Rick Pitino signaled significant change was on the way. He didn’t promise results.
The Louisville basketball coach’s idea of change is shaking up his starting lineup, pulling two players assumed to be the most reliable and consistent. Senior Kyle Kuric and freshman Chane Behanan on the bench as the game begins, two of the team’s most reliable players.
Bring on Wayne Blackshear and Jared Swopshire, two of the most unpredictable, make them starters. That should shake things up a bit, motivate them and their teammates.
Pitino has been coaching for 35 years so we’ll have to defer to his experience. Not that we’ll ever understand much of what he does. He has a penchant for the unpredictable, doing the complete opposite of what seems logical. Usually counteracting himself on what he says he is going to do.
The man in change, the one with all the power, the one doing all the pontificating, the one with all the answers. Ask him. Just don’t expect a straight answer.
Maybe Pitino had visions of Kuric going ballistic behind the three-point line, or Behanan transforming into the Hulk. Or maybe he believed Blackshear was ready for prime time. He couldn’t have thought Swopshire would be more productive, or could he?
Peyton Siva might have seemed to be the most logical candidate for a stay on the bench. That would have been too predictable, however, and Pitino doesn’t do that. Gotta keep everybody guessing. We’ll never know whether Elisha Justice had a chance at starting or not.
Angel Nunez, remember, was also supposed to get more playing time, such a good shooter in practice. Never made to the scorer’s table.
What we do know is that there are a lot of people, including the players, who are confused, disappointed and in the dark about decisions. Some would call it lacking any clear direction.
That’s not going to change. Pitino loves to keep people guessing.