Addenda: Richard Pitino, Jr. and Ralph Willard

Richard Pitino, Jr. has a little different take than his dad on his decision to leave the University of Louisville basketball team for a similar position at the University of Florida in a Gator Sports report:

Richard Pitino, Jr.
Richard Pitino, Jr.

“Yeah, he likes to make it sound like it was his decision,” the younger Pitino said, then added with emphasis. “I decided to leave.”

The comment was made not to disrespect his father, the only coach in college basketball history to lead three different programs to the Final Four. It was just meant to signify that, though grateful for the opportunities that his dad gave him, the 26-year-old Pitino is his own man with his own vision.

“It was hard because that was probably the first time in my life I had to make a life-changing decision like that,” he said. “Every other move I had made was kind of stepping up and it was a no-brainer. But everyone kind of told me the same thing, do what’s right for you in your career. And I thought it was right for me to get out and learn under another guy.”

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Ralph Willard, the new assistant to Rick Pitino, obviously had a few more issues to consider than just working with his best friend when making his decision to leave Holy Cross, via his blog:

“With this continuity of success has come challenges in scheduling all successful mid-majors face. Two factors have magnified this problem for us. We are in what is considered a low major conference, with only 14 conference games, that requires us to go out and schedule 15 non conference games. We also play a so-called match-up defense, that requires a special preparation, that teams would rather not play against in the non conference schedule. I say so-called match-up, because for the last four years it has basically been a 2-3 zone, that varies slightly with each opponent, and a switching man to man. However the fact that in our four NCAA and one NIT appearance we have been able to largely negate any opponents physical superiority, by causing them to think on offense, the defense has taken on a life of its own.

“This spring we called 131 BCS and mid major schools for games that said no. To be fair, some just didn’t have matching open dates, but the vast majority simply did not want to play against the match-up. When George Blaney, a Holy Cross alum and head coach for 22 years, told me at a charity golf tournament we were both at, that “we (UCONN) will never schedule you”, I guess that crystallizes the problem. It is a perception that creates a reality that I don’t see an answer for. It is untenable going forward.”

Read the rest of Willard’s blog comments here.

Derrick Caracter Update

So how is Derrick Caracter doing these days? Last we heard, the former University of Louisville basketball player had transferred to play for Texas-El Paso and coach Tony Barbee in Conference USA. Here’s the scoop from the Hoop Scoop Blog:

Caracter is still in El Paso after transferring in the middle of last season.

Barbee said that Caracter practiced with the team the second semester and hasn’t been a problem thus far.

“I have a lot of respect for the kid because with all the hype, he could have just packed his bags and gone overseas and made $100,000 or whatever,” Barbee said. “But he doesn’t want to go down that road. He wants to prove everyone wrong.”

Caracter, who has a year and a half of eligibility left, has dropped weight and is down to around 300 pounds. Ultimately, he needs to get down to around 275.

Barbee said he bikes to school from his off-campus apartment every day.

Losing weight again, good to know.

T-Will Get Ready

Remarkable, all the work, the reproving of themselves that former college basketball stars like Terrence Williams, from the University of Louisville, have to do to get ready for the National Basketball Association draft. Hang in there T-Will, only a couple of weeks away, June 25th at Madison Square Garden.

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Remember Doris Burke, the ESPN commentator who impresses few viewers with her oratory during women’s basketball games and even fewer during football games? Pat Forde apparently doesn’t want to included among the few, as indicated in his tweet about her chirping after a recent game:


Siena A Blur? How About Some Highlights

The win over Sienna a blur, switching back and forth between two TV stations and Slingbox, with wife, son, and three grandkids all huddled around the laptop on the floor at one point, demanding, praying, hoping, wishing CBS had people with common sense making the broadcasting feed decisions.

Grandson Koby was getting baptized over the weekend so it was off to Murray, in far Western Kentucky, far from Louisville TV stations, the only sources available in Nashville and Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

The Louisville game was not available in the second half on either station so we crank up Slingbox which enables you to watch Louisville TV stations on the computer. The viewing is far from great but at least you can see the game.

We were able to watch the second half on Slingbox, at least until Siena made its run. Then even the Louisville feed was interrupted for other games. WHAS radio in Western Kentucky? Are you kidding? And, believe it or not, junior doesn’t have a radio and we weren’t going to leave our lucky seats and sit in a car, knowing that WHAS is a myth in that part of the state, as is the U of L radio network. The only option available was waiting, waiting and waiting for the tiny scores to change at the top of the screen, methodically, magically bending U of L’s way.

That was when Terrence Williams was turning in the performance of his career, carrying Louisville on his back, taking over the game, T-Willing it to happen.

The sad thing was that even most University of Louisville fans, watching their game in their own family rooms at home, missed his dazzling heroics. Here are a few highlights (not enough of T-Will’s, some of those are mythical, buried deep in the recesses of our collective heart):

Get The Darts Ready — The man responsible for all the network cutaways from the Louisville-Siena game was Mike Aresco, executive vice president of programming at CBS, who is sadly lacking in a basic understanding of his target audience, denying Louisville fans a chance to see their team successfully struggle for its basketball life. Some on his staff forgot to tell him that Louisville has the highest percentage of college basketball viewers in America, and the vast majority of them are U of L fans.

Mike Aresco earned the ire of U of L fans.

No Doze: Louisville 60, St. John’s 47

Another sleepy Sunday afternoon. Mediocre opponent. Neutral court. Poor shooting. Jerry Smith not starting. Terrence Williams not hitting. Been there.

Back to the big city, home territory for Earl Clark, Edgar Sosa, and Will Scott and the hangout for many Rick Pitino contacts. Madison Square Garden, scene of 10 losses in the last 11 visits.

Not pretty, but not déjà vu. Not this trip.

The jovial part of T-Will missing.  Hitting three free throws for his only points but keeping his head up and into the game, knowing he’s the leader this time around, seven rebounds and eight assists. Invaluable.

Jerry Smith, he of the slow feet, hitting 11 of 11 free throws and leading all scorers with 21 points. Not starting, but not riding the bench much either, Pitino recognizing that he is indispensable in this kind of game.

Samardo Samuels unveiling some new moves, collecting nine points before catching an elbow in the mouth, losing two teeth, heading to a New York hospital for oral surgery. Pitino with his New York connections probably getting prompt medical attention for him. No sitting around in Manhattan emergency waiting rooms.

Terrence Jennings checking in, needing to be a force, playing big, pulling down the rebounds Louisville had to have, winding up with seven of them, five on the offensive end. Providing exactly the kind of raw talent and strength Louisville needed in a bruising toughest.eam-wins kind of game.

Andre McGee stepping back, sinking a 15-footer, giving the Cards an eight-point lead, making a three-possession game at the 1:57 mark.

Earl Clark making only two turnovers, progress. Twelve points and eight rebounds. Still, would have been a good day in front of family and friends to put the team on his shoulders. Maybe next time, has to happen soon, running out of regular season.

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