Dear Rick Pitino, I realize that you're very busy, what with the UK game coming up on Saturday. I realize that you're very busy trying to make sure the Big East brings in more basketball centric schools because you'd rather play/ coach games in Mexico than anywhere but the Big East. I realize you must be awfully busy planning your retirement, tuning up your resume for the Big East commissioner's position, and pumping up the coaching acumen of Rick Junior, but I thought I'd express a few thoughts to you in this letter.
Last night's game proved what many of us have suspected but hoped we were wrong about all along. We are not a top10 team right now. We were put in that position, in the preseason, based on the roster we were supposed to have; however, that’s not the hand we’ve been dealt and it’s a hard pill to swallow for most of us. Especially when you take into consideration that you promised all of us that this year was going to be a big one, a destination, something that we "bridged" towards last year.
The team we have is a good one, with lots of room for improvement, but it’s discouraging that the things that have been glaring weaknesses have continued to haunt us. Things like 5, 8, and even 10 minute stretches without made baskets. Things like letting opposing teams have open three point jump shots throughout games. Things like not playing the younger players more minutes early in the season so they could contribute now, in the Big East. I would think that when we go long stretches without a basket, a future Hall of Fame coach such as yourself could draw up a play to get two points. A play better than a lob to Kuric for an alley-oop (that almost never works) and then we have to depend on Siva or Russ going one on one at the top of the key.
Right now I feel like you've done the team a great disservice by not giving more minutes to guys like Angel and Price in those early games against the patsies. Kuric, Siva, and Deing playing nearly 40 minutes/ game is not going to be a recipe for success against really good teams like Georgetown. Now, unfortunately, it’s too late to get some of those younger guys ready for the Big East because the Big East schedule is here. While I know that the past is the past and there's nothing that can be done about that now, it doesn't make it any less frustrating.
Yeah,… I know,… your system is tough, and you don’t like playing freshmen. You were expecting to have SVT and Marra to back up Gorgui and Kyle. I realize you have no patience for anyone making a mistake, and you pull them as soon as they do. But this is a year when the injuries should have made you realize that the freshmen would need to play a bigger role than in years past if we were going to be successful on an elite level. It's very frustrating to me that there is a four star big man on the bench who is healthy, but can't see the floor to give Gorgui much needed rest, or minutes when he gets into foul trouble. It's frustrating to me that when Gorgui goes to the bench we have to replace him with a still, per your words, out of shape and still coming back from injury Buckles.
In short Mr. Pitino, I want to let you know that I do have a lot of faith in the players who remain healthy. I even a great deal of faith in your ability to correct some of the mistakes that continue to be harmful to the team; but, the time for those things to be corrected has past. The part of our schedule that matters most is upon us; and taking home losses to a team because you can't hit free throws, score for 10 minute stretches, or defense the three point line is not what we were promised this year, by you. Please get this thing figured out, post haste. Otherwise this is going to be a long and frustrating run through the Big East.
I know you will, I believe that you will have this team playing at their peak by the time March rolls around. I'm just a little perturbed that the weaknesses our beloved Cardinals have exhibited from game one have yet to be corrected in the first 13 outings.
Sincerely, Chick Stratino
P.S. Beat Kentucky into the ground like a fence post, hell just beat Kentucky.