Sneak peek: Sunday Pitino column

Here’s the first half of my column on Rick Pitino that will run in Sunday’s paper. Check, or (better yet) an actual paper for the rest in the morning.

Pitino looks doomed to fight ghosts

“You’re fighting ghosts, basically,” Rick Pitino said on the phone this afternoon.

He was talking about recent rumors that he was interested in the Sacramento Kings’ coaching job, but it could apply to just about any job rumor.

For the record, Pitino said he is not going to the Kings. He said he will be the University of Louisville men’s basketball coach next season. He said he hasn’t spoken with the Kings, that no one has spoken with the Kings on his behalf and that the Kings have not contacted him. He denied an ESPN report that someone from his “camp” had approached the Kings. He even denied having a camp.

He said he is not interested in an NBA job, that he is interested only in winning a national championship in the job he has.

“You don’t know where it’s stemming from,” Pitino said of the reports. “. . . I haven’t spoken to an NBA team about anything but T-Will (Terrence Williams) or Earl (Clark) since the year has ended.”

So Pitino becomes a Ghostbuster. He talks to recruits who wonder what’s going on. He issues statement after statement until the next rumor hits, when another statement is required.

“Any time a rumor that’s not true gets started, you’ve got to immediately now call,” he said.

This is Pitino’s problem. With the departure of son Richard for Florida and Pitino bringing extortion charges that resulted in a federal indictment against the estranged wife of the U of L team’s equipment manager – and the subsequent chattering that came with that – and then rumors such as this one, an appearance of uncertainty builds. And uncertainty, Pitino knows, is poison on the recruiting trail.

Yesterday he said he can’t comment on the issues that resulted in him contacting authorities in the extortion case. He has maintained a lower-than-usual profile, it could be said, the past several weeks. But you can’t do that for long against the high-profile competition he’s facing now.

“They’re going to say, ‘Because of some of the issues that Rick’s dealing with right now, maybe he wants a fresh start,'” Pitino said. “That’s the furthest thing from the truth.”

. . . The rest of this column will be available in Sunday morning’s paper or at

SHAMELESS PLUG: Receive instant updates to my blogs and occasional other updates or general worthless musings when news brakes by looking me up on Facebook or on Twitter @ericcrawford.


10 thoughts on “Sneak peek: Sunday Pitino column

  1. Well, you missed the point really, Eric. This isn’t about Pitino. This isn’t about how to fight rumors. The real story (uncovered by you, so far) is the lack of or loss of credibility for ESPN. Pitino said it isn’t true, and he has a certain credibility where his career is concerned. So the question becomes, why believe the next thing ESPN says about college basketball and its coaches?Cover that story, Eric.davidm

  2. I think I found the problem now, or the guy starting all these rumors. Some Bozich guy has your column under his name. It’s there with his picture under a blog, and its there with his name on the internet C-J.Yep, the guy is trying to steal your material Eric. Rumor has it you have already been replaced at the paper.davidm

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