If you missed it yesterday, Rick Pitino came on the radio show at 5 p.m. to briefly preview the Kennesaw State game, but he also had interesting things to say about this year's schedule, the need for young players who have success (a la Ray Spalding) to stay away from sycophants who tell them that they're better than they actually are, and of course, the imminent arrival of Bompy.
Perhaps more significant than all of that, however, was Pitino's response to a question about this team and its ability to re-energize him:
There was a period when I came back from Puerto Rico -- and I'm not ... I've stayed away from talking about it -- but, you know, it takes an awful lot to get me down in the dumps, and there was a point there where I was really, really down in the dumps. I couldn't fathom what people were saying about our program, couldn't believe it. Obviously, now a lot has come out where a lot of it is not believable. But we pride ourselves in doing things the right way, with a lot of discipline, having good character, and I really believe in the NCAA rules. If a recruit asked me for $5 to come to school, I wouldn't give him $5. It's not what I believe in, and it really, really disturbed me, and I was very down in the dumps.
It was going to take an awful lot to get me out of that down period, because of the pride level I have in this program. And quite frankly, it happened immediately as soon as I got used to this basketball team. They raised me to a level I didn't think I could get to this year with everything happening. It takes a special group of people to do that.
This, guys, this is not normal. And by the way, you're going to have the same attitude next year, which is going to be awesome. Because they're all back, with the exception of the two 5th year transfers, and the two guys coming in are of the same character as the two guys leaving. So I think we've got something special here.
I've never, since I've been at Louisville -- even with the championship team -- I've never had this many compliments in my life in this town about the character of this basketball team and how much fun it is to watch them. Never had this since I've been here in my 15 years. It's lifted me up, it's lifted the fans up, I don't know about you guys -- Mike, you're a little cynical, but John you're not as cynical. It takes a lot to lift Mike up. Maybe three bourbons and then he'll come aboard.
It was such a beautiful spiel right up until the end. The man just can't help himself.
You can listen to the full interview here:
I don't even drink bourbon.