 3 against St. John's.
We mix in some other things, too, particularly at the beginning, when I learn Parrish was once a pizza delivery boy.

  • From the beginning: Some weekend wrap-up/catchup chatter. Sometimes this is the best parts of the podcast. It wanders into talking about Seth Greenberg, because of course.
  • 9:00: As for the here and now, it starts with Jordan Taylor, who Goodman saw in person last night. He's not having a down year, you know.
  • 16:29: Now we get to Doug McDermott, who's having an insane year, a First Team All America-level year so far. We've been on McDermott since the summer, but it feels like the coming weeks will finally bring widespread pub and love to a player who's doing much better so far this season than a guy named Jimmer last season.
  • 20:50: This conversation/debate could gain traction if McDermott continues to play so well, but we touch on Harrison Barnes vs. McDermott as college players (the two were high school teammates).
  • 24:09: Why we do not believe Rick Pitino.
  • 27:56: Podcast comes to a close with a nine-minute discussion on the next three games for U of L: Georgetown, Kentucky, St. John's (yes, St. John's). I think it's the most critical non-postseason three-game stretch the Cards have this season.

You can listen to the CBSSports.com College Basketball Podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The podcasts are posted here and simultaneously through iTunes (link below). Each Wednesday CBSSports.com national writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish hop on to banter and bicker. Mondays and Fridays are reserved for the most prominent voices in and around the game. Here's the iTunes subcription link. We also have an RSS feed for you to track. I don't believe they are making Zunes anymore, but nonetheless, I've been instructed to link you on how to listen via that device, too.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 4:13 pm

Pitino gives an end date for his coaching career

By Matt Norlander

If you told Louisville fans they get five and a half more seasons with Rick Pitino, they'd of course take it. And they'd savor every game of it, because coaches like Pitino are throwbacks, rarities. He's equal parts competent as a motivator and an X-and-O man. Respected by many, Pitino, it can be argued, is one of the 20 greatest coaches in college basketball history.

At his press conference today, prior to U of L's Big East opener against Georgetown, Pitino offered where he sees himself in just over five years -- retired.

Card Chronicle's Mike Rutherford tweeted out the Pitino quote this afternoon that simply says: "My contract runs until 2017 and I'm not coaching past that."

CBSSports.com Louisville Rapid Reporter Evan Hilbert followed with more context:
Coach Rick Pitino said earlier this season that he could coach until he was 90. He has since softened his stance. “When you're 59, you're realistic that you don't have a lot of years left,” Pitino said. “My contract runs out in 2017 – I'm not coaching anymore after that.”
We've got a long way to go until then. There could very well be Final Fours and a national title awaiting Pitino from now until then. What I do know: I never trust what coaches say, 100 percent. At 64, Pitino could feel as good and as healthy as he did when he was 45. And if in January of 2016, he sees a top-five recruiting class coming in, who's to say he doesn't extend his contract another three years? Louisville would be more than willing if the Cards were in such a position.

So we'll see. After all, it's more than five years from now. Remember another recent, famous, aborted five-year promise? We know how that turned out.

It's nice that Pitino has some perspective, is thinking about his family and realizes his mortality. But just because he says he's done in 2017 doesn't mean that's the case. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find Pitino coaching at 65 years old. No one knows who they'll be in five years, let alone how they'll feel. Walking away from the game is something coaches and players struggle with more than almost anything else. Pitino can be wrong about this. Louisville fans are already wishing for it.

Posted on: November 11, 2011 9:19 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 9:25 pm

Pitino gets 600th career victory

By Gary Parrish

Rick Pitino won his 600th college game Friday night.

That's remarkable for two reasons:
  1. Pitino is just 59 years old.
  2. Pitino spent eight of his prime coaching years in the NBA.
What most don't remember is that Pitino has actually had three different stints as a professional coach. He resigned as Boston University's head coach in 1983 to become a Knicks assistant, then left the Knicks after two seasons to become Providence's head coach. After two seasons in Providence, Pitino left to become head coach of the Knicks. He spent two seasons in New York, then became Kentucky's head coach. He spent eight seasons at Kentucky, then became the Celtics' head coach. He spent four seasons in Boston, then became Louisville's head coach.

So, again, Pitino spent eight seasons in the NBA.

And he still had 599 career victories through 25 seasons as a college coach.

Now let's do some math.

Pitino accumulating 599 wins in 25 seasons means he's averaged 24 wins per season -- or one more win per season than the average of Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, the man on the verge of becoming the winningest coach in men's Division I history. If you use Pitino's average wins per season (24) and multiply it by the number of seasons he spent in the NBA (8), then take that number (192) and add it to his current win total (600), what you'll find is that it's reasonable to assume Pitino could be approaching 800 victories before the age of 60 and thus considered a real threat to break the record Krzyzewski will soon set given that he's five years younger than the Duke coach.

Did you realize that?

I didn't realize that until this afternoon.

So while I know it's easy to make Pitino jokes, and I know some of you will, the truth is that one of the nation's very best coaches reached a milestone Friday night. It didn't happen on an aircraft carrier so it won't get the attention it deserves. But the win is worth noting, and there's probably lots more to come.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com