It’s obvious that Rick Pitino misses his old Kentucky home. He has said that Leaving Kentucky was the greatest mistake that he has had when he bashed UConn for being interested in the ACC.
“With that being said, how can you want to leave? Why would you want to leave? My biggest mistake I made in my life is when I left Camelot [Kentucky]” to lead the Boston Celtics in 1997. “They’re leaving Camelot. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of.”
Nevermind that Louisville will now be a member of the ACC.
But Pitino’s public lament continues. In the midst of last year’s title run, Pitino talked longingly about Camelot:
Rick Pitino often talks wistfully about his time as the head coach at Kentucky as Camelot.
He mentions how he left Camelot too early in order to pursue greener pastures as the head coach of the Boston Celtics.
Now the head coach at Louisville, Pitino can never return to Camelot.
By his own admission, the Louisville fan base is not the same as the Kentucky fan base. Kentucky fans can “infiltrate” games at the KFC Yum! Center, but Louisville fans cannot do the same at Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.
Even at the Final Four, Pitino talked glowingly about his time in Lexington.
I don’t get into that. I love Kentucky. My eight years there were Camelot. I got nothing ever negative to say about them or their program.
And even after the national title, Camelot was mentioned at his Hall of Fame induction:
Pitino paused to talk a bit more about his time at Kentucky. He called it “eight years of Camelot” and said, “I never had a bad day at Kentucky.
From UK, Pitino said, “I learned all about pressure every, single day. It was unbelievable pressure and it was very difficult and that pressure brought out the best in everybody.”
“I’m very, very thankful to those Kentucky players,” Pitino added, “because that’s the reason I stand here today.”
Granted, it is a very unhealthy relationship some Kentucky fans have with Pitino and it will continue to be one as long as Pitino is a Cardinal. I for one, respect Pitino for what he did in Lexington and am grateful for his time here. However, once he changed from blue to red, he became public enemy number one. I am never going to advocate tearing down Pitino’s banner, but I’m not going to be for a statue of him outside Rupp either. But as much as Kentucky fans seem fixated on Pitino, Slick Rick can not stop talking about his time at Kentucky either.
But the curious Pitino/Kentucky sentiment continued yesterday. It’s weird enough that Pitino brought up Justin Timberlake and Christina Aquilera in referring to his team, but he mentioned yet another Kentucky player he wished his Cards would emulate:
Let me give you an analogy of our front court knowing who they are. It’s like having Christina Aguilera to sing at a concert, she comes out, ignores her great voice and dances for two hours. That’s our front court. I remember as if were yesterday asking Rodrick Rhodes, who played for me at UK, this question. You are a great defender, slasher and passer — why are you trying to show everyone the 3pt shot is your thing?
People come to watch Christina sing.
People would come to watch Rodrick pass, slash, and defend…. In other words, Montrezl and Chane – Need to dominate the paint. Rebound like Kenneth Faried , defend like Dennis Rodman, block shots and dunk. Score off rip moves and leave the dancing to Justin Timberlake.
Nation City is not gonna like this. They are already pretty salty as it is.