Pitinos ready for father-son showdown
by C.L. Brown, USA TODAY Sports
Informed Sports Illustrated wanted to do a feature on Russ Smith, University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino said “he cringed.”
And when Chane Behanan earned the Big East’s Player of the Week honor for his 22-point performance against Memphis, Pitino referred to it as “a disaster waiting to happen.” He was kidding on both accounts.
“There’s so much right about this generation, so I hate to pick on it, but they just don’t handle success well,” Pitino said. “They’re great at really taking coaching. They’re tremendous people. They’re just bad at success.”
That should change, at least for Wednesday’s game against Florida International when Pitino faces his son Richard Pitino for the first time as an opponent in the 11th annual Billy Minardi Classic.
The game was named in honor of Minardi, Rick Pitino’s brother-in-law and Richard’s uncle, who passed away in the Sept. 11 attack in the World Trade Center. The elder Pitino said coaching against his son will be more emotional for the rest of the family than for the two coaches.
“I’m just real proud of him, but he’s been taught when the ball goes up, you’ve got to beat Louisville and when the ball goes up we’ve got to beat FIU,” Rick Pitino said. “We won’t be looking down at each other when the game goes on, we’re going to be concentrating on beating each other. We’re going to have a party afterwards in Billy Minardi’s honor.”
Richard Pitino, who was hired by FIU in April, recruited several current Cards. Not to mention he’ll bring former staffers Mark Lieberman, who served as both an assistant coach and director of basketball operations at U of L. Casey Stanley, FIU’s director of operations, was U of L’s assistant video coordinator last season.
Miami native Rakeem Buckles, who played the last three seasons at U of L, transferred to play for Richard Pitino. Buckles, who is also rehabbing from a torn anterior cruciate ligament knee injury, has to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. He did not make the trip with the team.
“I look forward to it because Richard recruited me, he … [For more on Pitinos ready for father-son showdown in Louisville-FIU game, click here.]