Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pitino Staying Put

After a few days of rumors and innuendos that led many to believe Coach Rick Pitino's days at Louisville were numbered, Card fans were given reassurance that he is staying put. No Sacramento Kings, no retirement.

Louisville SID Kenny Klein and's Jeff Goodman both said yesterday that coach was neither going to coach nor interested in the Sacramento Kings opening. These are contrary to alleged confirmed reports by ESPN yesterday the said Pitino's "camp" had initiated contact with the Maloof brothers, owners of the Kings. In a release through the university, Pitino stated:

"I'm not sure how these rumors get started, but there is absolutely no truth that there has been any dialog, either directly or indirectly, with the Kings and I'm sure they would confirm that. I am not represented by an agent, I don't have a "camp," and no one representing me nor have I had any contact with the Kings. Anything else said to the contrary is false. These invalid rumors are unfair to the Kings and are misleading to the many outstanding young men we are recruiting to attend U of L. "

"I'm so proud of our players that have worked so hard to win the BIG EAST Conference regular season and tournament championships in arguably the toughest season since its inception last year. At the same time, our team has also performed very well in the classroom, earning a collective team grade point average over a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) during the past year. We have worked extremely hard to attract the type of players that have helped us reach the NCAA Elite Eight the past two seasons and have kept us among the top ten in the nation the last two seasons.

"I have great respect for the Kings, their ownership and (President for Basketball Operations) Geoff Petrie. However, I have been totally committed to U of L the past eight seasons and I am looking forward to the future more than ever. We are all very anxious for the start of next season and will concentrate our efforts on what we can control, not on what we can't."

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Perfect Storm?

I can't help but look at this picture and see Back to the Future where all the faces are dissolving of Marty McFly's family members...

The "Pitino contemplates retirement" rumors turned into "Pitino to Sacramento" rumors in a matter of hours Thursday. KentuckySportsRadio, a site that I write for on occasion, first had a post earlier in the day saying there was a "buzz" around town and unreliable Louisville sources said Pitino was "contemplating hanging them up". The posts on KSR are very pro-Kentucky, almost to propagandist levels, so I just took it as blue-bloods being blue-bloods and wrote it off.

This actually seems to have some legs. The rumor became so rampant that UofL SID Kenny Klein's inbox was flooded by people wanting answers and it prompted a call to Pitino, who is in Florida for a charity event. According to The Courier-Journal's CL Brown, Pitino shot the rumor down as bogus through Klein and told KK to tell veteran writer Rick Bozich he'd be "stuck with him" for a while and he "wasn't going anywhere". A few hours later, Adrian Wojnorowski of Yahoo! reported that there has been mutual interest shown between Pitino and the Sacramento Kings which would reunite him with Francisco Garcia. Wojno cites many NCAA and NBA sources who say that both sides have been in contact. I asked a few of my media friends how serious I should take this and it was a consensus that if Wojnorowski is reporting it, it should be taken very seriously.

Pitino is going through one of the hardest times in his life and this recent situation might have caused him to take a step back and re-evaluate a few things. One being whether he would be able to overcome such an ordeal in Louisville - the smallest big-city in America. Various sources have told me that coach took the extortion fiasco very hard (obviously) and coach needed to get away from all the rumors and constant bombardment of questions, so he left town to escape. It's purely speculation, but there's a possibility he decided it was time to explore what else is out there.

These type of rumors come around every year. Last year, it was that idiot Greg Doyell saying Pitino was going to the Miami Heat, then the Arizona rumors this year turned out to be unsubstantiated as well. This is different though. All the recent mess combined with his son leaving for Florida, and his procrastination of naming a new assistant lead me to believe he might be more interested in this than any of the previous flirtations. With continued support from his family and the fans, Coach Pitino should be here for years to come. However, he did say he wouldn't coach for another athletic director and Tom Jurich has been rumored to be flirting with some big-money from UCLA. The waves, wind and lightning look to be on the horizon.

Wojnorowski does state that Pitino isn't the only candidate and Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. As of right now, former Wizards coach Eddie Jordan is the leading candidate. So this could just be a case of a college basketball reporter looking for some work during a dead time of year and stumbling across this. Pitino has always said he would listen if anyone was interested. Whether or not he goes any further into talks remains to be seen.

We all know Pitino failed miserably in the NBA with the Celtics, but he seems like the type of person that would like to atone his mistakes. Maybe I'm paranoid (very good odds), but this looks to be a possible "perfect storm" that leaves us scratching our heads and looking for a replacement. With the new arena coming very soon, new practice facilities and great support he has here in Louisville, I don't see him going anywhere unless he wants to start anew and can't take the heat for the Sypher situation. After Bobby Petrino, John L. and Pitino at Kentucky, I'd rather err on the side of caution.

There were rumors of a possible press conference tomorrow regarding either the Pitino/Jurich situations, but none has been confirmed as of yet.

Stay tuned in for more updates....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rumor Mill: Pitino a Candidate for Sacramento Kings Job

This according to a story reported tonight on Yahoo Sports.

According to Yahoo, "it is believed that Pitino intermediaries initiated the contact," and that "several NCAA and NBA sources strongly insist that Pitino has talked by phone with at least one member of the family and has been a major topic of discussion within the organization the past week."

The Courier Journal's take on the rumor was a little less upsetting. Louisville Sports Spokesman Kenny Klien downplayed the rumors, telling the C-J Pitino is "not going anywhere."

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan is reportedly the front-runner for the job, and the Kings have also expressed an interest in Paul Westphal and Mike Fratello.

More on the saga later. Stay tuned to the L Yes! Report. Seriously. Do it.

So I Just Started Runnin'....

After the disappointing end to the basketball season I decided to take a little time off from the blogging thing to recharge my battery. I'd compare it to when Forrest Gump "just started runnin'" after Jenny left him like a thief in the night. Just too much to take and then write about it so I had to get way for the best interest of my future. It was a blown opportunity at the end of a pretty magical season followed by a fiasco that has more conspiricy theories than the JFK shooting. However, nothing should be taken away from the departing seniors (and junior) and their accomplishments this year. The bad part looks to be behind.

- I haven't touched on the Karen Sypher extortion fiasco and I won't anymore after this. I think it is very unfortunate that a coach coming on one of his best regular season's ever has top basically go into hiding because of a crazy woman who is obviously in the wrong. We should be seeing Rick on PTI and at Millionaire's Row talking about his great season and how no new coach is going to change who is on top right now. Instead, we have to hear about that stinky substance up I-64. All the rumors and speculation will continue until this woman and her accomplices are dealt with by the justice system. I have my sources about the situation and all the crazy rumors are simply that...crazy and probably started by the inhabitants of that stinky substance. Card fans should show there support for a coach that has guided us to 2 elite 8's and a final 4 in the last 5 years. If he were in the wrong, he wouldn't have gone to the FBI. Simple as that.

What's even crazier is the fact that Sypher's mom pretty much threatened Coach Pitino's life to Pat Forde in his article covering the situation. "I want to kill him for what he has done to my family". What he has done? It sounds like she's more angry about what he didn't do. Sorry Mrs. Cunagin, you're going to have to find another way to upgrade to the quarter slots and the name-brand cigarettes. This is just completely ridiculous that our coach is getting dragged around in the mud by this trash. The next news we'll hear about this is how much time the goldy-locked gold-digger and her minions are going to spend in jail.

- Pitino's next order of business will be to name a replacement for his son Richard who left to join Billy Donovan's staff at Florida. the obvious choice is former UK and NBA player Ron Mercer, who traveled closely with the team over the course of last season. Also, i have seen mercer sporting Louisville basketball gear around town, so take that for what it's worth. I can not confirm in any way if this will be the choice or not. I'm just using deductive reasoning. I think having a former pro as an assistant is great for recruiting and competition in practice, but 3 former UK players as assistants for the former Godfather of UK basketball wearing Louisville red? I never thought I'd see the day. I expect the elder Pitino, Walter McCarty and Steve Masiello to increase their recruiting workload for the time being and name an assistant sooner than later.

- It hasn't been completely confirmed, but the reasoning behind Richard's departure had nothing to do with his father's situation. By my understanding, it was just a matter of him trying to get away from the father's shoulders and make a name for himself and had been in the works for weeks. Still he will have the comfort of someone I'm sure he is familiar with in Donovan. Whether or not the extortion case pushed him away is unclear, but I believe it was just a matter of a father allowing and helping a son develop his own identity as a coach. His recruiting will be missed and as of right now all the guys he got to commit are still on board.

- Jeremy Tyler is another story. As you've probably heard, Tyler is doing something Brandon Bender mentioned in 2000 and is skipping his senior year in high school to play professional ball in Europe. I'm just glad this time the Cards have enough time to recover and sign someone close to his caliber in the 2010 class. Donte Smith, Amir Johnson and Sebastian Telfair have all burned Pitino is recent years causing him to miss out on the likes of Rajon Rondo. I thought the NBA's age limit would put an end to that, but I guess loopholes are meant to be found. Tyler would probably have been amazing in a Louisville jersey, but for how long and at what price? The days of going after kids like that should be in the past for Pitino.

- T-Will's draft stock is rising faster by the day and he is currently right inside the lottery at #13 according to The lottery selections don't come out for another couple weeks, but that spot is presently occupied by the Indiana Pacers. Depending how the ping-pong balls fall, both T-Will and Earl Clark could easily get into the top 10. Earl Clark is currently projected as the 10th overall pick to the Milwaukee Bucks. I think it would be great to see one get drafted by the New York Knicks as they continue to shave money off their salary cap in preparation to go after as many as 3 max contract superstars in 2010. LeBron, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Josh Howard, Shaq, D-Wade, and Steve Nash are just a few of the marquee names that will become free agents that year. Put E5 or T-Will with a couple of those guys and it would be must-see-tv for Cards fans. The Nets are also in a similar situation and both should have top 10 picks. With Cisco banished to the land of Vlade Divac, it would be refreshing to see one or both of those guys get drafted by a team with the potential to be on TNT with Ernie, Kenny and Charles.

- I'm back to posting the latest in the world of Cardinal sports on a daily basis. Expect updates on former players such as Larry O'Bannon and recruits such as 2010's Josh Smith, Fab Melo and Dominique Ferguson along with 2011 standouts Tony Wroten and Marquis Teague. Keep checking back for updates as long as TC's not still upset that I took a vacation and gave him the keys to this Porche.