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oof

Rick Pitino, Quite Definitively, Will Not Be Coaching the Nets

Last night, St. John's had a breakthrough game, trouncing Louisville 74–55 at the Garden, dealing a severe blow to the Cardinals' NCAA hopes and taking the heat off St. John's coach Norm Roberts, at least for one night. (The breakthrough game is a bit too late, wethinks.) But the game is not what people wanted to talk about.; they wanted to talk about Rick Pitino. Before the game, he gave everyone plenty to work with.

Watching all those reports of Pitino seeking the Nets job that swirled yesterday obviously worked up some bile in the Louisville coach's gullet. So, on the Big East media conference call, he denied that he ever wanted the Nets job in as strident a fashion as you can imagine.


So what do you do when you're tired and worn out? You don't go to the Caribbean, you don't go to the Bahamas, you take the New Jersey Nets job where they've won four games. Just think of the rationale behind the whole thing. If you're going to get rejuvenated you don't take over the Nets."

Well, the Nets didn't want you anyway, Rick! Actually, according a "Hackensack paper," they want Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and, amusingly, Kentucky coach John Calipari, who of course coached the team more than a decade ago, poorly. It's unlikely he'll take the job, but if he does, here's hoping none of team's beat reporters are Latino/a.

After the game last night, Pitino remained all angrylike, perhaps because his team had just been trounced by St. John's. Pitino told a press room full of reporters that not only did he have no interest in coaching in the NBA —

(despite the facts:

1. his team's not good
2. he has an embarrassing situation breathing down his neck
3. and his nemesis right next door at his rival school)

but his feelings were downright hurt by the vicious rumors. So he just wants to set the record straight:

When someone speaks an untruth, it's a little bit of a distraction. I just want to concentrate on coaching and playing and when people just say untruths it bothers you certainly, but there's no truth to it and I know there's speculation about it but there's no truth so why do people print it?

Who cares whether I'm interested ... I'm not that significant that anybody should care where I want to coach anything. I've been at Louisville [for] nine years, I hope to go to 65 and I hope it's at Louisville and I hope they want to have me. Who knows after tonight,
they might want me to go coach a pro team. But that hasn't been the case, so it's just a distracting nuisance, because you don't want to deal with that; you just want to deal with x's and o's. I worked my ass off in the last two weeks traveling to obscure places every single night after practice, 18 hours in recruiting and we're coming in with one of the most talented junior classes in the country and now I have to call every single one of them and say it's total nonsense, and not to pay attention to it. I'm telling them I'll be at Louisville 'til I die so why do you [he's ranting towards the media now] have to go and do that? So it's just a meaningless distraction to a very difficult game of recruiting.

By the way, in case you were wondering what Pitino thought of St. John's:

I'm going to be honest. If I'm a recruit and you have a 48 hour visit. You go to Connecticut. Marquette has an awesome practice facility. And now you come visit Louisville and Louisville has a $350 million facility being erected just for college basketball. You have beautiful dormitories ... So I'm just guessing [at St. John's[ facilities are nowhere near what the rest of us have. So it's tough, it's tough for St. John's to attract those kids on a 48-hour visit.

So that appears to mean he doesn't want that job, either.

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Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images