ESPN's Eamonn Brennan (who has the same birthday as Jim Thome and I do):
Interestingly enough, Shaun Assael, author of new ESPN Insider blog The File*, requested the full testimony from Pitino's embarrassing trial this summer. Why? To check out the more obscure, less salacious details from Pitino's extortion. What did Assael find? In his own words:
What it shows is something that hasn't received a lot of attention: Pitino managed to have one of the best seasons of his coaching career while watching his personal life fall apart.
The ensuing entry is very detailed and very long, so you should probably just go over and read the whole thing. But the general gist is this: At nearly every successful step of Louisville's undeniably very successful 2008-09 campaign, Pitino was simultaneously coaching his team to big road wins, leading the Cardinals to the top of the Big East tournament and notching a No. 1 seed while at the same time -- oftentimes just minutes before games -- receiving threatening phone calls, envelopes with lists of demands, and even a phone call from Sypher's mother asking why her grandson's car hadn't yet been bought. Yeah. It went there.
Anyway, if Louisville fans were worried that last year's doldrums and the coach's previous recruiting drought were products of the Sypher mess, rather than the usual year-after some elite programs go through from time to time, it's probably fair to dispel that notion. The 2009-10 Cardinals had a very good season during the midst of what was perhaps the most intense chapter of Pitino's Sypher story. Apparently the man can multitask.