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#pounditSunday, October 2, 2022

Articles tagged: Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino dropping hint about Donovan Mitchell’s future?

Donovan Mitchell warming up

Dec 7, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) warms up prior to their game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Mitchell’s former college coach had a little something to say this week about the Utah Jazz guard.

Rick Pitino, who coached Mitchell at the University of Louisville, spoke with reporters Tuesday and said Mitchell would “love” to be a New York Knick.

“Donovan’s dad works for the [New York] Mets, his mom obviously works at Greenwich Country Day [School, near the New York border],” said Pitino, per Adam Zagoria of NJ.com. “Donovan loves the Knicks, Donovan loves being around his mom, his sister, his dad.

“Donovan works out for [trainer] Chris Brickley who also played for me in New York City,” added Pitino, who himself was head coach of the Knicks from 1987 to 1989. “Donovan would treasure, he would love to be a New York Knick.”

This is one of the few indications of Mitchell’s actual mindset that we have gotten. The three-time All-Star has obviously been constantly linked to the Knicks all summer, but much of it has been conjecture based on Mitchell’s ties to the area and the interest in Mitchell coming from the Knicks’ side.

Of course, Mitchell can desire the Knicks all he wants. But what will really matters is if the Knicks can pony up a return package that the Jazz deem to be acceptable for Mitchell. Based on recent reporting, it seems there is still plenty of work to do on that front.

Rick Pitino could be candidate for big college coaching vacancy?

Rick Pitino

A new set of rumors indicates that Rick Pitino could once again find himself coaching in a power conference at some point in the near future.

A report on “The Sports Junkies” radio show on 106.7 The Fan in Washington claimed Wednesday that Pitino is being “heavily pursued” by Maryland. Last week, Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports had named Pitino as a “wildcard” candidate for the position when discussing potential hires.

Hiring Pitino would certainly be controversial. He is currently in his second season at Iona, and has the Gaels well-positioned for a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The 69-year-old is one of the most accomplished college coaches still active, and has over 800 wins to his name. Of course, Pitino also has a spotty record behind the scenes, and lost his job at Louisville over allegations that he was involved in a recruiting bribery scheme.

Pitino was said to be the subject of interest of another Big Ten school last year, but he shot that down in no uncertain terms. That said, he’s made bold statements before that did not come true, and it’s tough to imagine him turning Maryland down if the Terps really do come calling.

Maryland is in the hunt for a replacement for Mark Turgeon, who stepped down from the head coaching position in December.

Rick Pitino rooting for former assistant coach in Final Four

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino has a rooting interest in the Final Four thanks to one of his former assistant coaches.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin was an assistant to Pitino at Louisville from 2001-2003. He’s been very successful since then, reaching the NCAA Tournament with Murray State and finding further success with Cincinnati and UCLA. Pitino made clear Wednesday he’s pulling for Cronin with the Bruins in the Final Four.

It’s been a pretty solid tournament for Pitino proteges. Alabama’s Nate Oats, who has openly spoken of his admiration for Pitino, actually faced Pitino in the first round and won.

Cronin has been making headlines for all the right reasons this March. Maybe he has a little bit of Pitino’s old magic behind him.

Here is what Rick Pitino said about the Indiana job

Rick Pitino

The Indiana Hoosiers are looking for a new head basketball coach after firing Archie Miller this week. Rick Pitino has done so well at Iona and has such a history of strong performances, that his name has come up for the job.

But the 68-year-old coach says he is not a candidate for the job.

Jeff Goodman believes Pitino is indicating that he has a huge buyout from Iona.

Pitino heading to Indiana given the NCAA trouble he’s had seems like it would be a real longshot. If Indiana wants to go with a proven veteran coach who is available, there is one who is already favored to get the job.

Rick Pitino makes history as Iona clinches surprise tournament bid

Rick Pitino

The Iona Gaels, coached by Rick Pitino, are going dancing.

The Gaels, who were the ninth seed in the MAAC Tournament, defeated Fairfield 60-51 on Saturday to secure the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It’s quite the story for multiple reasons, among them Pitino joining elite company in taking a fifth different school to the Big Dance.

Iona’s season has been marked by multiple COVID-19 pauses. The Gaels didn’t play any games between Dec. 23 and Feb. 12, but won the conference tournament anyway. In fact, their low seeding was not because the team struggled, but because they entered the tournament having played only nine conference games.

Pitino has been embroiled in multiple NCAA scandals, which cost him his job at Louisville and essentially forced him into exile in the Greek league. This was his first year as coach at Iona, and the team had to overcome a lot of hurdles to get where they did Saturday. Like him or not, there’s a reason Pitino is regarded as one of the best coaches in the business.

Rick Pitino suggests ‘May Madness’ to ‘save’ college basketball season

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino is concerned about whether the college basketball season can be played on schedule, and he has some suggestions to try to help that process.

With ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic — and a spate of cancellations in college football this weekend — Pitino suggested that the start of the season be delayed. Pitino believes it is “impossible” to play right now, but thinks it would be doable with the institution of a conference-only schedule and “May Madness.”

Pitino’s idea is just one of many that could be implemented for the season. There have been others that are far more radical.

The 68-year-old Pitino is about to embark on his first season as head coach at Iona, his first job since being forced out at Louisville due to NCAA rules violations.

Rick Pitino praises Knicks’ ‘great’ coaching hires

Rick Pitino

Count Rick Pitino among those who are very happy with the direction of the New York Knicks.

Pitino went out of his way on Twitter Saturday to praise the Knicks’ recent coaching moves. He not only gave plaudits to the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, but he also was pleased with the addition of Kenny Payne as an assistant.

If the Knicks turn it around quickly, it appears that you heard it from Pitino first.

Pitino, now the head coach at Iona, is a New Yorker, and he coached the Knicks for two seasons. He wants to see them do well. If they’d taken his advice three years ago, they’d probably be in a lot better shape, but better late than never.

Rick Pitino offers suggestion for college basketball season

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino offered a few suggestions Wednesday for how the NCAA should run the 2020-2021 college basketball season.

Pitino, who was named Iona’s head coach in March, thinks the NCAA should push back the start of the season to January and only play conference games.

The college basketball season typically begins in early November and crowns a Division-I champion in April after the NCAA Tournament ends. This year, the NCAA Tournament and most conference tournaments were canceled due to COVID-19.

College football is planning and attempting to play a season this fall. Whether college football and college basketball are able to play seasons in the upcoming academic year remains to be seen.

Iona standing by Rick Pitino after Louisville notice of allegations

Rick Pitino

Louisville’s latest round of potential NCAA violations has Rick Pitino under the microscope again.

On Monday, Louisville received a notice of allegations from the NCAA accusing the school of breaking rules relating to the recruitment of Brian Bowen. The letter charges Pitino directly with a Level II violation for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance at the school.

Pitino was recently hired by Iona, and the school released a statement backing its new basketball coach.

Bowen’s recruitment led to the end of Pitino’s Louisville tenure. The coach was fired after a federal investigation alleged that an Adidas executive paid Bowen $100,000 to commit to Louisville. Pitino maintained innocence, and continues to do so.

Iona knew what it was signing up for by hiring Pitino. Don’t expect them to cut ties over this or anything else that may have happened at his previous college job.

Rick Pitino wants his Iona team to face Kentucky

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino has big plans for his Iona basketball team.

The new head coach of the Gaels is ready and willing to face off against Kentucky in a true road game provided the Wildcats return the favor and face Iona at Madison Square Garden as part of a home-and-home.

Pitino has a long history with Kentucky. He spent eight years as coach there and won a national title, then spent time at rival Louisville. Beyond that, he’s clearly eager to challenge the best, even before coaching a game in his new job. That’s why he’s making bets with his son, too.