Rick Pitino Again A Naismith Hall Of Fame Finalist

USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight year, Rick Pitino is a finalist for the honor of being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. I don't see any way he's denied twice.

Here's a chunk of the release:

HOUSTON, TX and SPRINGFIELD, MA - University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino is one of 12 finalists from the North American and Women's committees to be considered for election in 2013 in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The finalists were announced today at NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston.

Joining Pitino among the dozen finalists are, from the North American Screening Committee, players Maurice Cheeks, Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Bernard King, Gary Payton and Mitch Richmond; and coaches Tom Heinsohn, Guy Lewis, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian. Player Dawn Staley and coach Sylvia Hatchell are finalists from the Women's Screening Committee. The Class of 2013 will be unveiled at the NCAA Final Four in April.

"We are proud to share an incredible group of finalists for the Class of 2013 - a distinct list of coaches and players who excelled at many levels of basketball," said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Governors. "It will be a difficult decision for the Honors Committee to select the final class members from this prestigious group of individuals, each of whom has given so much to the game."

Pitino will be seeking his 650th collegiate coaching victory when the Cardinals play at USF on Sunday. The first coach to take three different schools to the NCAA Final Four including his 2005 and 2012 UofL teams, Pitino has a 649-239 record in his 28th collegiate season. He has led the Cardinals to 20 wins for the 11th straight season and his 21st overall, sixth among active coaches.

Pitino guided Kentucky to three NCAA Final Four appearances in eight seasons (1989-97), winning the 1996 NCAA Championship and reaching the national title game in 1997. He has also served as head coach at Providence College (1985-87, 1987 Final Four), Boston University (1978-83), Hawaii (last six games in 1975-76) as well as the NBA New York Knicks (1987-89) and Boston Celtics (1997-2001).

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