Every UK fan out there who's over 30 knows that Rick Pitino is about as slick as they come when it comes to "coach speak". We've all seen hundreds of instances of Rick saying things in a way clearly meant to deliver a message, or in this case, offer up an excuse.
I'll be the first to say that I like Rick Pitino and enjoy these sorts of media games. I'm always entertained by how Rick (and he's not the only coach to do this) is able to smile on camera and say something that pretty much EVERYONE knows he doesn't really believe. I found his interview on the subject of William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley to be a great example of this.
Before you read any further, I suggest you watch this short video which is the catalyst for this blog.... Click the "read more" link to see the embedded video.
While there is no denying that William Wesley is a very connected individual in the world of basketball, it's absolutely hilarious for Pitino to imply that he's "losing a lot of kids to Kentucky" because of William Wesley.
Let's take a look at the massive amounts of players that Kentucky has landed that were being recruited by UofL..... wait for it.... it's staggering.....
One. Marquis Teague. There is no other UK recruit that UofL has been even close to landing.
And for Pitino to complain about ANYONE using an influential person to help land Marquis Teague is the height of hypocrisy. I mean, isn't Marquis Teague's former coach NOW EMPLOYED by Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville? There is zero evidence that William Wesley had any influence over Marquis Teague, but I'm pretty sure I can connect a dot or two that might imply (wink wink, nudge nudge) that Pitino hired Teague's assistant high school coach, Shabaka Lands, for no other purpose than to land Teague. So now you wanna complain that someone else (your accusation with no evidence) used some influence? Forgive me for not feeling sympathetic to your complaint.
And don't get me wrong... I got no problem with you hiring an assistant high school coach to be your assistant if you want to. Just don't accuse someone else of stealing a penny when you robbed a bank.
So if we are talking about ONE recruit and you are upset enough to sit down for an interview about someone ELSE to imply dirt (we'll get to your issues in a minute), then you might want to take a look at your own history at that position. The best point guard you've ever put into the NBA is Sebastian Telfair. I'm serious. Granted, he never played for you, but can you name any point guard you've coached who had a better NBA career? You landed a 5 star super exciting PG in Peyton Siva who you've been able to miraculously make look ordinary. You think maybe THAT might be a reason Marquis Teague decided to play for Coach Calipari??? Is there even a SMALL chance that having Rose, Evans and Wall turn into superstars in the NBA might have a teeny weenie bit more to do with Teague's decision than some influential NBA dude?
Then add to that the fact that during the height of the Teague recruitment, your son and lead recruiter for Teague, Richard Pitino, heads off to Florida in the middle of the night. Granted, the drama associated with the Karen Sypher situation was no doubt the reason for his sudden departure, but perhaps THAT might be the reason you are "losing kids to Kentucky".... maybe it's your actions and not some guy living in Detroit.
Finally, it's probably not such a great thing for your recruiting that almost everyone involved in grassroots basketball believes that you have long been feeding Pat Forde information. I don't know if you ARE doing that, but I suppose it's fair to imply these things since you seem to want to imply William Wesley is somehow crippling your recruiting efforts. It's probably also not so great for Louisville recruiting that your other key assistant, Steve Masiello, is reportedly involved with some sort of high dollar ticket scam. Not to mention your OTHER assistant, Walter McCarty left for an NBA assistant job last week. Now that I think about it, maybe you DO have need for Shabaka Lands after all.
So, my useless suggestion would be to spend more time fixing the issues that you should have had under control in the first place. I understand your temptation to point at someone else and say "he's the reason for my troubles", but honestly, I think everyone is wise to that at this point....
It's still entertaining, however.
True Blue Kentucky