The Rick Pitino Soap Opera Continues

rickSince U of L met Michigan State in the Elite 8, I’ve had some email communications with an old pal, who lives near Motown and is a major Spartan fan.

When he sent me a condolence email after his team’s W, I told him it wasn’t necessary, that U of L had overachieved, and I wasn’t despondent. I added that the loss is easier to take since I, having been born in Michigan myself, have long been a fan of Sparty.

And, Izzo in particular.

In fact, I wrote, as good a coach as Rick Pitino is, I’d trade him even up for Izzo right now.

(Actually I went on, and said I’d trade Pitino and Petrino for Izzo and Dantonio, and I’d throw in an Asst. A.D. and a volleyball coach to be named later.)

It’s not that I think Izzo is a better coach than Pitino, though he might be. And, I’m advised by a national scribe who has been privy to practice sessions of all the major programs, that Izzo is as tough, perhaps tougher, than Pitino on his players . . . in the privacy of practice.

What Izzo doesn’t do, at least that I’m aware of, is disparage his players in public, bad mouthing them through the media.

Have you noticed how many times the Spartan mentor will pull a player from the game, and will be chastising him with vigor at the bench . . . while the player is standing there with his arm around Izzo’s shoulder? Well, I have. 1

All of which dismissive dynamic is why it surprises me not in the least that U of L seems to average considerably more transfers out than any of the other big time programs.

Several times, during this topsy turvey season, Pitino has taken the opportunity to publicly declare how unhappy he was with Anton Gill, Shaqquan Aaron and Chinanu Onuaku, using language most dismissive.

He did it again yesterday in his post-season press conference, when asked about Gill and Aaron.

So, imagine our surprise, when, but a few hours later, Gill announced he was transferring. Joining fellow recruiting classmate Akoy Agau, who moved on mid-season.

I’ll be flabbergasted if there isn’t an announcement in the next few days, that Shaqquan Aaron is moving on, that U of L has given him his release, and wishes him well.

There is also innuendo afloat that Chinanu Onuaku, who started at center most of the year, might be taking his talents elsewhere.

It is a now an almost annually recurring phenomena I’ve dubbed, “going Roderick Rhodes.” Which honors the first time I recall Pitino deep sixing a player, who didn’t meet every one of Pitino’s expectations.2 As a pal astutely observed, “Pitino knows how to cut bait.”

So, the Louisville coach acknowledged yesterday he’s looking to add one to three players to a recruiting class that already numbers four.

Truth is Louisville under Pitino has had as much turnover as some of the one and done schools that come to mind.

Of course, in these modern times, with all the recruiting hoo hah and pressure of playing big time college sports — at least in football and basketball, the money makers — the epidemic of transfers can’t all be blamed on coaches. Teenaged kids are pressured into ill-advised school choices.

But, but, but, in Louisville’s case, it appears that a more nurturing environment, less trying to motivate through negative public “reinforcement,” might stem the tide of Cardinal abdications.

— Seedy K



11 thoughts on “The Rick Pitino Soap Opera Continues

  1. Here we go….

    ….I never dreamed you would become a Cal apologist. I’ll take our version of L1C4 over his “players first” mantra any day. It’s kinda like being in the Marines at UofL…you buy in or you ship out. If you think you deserve more playing time than you earn, there is the door. Not sure if any of RP’s transfers to greener pastures have ever panned out, with the possible minor exceptions of West Coastian Lorenzo Wade and 1 year wonder D. Character who almost single-handed chased Rick into retirement.

    Compare and contrast our system to your Wildcat version of nirvana. These guys expect to be in school for 8-10 months, max. Any longer than that, then they, Cal or the shoe boys with their promise of shoe company riches have failed them. Look at the sad case of transfer Ryan Harrow who was chased out of Lexington on a rail. Or Archie Goodwin who should have returned for another year, like Young last year or the PG from the 2012 champs; or how the Harrison’s are perceived to be failures despite 2 straight final fours. At UbaK if you aren’t a one and done, you failed.

    When you become a Card, there are certain expectations by the Coach and the fans that you are buying in. If you don’t and its a bad fit, you are welcome to leave. I can’t think of a single Card on scholarship that was asked to leave because they weren’t “good enough.”

    If you know something I don’t know, let me know….

    1. Well, you’re an idiot then. How the hell does starting out ranked #3 in the country and getting sent packing by a 7 seed fall in the “over achieved” category? SMH

    2. JG Joyner Guess you missed the sentence ” Truth Is, Louisville under Pitino has had as much turnover as some of the succeed and proceed schools that come to mind.” Try learning to read before you make a dirty bird out of yourself in public.

    3. You are a joke…..Ryan Harrow transferred to be closer to home for his ailing father….Archie did not want to listen to Cal and thought he was ready for the NBA. Cal cannot make him stay…just offer advice. Now, as far your University goes, there is a lot of dirt over there that does not see the light of day. Slick Rick regularly has kids transfer who are top 50 players…I wonder why? He is losing his mind over Cal owning him. For a Hall of Fame coach he has a lot of baggage and cannot recruit worth a crap… he goes after the same kids Cal does but he cannot get them. See Trey Lyles and Marquis Teague etc…. You are uninformed and your jealousy makes you look bad..

  2. Are you deaf and blind, Mr. J?? Just this year, he ran off Agau and Gill. He’s been doing it from the beginning of his reign. Mac Wilkinson (Wilkerson?) was sent packing.

  3. Two more names that immediately come to mind, kids with whom The Rick played come here go away come back: Perrin Johnson. Stephen Van Treese. With Angel Nunez, he simply said go away.

  4. Greg–don’t you have anything better to do than denigrate Chuckie. Don’t you know how fragile he is?

  5. Rick Pitino is a drama queen. He needs to create and then feed off public turmoil—always has, it’s who he is. But, the shuffling of student-athletes in and out of college programs happens everywhere. [Although not always in the very public way that it does here with Pitino.] Seedy, if you’re paying attention, D-I soccer is [very quietly] especially brutal and mercenary.

  6. Rick’s late season coaching was magic this year, but he needs to raise his RECRUTING skills to the level of his coaching skills. JG mentions that some kids that Rick ran off didn’t do much at the school to which they transfered. To me that begs the question – why did he recruit them in the first place if they couldn’t even make it at a lower school ?

  7. David, as you know, I have lived for the last 35 years to challenge Seedy’s big blew logic. After reading his last missive, I suspect he was pulling for the Izzo’s Sunday.

    CDK…do you really think he chased-off any of these guys–or don’t you really think most, if not all of them, left because they didn’t want to put forth the effort he demands to be a Card…esp’ly without the reward of PT….if you KNOW something different, let me know…

    ….as for Mac W and some of the truly poor players he inherited from Denny’s last few crops, well, no coach trying to win titles could win with those dudes. Denny sure couldn’t…..
    ….as for Agau and Gill, I think both left for more PT…Rick was honest with them both as he was with Angel and PJ…
    ….SVT is an odd story. He did nothing but look goofy for 2 years, but figured out his role and became a solid, but limited contributor for his last 2 years….good for all parties that he figured it out…

    Blind…he is for sure a drama queen, no question. I didn’t say he was/is perfect. But if you aren’t going to cheat/play into the shoe company game, what else can you do other than try to be bigger than life to attract the players you can get?

    Birdie…his lack of interest in getting sucked into the shoe company/ AAU filth explains his recruiting “failures” IMHO…

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