Rick Pitino’s speech at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Sunday was, on scale of 10, a six. But, as ever Da Coach had notables. Last among them, presenter Dick Vitale was limited to head nodding.
• “If a person has five great friends in life,” Pitino said, “then I’m Warren Buffett. I’ve had and have so many.”
• “Being at Louisville has taught me what true family is about. Tom (Jurich, the UofL athletics director) is my best friend.”
Note: Without naming him, Pitino included his sports information director for praise. Kenny Klein has long been one of the best in his profession and remarkably adept doing his work and staying in the background.
• Jamal Mashburn came to Kentucky “because his mother told him he was going play for that Knicks coach. I told him I wasn’t the Knicks coach anymore and he said, ‘She said that doesn’t matter. I’m playing for you.’”
• “Being at Kentucky (eight years) was different than anything I ever experienced. Coaching there taught me how to deal with pressure. Was eight years of Hall of Fame experience.”
• “We won a national championship. Then, one of my brilliant assistants took over and won another (Tubby Smith).”
• Then, as often happens with Pitino full of himself, he fired a couple shots at Kentucky.
1. While at UK he said he literally delivered his daughter. “They don’t care about malpractice down there anyway.”
2. Going to meet C.M. Newton about the UK job, Pitino told his wife he was “going on vacation.” She replied, “Who goes to Kentucky for a vacation?”
Tyler Ulis, a 5-9 point guard at Heights Marian Catholic in Chicago, visited Lexington last weekend. His college list: Kentucky, Michigan or Iowa.
Lansing State Journal columnist Graham Couch injected himself into the Ulis recruiting process. An excerpt.
“… know what you’re getting yourself into,” Couch told Ulis in print. “And know that your odds of a relevant college career — even if not a national championship — are better with the Spartans or Hawkeyes. Not because you can’t play at Kentucky, but because you’re more likely to be simply the flavor of the day there, than elsewhere.
“Kentucky is home to the oneand done player, a hoops haven for those destined for the NBA quickly.”
And so it goes.