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Tag:Rick Pitino
Posted on: December 29, 2010 12:13 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2010 12:19 pm

Pitino defends Puerto Rico decision on website

Posted by Matt Norlander

In the past few years, we've seen more and more athletes use their websites as a platform for communicating with not only fans, but also media.

(This is a good and bad thing, but that's another discussion for another time.)

This morning, in a post he titled, "RED ALERT!!!!!" (both I and Elaine Benes endorse his affection for the exclamation point) Louisville coach Rick Pitino used his site (go to the top right to kill that damn autoplay music) as a way to clarify to Cardinals fans and others why he recently accepted the head-coaching job of the Puerto Rico national team.

In doing so, he took a dig at Jeff Goodman at, a much-needed dose of reality dealt to the national college basketball writer (still love ya, Jeff!) who opined Pitino only took the job to bolster his recruiting classes.

One of our good friends, Jeff Goodman, seems to be confused on why I became the coach of the Puerto Rican National Team. Jeff is a guy most of us in college basketball like and respect, as he provides us with great insight into college basketball. However, because he did not ask me why I took the job prior to posting several of his articles, I will now explain it to the Cardinal nation…
Goodman, a good-hearted master in banter with media members and coaches, immediately returned the jocularity on Twitter.

In the post, Pitino goes on to list the five primary reasons why he's taken on the extra workload. It includes working with close friend and current Cardinals assisant Ralph Willard; less travel (Louisville will now change its offseason foreign trip from Australia to Puerto Rico); the challenge of qualifying for the Olympics; meeting new people and getting new experiences at his age (58); and, yes, the benefit this could bring to recruiting. But he adds:.

This reason is extremely remote as we have already finished recruiting in 2012 and almost done for 2011. ... I just purchased all five levels of RosettaStone.  Also, at my age learning a new language is something special.

Pretty cool that he's taking on learning Spanish and seems to be pretty serious about it. (And a nice little plug there, too.) Good for Pitino to do this, which wasn't really necessary, but as you can see is getting him some added exposure. He's trying to recraft an image and be as transparent as possible in all things with his profession. Smart move.

Photo: Getty Images
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 26, 2010 10:38 am
Edited on: December 26, 2010 10:54 am

Providence keeps Ledo at home

Posted by Eric Angevine

When Rick Pitino began talks with the Puerto Rico national team, pundits assumed that, in part, he hoped to gain an upper hand in recruiting. One of the primary targets he was after at the time was Ricardo "Ricky" Ledo, a top 2012 shooting guard from Rhode Island who is eligible to play for the island's squad due to his parentage.

Turns out, Ledo would rather play in front of his hometown fans and family, which is quite the Christmas gift for Keno Davis.

"I'm going to do it in front of my family and friends as opposed to leaving," Ledo said on Christmas morning. "So many other guys have left. I want to stay close to home, like Marvin Barnes."

Barnes, PC's legendary big man of the early 1970s, was a top player at Central High but never received the regional or national acclaim that Ledo has owned over the last two years.

Ledo said the attraction of his family and friends was powerful, as was PC's pitch for him to stay home and follow in the footsteps of Barnes, Ernie DiGregorio, Joe Hassett, Abdul Abdullah and, most recently, Jeff Xavier, as local high school stars who played for the Friars. Ledo spent Christmas with his grandparents, Ada and Julio Carrasco, as well as his brother Kyron and his parents, Kimeco Ledo and Ricardo Carrasco. He said everyone was excited with his choice.

-Kevin McNamara, Providence Journal

Davis has had a rough time in recent months, with Greedy Peterson and other players encountering legal troubles and being dismissed from the team. In addition, his leading recruiter, Pat Skerry, decamped to Big East rival Pitt. Keeping Ledo at home should go a long ways toward rehabbing the program's image, but Davis will probably need to win a fair number of games between now and 2012 in order to keep the wolves at bay.
Posted on: December 21, 2010 9:30 am
Edited on: December 21, 2010 9:41 am

Pitino makes light of all the concussion talk

Posted by Matt Norlander

How about this: The comments Rick Pitino made about concussions is the dumbest thing he's been associated with in a long, long time.

Yes, dumber than the Karen Sypher mess.

Speaking about serious head injuries as if they were the in vogue medical ailment of the modern era — think ADD and ADHD's rise in the past decade — Pitino pontificated in a postgame presser about how we're all just a little too trigger-happy to diagnose our athletes with these silly concussions.

"It's the 17th concussion we've had this year," Pitino condescendingly told reporters a few days ago. (Was that supposed to be a shot at the team trainer?)

After Louisville defeated Gardner-Webb 78-49 Saturday afternoon, the Louisville coach was in good spirits and bantering with the press. (This just days after not being like that , at all, following the Cardinals' loss to Drexel.) Hey, maybe it was the comfort of landing the job coaching the Puerto Rico national team; maybe it was something else. Either way, Pitino got ignorant on us in a quick moment when he challenged old-school, incorrect thinking re: the potential dangers of concussions.

Fast-forward to the 2:45 mark to hear his comments — or the 2:35 mark, if you'd like to hear him make a Kenny Loggins joke. Yes, anything was fair game for Pitino on this night. He certainly did go into a ... danger zone ... on this topic.

"I've been coaching now 35 years. I've seen maybe five concussions in 35 years," he said. "The new thing is everybody has a concussion. If you walk out and slightly brush the door, you have a concussion. That's the way it is today. Everybody has a concussion today. [Elijah Justice] had concussion. [Pitino laughs, followed by inaudible question from reporter]. Yes, barring the fact if he doesn't walk into the door at Benardi Hall and get another concussion."

You can tell Pitino was just waiting for that question about Elijah Justice's head condition. To make light of it sends a terrible message, one that, if I was a parent, would be a huge turn-off if Pitino happened to be recruiting my son. In football, where the issue has reached the daily mainstream conversation, more and more people are becoming educated on the subject and embracing all precaution that must be taken following a thwack or thump to the dome.

But in basketball, it seems some have ways to go. The NCAA has a two-page check-off sheet of sorts to help coaches with identifying concussions, but this is clearly not enough. The sport could be more susceptible to negligence in this regard because coaches and players haven't had this issue (ironically) beaten into their heads enough yet.

They'll get there eventually, though. Comments like Pitino's only show the process as slower than we'd hope for it to be.

(H/T, ESPN CBB Nation )

Category: NCAAB
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