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#pounditThursday, January 20, 2022

Rick Pitino considering whether he wants to return to Louisville

Rick Pitino

It’s clear that the Louisville sex scandal has taken a considerable toll on Rick Pitino. The Louisville head coach is so worn down that he apparently plans to consider whether he wants to return next season.

Pitino told Yahoo! Sports’s Pat Forde that he anticipates returning, but will consider whether or not the University of Louisville is better off without him.

“The probability of me coming back is very high,” Pitino said Tuesday. “Right now I’m fatigued mentally and emotionally. It’s a matter of, is the University of Louisville better off without me? If I come to the conclusion in June or July that the school is better without me – I left the cupboard full at Kentucky, and the program didn’t miss a beat.

“Now the cupboard is full here. This is a great job. They can get a person to make people forget Rick Pitino in a day. But I have to decide, are you willing to fight and stay on? I’m willing to fight. I love teaching, love coaching, love this team. I’ve just got to get over the sadness of all this. I’m really saddened that a player of mine that I trusted and gave a break to would be involved in this. I’m saddened by it. I don’t understand any of it. I want to come back for these players. I want to come back for [incoming recruit] V.J. King, who I told I would be there. I just have to get past the sadness.”

It doesn’t sound like Pitino is going to be walking away, but he isn’t shutting the door, and that’s interesting. The scandal has clearly taken a significant toll on him, and it sounds like the recently imposed postseason ban was something of a breaking point for him, though he’d already spoken at length about the scandal beforehand. The NCAA has yet to hand down its own sanctions, though, so if Pitino returns, he may be faced with more heartache and possibly some discipline of his own.

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