Episode 19 of the Sports Betting Tips podcast, featuring veteran NBA journalist Chris Sheridan, is now available for consumption by hitting the play button below. In this week’s episode, Chris interviews former NCAA and NBA head coach Rick Pitino, who led college squads to five Final Four appearances and two national titles.
During the podcast, Sheridan and Pitino chat about the FBI and NCAA investigations into the Louisville men’s basketball program, the state of the NCAA (including Pitino’s favorites for this season), the NBA, Pitino’s future and more. Listen to the fascinating full conversation here:
Pitino appeared on the episode on the heels of the release of his new book, Pitino: My Story. In the book — and in this conversation — he elaborates on the broken junior basketball system.
“The AAU coaches are very close with the kids,” Pitino tells Sheridan. “They’re being sponsored and paid for by the shoe company. So it behooves them, to get another contract or get more money from that company, to have the kids go to Under Armour schools or Nike schools or Adidas schools, to take care of their own, so to speak.”
He says that system ultimately led to his firing.
“Somebody tried to pay one of my recruits $100,000 — I’m not sure of the exact number — without my approval, certainly, and it led to myself being fired,” Pitino said. “So it’s something that needs to be stopped, it needs to be corrected. The only problem is, the NCAA is like having security guards in a bank with pencils instead of armed guards. There’s not enough of them, they’re not proactive, they’re reactive.”
Pitino admits he doesn’t have all the answers — he just knows the system needs to change. He predicts, however, the NBA will not remove the one-and-done rule until 2022.
2018-19 NCAA Outlook
Pitino favors one team above the rest of the field this coming year: Duke. The Blue Devils currently have the best odds (+450) of winning it all, per BetDSI.
“Duke has what I feel is the most talent a Coach K team has ever had,” he explains.
There are a few other teams Pitino says to keep an eye on. He likes Kentucky, particularly because the Wildcats added transfer Reid Travis, a 2014 McDonald’s All-American, from Stanford. Kentucky currently has +750 odds.
Pitino also likes Virginia because he believes in coach Tony Bennett, whom he compares to a young Jay Wright. You can get in on the Cavaliers at +2000.
Furthermore, Pitino is buying into the Nevada hype. Nevada, featuring the Martin twins, who decided to return for their senior seasons, has +1100 odds.
And finally, he likes — you guessed it — Louisville. The Cardinals are a longshot at +10000.
“Louisville has a very good basketball program that will be underrated because of the scandal,” Pitino explains.
Jimmy Butler Drama
Pitino also weighs in on the current trending topic in NBA circles: Jimmy Butler’s request for Minnesota to trade him.
“The big question is, how does he affect your locker room?” Pitino said. “There’s a lot behind the scenes in Minnesota with him.”
Related: Where will Butler wind up?
So, when and where will Rick Pitino coach next? As he tells it, he won’t. He says he has put that part of his life behind him.
“I tell it all in the book. In the final chapter of the book, it sort of tells you where I want to go: that I’m giving closure to coaching,” he says. “I eat, sleep and drink the game, love it from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed, miss it terribly, but I’m putting it out of my life right now. I am looking for another passion — I don’t know what that is, I don’t know where it will direct me … but it’s not in coaching … I just don’t want the stress of what happened the last few years with the NCAA, with the FBI — I just don’t want it anymore.”
In case there’s any doubt about what he meant, he later adds: “It’s behind me now. I don’t want to coach again.”
Listen to the full episode by hitting play above, and be sure to subscribe to Get More Sports’ podcast Sports Betting Tips with Chris Sheridan on your platform of choice.
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