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#pounditThursday, October 1, 2020

Articles tagged: Rick Pitino

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.

Rick Pitino, son Richard make interesting bet on WrestleMania match

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino is officially back to coaching college basketball, and he is already angling for a way to coach against his son. Apparently we may see that happen as soon as next season, and the big WrestleMania match on Sunday night could determine where the game is played.

The Pitino family is apparently filled with big wrestling fans, and Rick proposed a friendly bet to Richard on Saturday. The new Iona coach bet his son, who coaches Minnesota, that that the Gophers will have to play at Iona next season is Brock Lesnar beats Drew McIntyre. Richard Pitino responded that he doesn’t want to root against Minnesota, who is a Gophers alum, so the terms of the bet were reversed. If Lesnar wins, Iona will play at Minnesota next season — or so the two Pitinos say.

The younger Pitino joked on Sunday that he made the bet with his dad because there’s “nothing else to do.”

Rick Pitino also shared a photo of his grandkids on Saturday showing that they were ready for WrestleMania 36.

Rick was named the head coach of Iona last month, while Richard has been coaching at Minnesota since 2013. WrestleMania was pre-recorded due to the coronavirus pandemic and split into a two-night event, and the first night already featured some entertaining moments. The Pitino family will have even more to watch for on Sunday.

Casey Stanley, Tom Abatemarco joining Rick Pitino’s Iona staff

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino’s coaching staff at Iona is starting to take form.

Josh Thomson of reported on Tuesday that Casey Stanley and Tom Abatemarco are set to join Pitino’s staff.

Stanley is an assistant at Arkansas State and previously served as Rick’s video coordinator at Louisville, and Rick’s son Richard’s video coordinator at Minnesota.

Abatemarco has been a coach for over 40 years and was most recently an assistant coach at Florida Gulf Coast. As Thomson notes, Abatemarco was at Iona in the ’70s.

Rick Pitino issues statement after becoming Iona coach

Rick Pitino is heading back to college basketball, and he sounds thrilled.

The veteran coach reached an agreement with Iona to become the new basketball coach. He issued a statement after the news was confirmed, suggesting that he plans for this to be his final coaching stop.

A deal between Pitino and Iona came together quickly on Saturday, and Pitino gets his return to college after being fired over the Louisville recruiting scandal in 2017. He had claimed he didn’t want to come back to the college ranks, but this makes it pretty clear it was his dream all along.

Report: Rick Pitino in talks about Iona head coach job

Rick Pitino

Over two years after leaving college basketball, Rick Pitino may be on his way back.

According to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, Pitino has informed his Panathinaikos players that he is returning to college basketball, and has already left Greece.

Furthermore, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported that Pitino has begun negotiations with Iona for the school’s head coach job.

Pitino had been linked to the Iona job once it came open. While it’s mid-major basketball, it is in the New York area that Pitino knows well.

The former Louisville coach, who lost his job due to a recruiting scandal, has been coaching in Greece since 2018. He had claimed that he wouldn’t return to college basketball, but that was always likely to change if the right offer came his way. Perhaps this is that offer.

Rick Pitino says he tried to convince Knicks to draft Donovan Mitchell in 2017

Donovan Mitchell

The New York Knicks may have had their undisputed franchise player by now if they had just taken some advice that was given to them a couple years ago.

Appearing Wednesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio, ex-Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said that he tried to convince the Knicks to draft Donovan Mitchell, who played for him on the Cardinals, with the No. 8 overall pick in 2017.

The Knicks replied that they could not take Mitchell that high and drafted Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 pick instead. Mitchell then went to the Utah Jazz at No. 13.

The 23-year-old Mitchell has since become a centerpiece for the Jazz and one of the top scoring 2-guards in the league. Ntilikina, meanwhile, has yet to pan out for the Knicks in his third year, doing well defensively but averaging just 5.8 points per game for his career.

The Knicks have definitely been roasted for draft-related reasons before, and while hindsight is 20/20, it has clearly been a pattern for multiple years.

Rick Pitino wants to land NBA role, will not return to Greece next season

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino recently said he was planning to return to Greece to coach Panathinaikos next season if his children were on board with it, and the Hall of Fame coach has decided not to go that route.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Pitino has turned down an offer to return as president and head coach of Panathinaikos, as he is hoping to earn a full-time role with an NBA team. He said he is open to coaching or working in a player personnel or advisory role.

Panathinaikos was 7-0 when Pitino was named head coach, and he led the team to a perfect 15-0 record and a Greek Cup title. The 66-year-old said earlier this month that he is prepared to give up college basketball forever if he returns to Greece to coach next season and that he would make a decision after speaking with his kids. He previously insisted he was not interested in leaving Europe for a college job, and that still appears to be the case.

Pitino is one of the best college coaches of all time. He has won two national championships — one in 1996 and Kentucky and another in 2013 with Louisville, which was vacated. He was fired by Louisville in Oct. 2017 after being involved in a scandal involving the payment to a recruit who ended up at the school. He previously got into trouble with the NCAA and had a championship and Final Four appearance vacated over a sex scandal.

Pitino, 66, had two separate coaching stints in the NBA. He coached the Knicks for two seasons from 1987-1989 and then coached the Celtics from 1997-2001 before resigning in the middle of his fourth season. It’s unclear if there will be any interest in him from NBA teams, though he was linked to one head coaching vacancy last month.