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Rick Pitino: “I Think I Do Regret Leaving Kentucky”

gfx - they said itBy 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)

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Calipari Shoots Down Knicks Rumors Via Twitter

We must be closing in on April.  There’s more daylight each day.  My allergies are making me wheeze.  And John Calipari is being mentioned in connection with an NBA job.

Talk about a story getting old.

Today, Mike D’Antoni resigned as the head coach of the New York Knicks.  Each and every April it’s suggested that the Knicks — regardless of the status of their coach or GM — are about to make a run at Kentucky’s coach and offer him both roles.  Calipari’s ties to agent William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley and — by extension — to Wesley’s big name NBA clients make it a natural fit.  All in the Big Apple, basketball’s biggest stage.

But Calipari — as we say each and every spring — has to only look at Rick Pitino’s life to realize that he’s got it as good as it gets in basketball.  Pitino left UK for the Boston Celtics, his dream job.  That job turned into a nightmare, Pitino returned to the Bluegrass State as Louisville’s coach, and now he plays jester to the guy who’s currently seated on his old throne.

Coach Cal should know better than to leave Kentucky — where he’s the star — to move to the NBA where everyone on his roster would make more cash than him.  Besides, he’s practically coaching an NBA team now.

The Wildcats coach took to Twitter today to let it be known that he’s not looking for any new challenges:

“As I’ve said before, I have the greatest job in basketball at any level.  Why would I be interested in another job?

I love being the coach of the commonwealth’s team.  To that #BBN & all the recruits that are coming or want to come, I will be at Kentucky.”

Coaches lie about jobs all the time, but in this case, we’re buying what Calipari’s selling.

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