Some of us quickly lose track of players who depart the University of Louisville early for the professional ranks. Hard to let go of Francisco Garcia, such a fan favorite who endured and accomplished much with the Cards.

Garcia turned in a double-double in the Sacramento Kings’ five-point loss to the Indiana Pacers over the weekend, chalking up 22 points, three three-pointers, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals in 45 minutes. Francisco, who is currently averaging 13.8 points and 29 minutes per game, had some interesting things to say about his former college coach in an interview with Hoops World:

Coming from Louisville, how does playing for a coach like Rick Pitino prepare you for the NBA?

“He prepared me really good, especially mentally. I learned to just wait for my time, and when the opportunity comes, to take advantage of it.”

He didn’t really have much success on the pro level, but he guided your 2005 team to the Final Four. Why do you think he’s such a better college coach than pro coach?

“I think he’s a very emotional guy, and in the NBA you can’t be that emotional. In college, players are going to listen to you when you get that emotional.”

Moving forward, what’s the future you and the Kings?

“I don’t know. I’m happy here, and I’m just enjoying my time.”

Glad to hear it, Franciso. It’s a shame you guys play most of your games on Pacific Standard Time.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.