Thursday, May 20, 2004

Rick Pitino: Pud

Well, two college-related posts in as many days, but with the draft coming up and all you should probably expect more. Between that and the playoffs, I don't think I've talked about the Bulls in weeks. Just to fill you in, they aint doing much.

So on to Pitino. I've been meaning to get to this since I read Yoni's post at Collegeball. He's been reporting on some of the early entries going into the draft, so check it out if you to be one of the 16 people in the country who knows these prospects. The early-entrant that caught my eye was JuCo swingman Donta Smith, but it wasn't because he entered, it was Pitino's reaction to it:

"It could be one of the five worst moves I've ever seen," Pitino said, "If it's the right decision, I'll tell a player I have no problem with it. This one I totally disagree with. Somebody is giving him advice who doesn't know anything about the game of basketball. When young people listen to the wrong people, they almost always make poor decisions. This was very poor judgment, He never called and discussed it with me. I couldn't be more upset with the player, and I'm very, very disappointed with the (junior-college) coach. That's as poor a leadership from the coach as I've ever seen. It's disappointing for (Smith), because he had a bright future ahead of him if he'd made the right decision."

Wow coach, that's ice cold. I understand that this may not be the best idea for the kid, as Smith is projected by  to go in the middle of the second round. But I seem to remember someone else who made a bad decision in going to the Pros. And what really bothers me-as you can see by the fancy bold text above- is Pitino's tone. Slick Rick fails to realize that this is Smith's choice, not his. A bad choice? maybe, but this is his career and his life we're talking about. Try and show him some support or at least respect by toning down the supposed 'outrage'.

Oh wait, maybe it isn't Smith's career that Pitino's worried about, but instead his Louisville squad? After all, Sebastian Telfair was another recruit who jumped to the draft instead of playing for Rick. So along with Telfair, now a touted JuCo transfer like Smith isn't going to Louisville, getting Pitino another big season to retain his standing as the big man on campus? More wins, more pub from ass-kissers, perhaps another bonus? No, that couldn't be what Pitino's upset about at all...

I'm sure Rick and Dick and others will be among the 'I told you so' crowd if Donta Smith gets selected in the second round. It means no guaranteed contract, and an immense uphill battle to establish yourself in the league. They will have the point that Smith's draft status could've risen after a year with Pitino. But you know what? At least Smith wouldn't have to spend a year of his life playing for someone who obviously couldn't care less about him.

Note: If you want to read more of my ramblings on the NCAA, check out this post from 2 months ago.