By capturing a national championship in 1996, Rick Pitino will always have a place in Kentucky basketball history. But jumping back into the pro game for a second time and then moving on to archrival Louisville has altered the view of the Pitino legacy in the eyes of many UK fans. Now years after he made the decision to leave Kentucky for the Boston Celtics, Pitino admits feeling regret.
Appearing on a Miami radio station Friday, Pitino was asked if he regretted going to the NBA.
“No. I loved going to the Knicks because we won the Atlantic Division championship. We went from winning 21 games or 19 games to winning 52 games in a short period of time. I loved coaching Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley and all those guys. I think I do regret leaving Kentucky because I took over a team with 15 wins banking everything on the Tim Duncan lottery, and once we didn’t get Tim Duncan I realized that leaving Kentucky was not a good move.”
Pitino spent four years in Boston before joining Louisville in 2001. (Hat tip – College Basketball Talk)