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Rick Pitino looks back at recruiting hits and misses

nazr-si

ESPN’s Dana O’Neil continues what is turning out to be a very cool series of posts of various questions asked of NCAA coaches at the Peach Jam with a look at recruiting hits and misses over the years.  There are some cool stories within the blog post, including Providence being forced to turn down Tim Duncan and Western Kentucky deciding JJ Barea was too small.  O’Neil also talked with Rick Pitino, who offered up his responses, which both turned out to be very good for Wildcat fans.

Mr. Three Stacks, your response:

Rick Pitino, Louisville

The one that got away: Rajon Rondo. “We took Sebastian Telfair instead. We should have waited. I always loved Rondo. He was at my camp every year, but a point guard had never gone directly to the NBA so I didn’t see that coming with Telfair. And then not only did we lose [Rondo], we lost him to a bitter rival.”

The best discovery: Nazr Mohammed. “He was probably the worst high school player I’ve ever seen. I remember I went to his high school and his coach said, ‘Rick Pitino, what are you doing in my gym? Antoine Walker isn’t walking through that door.'”

O’Neil unfortunately didn’t talk with Billy Gillispie, who could have provided some of the greatest answers ever recorded on ESPN.com, but overall it’s a nice little article.  ESPN’s Dave Telep even did a bit of the same thing, though he didn’t ask coaches.  He just gave his own thoughts.  Together, Telep and O’Neil prove yet again that recruiting is an inexact science.  Unless you’re John Calipari.

Go Cats.

Article written by Thomas Beisner

16 Comments for Rick Pitino looks back at recruiting hits and misses



  1. ZZbottom
    2:48 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    I think one of his worst hits was what’s her name in the italian place



  2. Pick Ratino
    2:55 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    1. Actually, that was one of my worst misses…..right down my pants leg!!



  3. mocha
    2:55 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    “antoine walker isn’t walking through that door”
    classic quote.
    i can see twan shimmying through the door.



  4. mocha
    2:59 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    revised article just posted on espn.com:

    Rick Pitino, Louisville

    The one that got away: Karen Sypher. “We took a seat at Porcini’s instead. We should have waited. I always loved the backseat of my car. She was at my camp every year, but a true hooker had never gone directly to the a restaurant with me before so I didn’t see that coming with her. And then not only did we lose [my dignity], we lost it in under 15 seconds.”

    The best discovery: Porcini’s. “That place was probably the worst Italian restaurant I’ve ever seen. I remember I went to their grand opening and the manager said, ‘Rick Pitino, what are you doing in my restaurant? Karen Sypher isn’t walking through that door.’”



  5. SexnNursinHomes
    3:07 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    4- hahahahahaha



  6. Sheeq weefed
    3:20 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    4. Yes, Pitino definitely “missed” on Karen Sypher, unless he intended on ejaculating on himself.



  7. Jack
    3:41 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    Same ol’ slick Rick comment. So the high school coach says “Antoine Walker is not walking through that door”…….what, four/five years before Pitino’s infamous Boston press conference that coined the phrase. Sure he did.



  8. JMFATZ47
    4:00 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    UNC’s biggest miss has got to be John Wall. They didn’t even recruit him.



  9. JMFATZ47
    4:01 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    And UNC went to the NIT that season….mainly due to poor play at the PG position



  10. dan
    4:11 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    I just realized that no matter what Pitino does he is never going to live that down. Not that the world needs any help from Kentucky fans but Sypher, Porcini’s, 15 seconds, sticky leg, and admitting to it all is going to haunt him for the rest of his career, life, and may even end up in his obituary. Talk about a career ending event.

    But maybe sticky ricky should’ve gave a shout out to Roderick Rhodes in all this. At least give him a few props since he ran him off to open up a scholly for Mercer.



  11. pastor_fuzz
    4:15 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    just sayin’…….never ever pull out. But I wonder what Cal would say his biggest miss and best discoveries where..



  12. DaveA
    5:51 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    I remember when Nazr came to UK. He was HUGE — slow, and kind of a joke. Everybody knew he was a project, but we knew Rick must have seen something in him. Everyone would cheer and giggle when he’d take the floor. NOBODY thought he’d go pro after three years. I remember a story that his dad used to make him drink a gallon of milk a day…..



  13. DaveA
    5:53 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink


  14. Doug
    5:54 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    Cal does not let them get away.. he would have NO ANSWER #11..GO BIG BLUE!!



  15. Ira Tatum
    8:32 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    “Bittuh rival”……isn’t that phrase a cover up for Karen Sypher? My GOT ! He had the most success in Lexington. A UofL coach – just pandering to the birds.



  16. The Vacater
    3:33 am July 23, 2011 Permalink

    John Calipari, The Ones that Got Away:

    1. Having a three point-lead in the 2008 National Championship game versus Kansas and failing to foul. KU buries a triple, sends the game to overtime and wins the National Championship. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered if Calipari’s Memphis would have won…the entire season was vacated and erased from existence by the NCAA.

    2. Being the No. 1 Ranked Team in the Nation (UMass) in 1996 and losing to Rick Pitino’s eventual National Champions in the Final Four. To note, Calipari has yet to defeat Pitino when it matters, in the postseason. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered if Calipari’s UMass would have won…that Final Four was also vacated by the NCAA and erased from existence.