Rick Pitino is all about college basketball, thinking and breathing it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but he’s also a University of Louisville football fan, and a real believer in Charlie Strong.

When asked at a Wednesday press conference if he attends U of L football games, Pitino replied: “I do. I’m a big football fan, and I make every football game. I know we’re going to have one of the premier football teams in the country in another year. But it’s going to take that because they’re very young. Charlie Strong will recruit better than we’ve seen in a long, long time. He will recruit great players and there will be discipline.

“I look forward to seeing that day. I don’t think it’s going to happen this year because they’re  very inexperienced. But watch out the following year.”

Pitino conducted the event to discuss his basketball team’s excursion to The Bahamas next week, a trip that will include two games against Bahamian professional teams and two Red-White scrimmages. The team will depart Monday night.

“We’re looking forward to the trip and will be mixing business with pleasure,” he said. “The team is in pretty good shape physically but we haven’t accomplished much yet in practice. We’re really going to get  after it in the next few days.

The injury report:

  • In a freak accident, freshman Zach Price suffered a concussion recently at Billy Minardi Hall while getting his keys out of his pocket, blacking out and hitting his head against a door. He has been held out of practice a few days but should be ready to go by mid-October.
  • Jared Swopshire is still having groin problems and was treated at a Philadelphia hospital. Apparently scar tissue from an operation had built up and had to be repaired.
  • Rakeem Buckles’ knee injury was apparently serious because Pitino still expects Swopshire to be ready to go before Buckles.

The Dominican Republic-Kentucky Legends exhibitions:

  • “None of that’s any of our business, and we don’t pay any attention to it,” he said, but he is looking forward to having Francisco Garcia and Edgar Sosa in town.


  • Incoming freshman Angel Nunez is a candidate for a redshirt year. “He’s physically pretty weak, probably never lifted weights in his life. He has a good jump shot and I’d rather have a weak player with a good jump shot than a strong player with a bad shot.”

The late arrival of Wayne Blackshear and Kevin Ware:

  • “They’re doing very well. They had some work to finish up before they got here. It’s not unusual for some freshmen to finishing up their school work in the summer.”

Peyton Siva as a leader:

  • “He’s the best leader on the team and everybody looks to him. He may be the No. 1 person as a human being I’ve ever coached.”


  • Kyle Kuric has improved his mid-range jump shot, “we’re trying to get him out of that left corner a little more.
  • Stephan Van Treese has improved his shooting, focusing on that this summer.
  • Pitino said he would love seeing an NBA team at Freedom Hall, but scheduling wouldn’t work at KFC Yum! Center because U of L men and women’s teams have  priority. “They actually do their schedules before we do and it wouldn’t work out.”

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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.