Preseason hyperbole is what Rick Pitino does. His latest wild statement came yesterday when he told Evan Daniels that he sees five or six first round draft picks on his 2017-18 roster. May I remind you: Pitino hasn’t had six first round draft picks in a decade, and he only has four players on NBA rosters right now. So to say he has six on Louisville’s current roster is a little farfetched, to say the least.
But like I said, it’s what he does. This happens every year and I wonder if Rick even realizes he does it — and that everyone mocks him.
Remember the time he said Mike Marra was the best high school shooter he’s ever seen? As preposterous as that statement was, it’s only one of many from Pitino.
Let’s look back at some of KSR’s other favorites:
2011: Chane Behanan is the best freshman he’s coached since Jamal Mashburn.
“He’s as good as any freshman I’ve coached since Mashburn,” Pitino said. “That’s about as good a statement I could possibly say. I’m very pleased with his attitude. I’m very pleased with his game.”
Pitino said the same thing about Juan Palacios back in 2005, and (shocker) neither lived up to their Mashburn hype.
2015: Seven or eight players will play in the NBA.
Let’s skip ahead to 2015 when Pitino said e his 2015-16 team had seven or eight NBA players on it.
“I think we are just scratching the surface,” Pitino told The Sporting News. “I’ve got a lot of guys right now, seven or eight guys on the team, who aren’t one-and-dones but will play in the NBA someday.”
Fact: Players from that team have played a total of five NBA games so far, all by Chinanu Onuaku in a one-week span this past May. But to be fair, Donovan Mitchell is poised for a big rookie year, so two of the “seven or eight” ain’t bad.
2015: Best team he’s coach in 40 years.
From the same season with seven or eight NBA players, Pitino told that team they are the best he’s ever coached, according to grad transfer Trey Lewis.
Lewis said in a preseason interview, “Coach Pitino says this is the best team he’s coached in 40 years. You guys don’t see how we battle everyday.”
That team went on to finish with a self-imposed postseason ban.
2016: Grand Canyon University had the best backcourt performance and the best crowd he’s ever seen.
Maybe my favorite line from Pitino hyperbole came last season when he said Grand Canyon U had the best backcourt performance he’s coached against in his 40 years of coaching.
And then in that same press conference, Pitino said Grand Canyon’s home crowd was the “toughest he’s ever faced.” He said it was better than anything he’s seen at Duke or Kentucky or anywhere else in college basketball since he’s been a coach.
What will he say next?