From John Clay’s blog, look for more later from our UofL guys.
Now that Tim Floyd’s devil-deal with O.J. Mayo has led him to the unemployment line, Southern Cal is in the job market for a new basketball coach.
Name to watch: Rick Pitino.
It’s already started this morning with buzz that the Louisville coach could be a candidate to rescue the fallen Trojans. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but given the circumstances involved, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility.
Circumstances such as:
There is the ugly Karen Sypher extortion trial on the horizon, which promises to divulge many ugly and embarrassing details if it makes its way into the courtroom. There is a line of thinking that Pitino would rather handle those headlines from afar rather than right there in the city of Louisville.
There were rumors throughout last season that Rick was interested in the open Arizona job, which eventually went to Xavier coach Sean Miller. And that was before the Sypher story broke.
After the Sypher story, Yahoo Sports reported that Pitino was interested in the Sacramento Kings’ NBA job. If it was there, that interest died quickly. But there were stories that Rick was very curious about what might happen in Atlanta before the Hawks won their first-round NBA playoff series.
Then there is John Calipari’s noisy arrival at Kentucky. Once close, the two are no longer busom buddies, and Calipari has already accomplished an epic recruiting haul for next season.
I, for one, have to think that Pitino’s attempt to bring former assistant and current Holy Cross head coach Ralph Willard back to his staff portends that Rick wants Ralph to be his successor at the ‘Ville.
True, at Southern Cal, Pitino would have to play second-fiddle to Ben Howland and UCLA, plus coach in a town dominated by the Lakers. But then Rick didn’t have a problem going to Louisville, which outside of Jefferson County finds itself dwarfed by UK supporters.
One thing that could keep Rick from traveling to the Left Coast: Southern Cal be headed for probation. Pitino already tackled the challenge of one program on probation (Kentucky) in his career. Would he really want to do that again?