October 10, 2014 Louisville, Kentucky (Analyzed Sports)
Slick Rick Voices His Opinion
University of Louisville Men’s head basketball coach, Rick Pitino, is quite the character. Pitino, who is entering into his 14th season as head coach at U of L, has always been one of the media’s favorite sports figures to target. In Wednesday’s press conference Pitino didn’t leave them disappointed, asking numerous questions about multiple subjects.
Pitino began the press conference introducing some of Louisville’s newest players in freshmen Quentin Snider, Jaylen Johnson, Shaqquan Aaron, and Chinanu Onuaka. Pitino also discussed his plans on redshirting 7 footers’ Matz Stockman and Anas Mahmoud. He went on to say sophomore forward, Akoy Agua, just returned from practice after suffering a sports hernia injury. Pitino implied that he expects a lot out of senior guard Chris Jones stating, “He has been remarkable, I call him Mighty Mouse.” Pitino also joked on former U of L guard and current New Orleans Pelicans player, Russ Smith saying that the team will now “have an offense”.
Pitino then shocked a lot of people when he talked about how he handles University of Kentucky fans. Pitino implied that when UK fans try to approach him he usually responds saying “Go Cats”, but then the fans walk away. Pitino also went out to say this “The reason I never knock Kentucky is I have too much respect for the players I coached for 8 years”. One would think that this would have been the highlight of the press conference but it wasn’t, it would be what Pitino discussed after this that would leave reporters to ponder their thoughts.
Former U of L basketball recruit ,Antonio Blakeney who originally had tweeted in early September that he would be joining U of L in 2015, decommitted from the school nearly a week and a half later after . Rumors had been circulating that the main reason Blakeney decommitted from the Ville is because U of L isn’t endorsed by Nike. Although Pitino didn’t say if his comments were specific to Blakeney, he had this to say about players committing to schools due to shoe endorsements. ” I never thought shoes would be the reason you recruit players. It’s a factor. I think we need get shoe companies out of kids’ lives. The players don’t come (and say anything about the shoe companies) but it’s the outside influences…I think it needs to be cleaned up.” Now the question Pitino raises is how could the NCAA even monitor such a thing?
Although it can’t be determined rather a player goes to a certain college due to shoe endorsements, it does make you ponder as to why did Blakeney have a change of heart about being a Cardinal. Also it raises the question as to if players are likely to sign with a school who is endorsed by Nike or Adidas. Either way Pitino went on to say that he is happy with what Adidas has done for U of L and looks forward to the upcoming basketball season. Louisville will have its annual Red and White Scrimmage on October 19th at the KFC Yum Center. Click here to see Pitino’s press conference in full length.
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