Pitino Place: Pompous Pilot Slick Rick May Be Banned From Wearing White Suit
With a resolution possibly due in early June, scrutiny of Louisville's program has had a shelf life lasting a mite longer than 15 seconds, leaving the white suit coach Rick Pitino occasionally dons a drunk-on-power symbol for anything but purity. There is little doubt an earlier self-imposed one-year postseason competition ban and future scholarship/recruiting reductions (a/k/a preemptive plea bargain) implied the Cardinals faced more significant sanctions down the road such as NCAA prohibiting Pitino from wearing said white suit. If there is any good news, at least UL's upper brass didn't don Mexican garb for the "trick-or-treat" meeting with NCAA Infractions Committee and doesn't seem to buy stock into dimwitted deflection tactics blaming book publishing company owned by Indiana's largest-ever donor with law school named after him. However, it still seems probable Pitino will have an opportunity to cowardly boycott or conduct a Cam Newton-like walkout, departing hand gesture or not, at any press briefing if Strippergate sanctions finally are announced.
Amid full-figure female fallout from fact-filled tell-all tale (Breaking Cardinal Rules), pretentious Pitino said: “There's only one good thing about being 63 (now older) – you don't care what people think anymore.” The reprehensible regaling all sounded vaguely familiar. After all, it seems as if thin-skinned Pompous Pilot didn't care when he was in his 50s (restaurant affair with staffer's soon-to-be spouse), 40s (quit in mid-season after lured by $50 million to try to become reincarnation of Red Auerbach rather than next Adolph Rupp), 30s (BU Revue) and 20s (Hawaii infractions)?
Essentially, a tawdry timeline stems from philosophy of do as I say; not as I do. One of Pitino's books lecturing everyone else discusses how the past can haunt you. As an assistant at Hawaii, Pitino was implicated in eight of 64 violations leading to the Rainbows' two-year probation stint in the late 1970s. Nonetheless, the narcissist didn't care upon setting foot in Kentucky years ago as his one-day contract stump speech unfolded prior to incessant recycling. Was there any Pitino-linked symbolism when probation-bound Hawaii earned a berth in the NCAA playoffs while UL was banished?
“I think it's a positive because I know exactly what can go on the wrong way,” Pitino smugly self-assessed about suspect hoop activities in the Paradise of the Pacific shortly before he was hired by UK in the late 1980s. “There's no one in this business with more integrity (than me). It didn't happen in Hawaii as far as I'm concerned. I didn't make any mistakes, I don't care what anybody says. I'm not going to comment on it anymore because I don't have to.”
Need more I-don't-give-a-rip integrity? The alternate-reality program wallowed in self-absorption when Louisville failed to care about providing anything but a lame spin-tour remark stemming from an inquiry regarding an anecdote in the incisive book Raw Recruits written by dying-breed respected journalists Alexander Wolff and Armen Keteyian (more on media later). With apologies to “dictator” Dick Vitale's personal library, Season on the Brink (written by John Feinstein) and Raw Recruits rank 1-2 or vice versa as the all-time most compelling behind-the-scenes books on college basketball. After a big win for Pitino-coached Boston University at Rhode Island in the early 1980s, Raw Recruits alleged he rewarded the Terriers by having their bus stop at a jiggle joint on the way back to campus and hand out dollar bills to players so they might tuck them into G-strings.
Thirty years later, a ridiculous red-light district response from condescending UL about the book's sewer snippet was the famished BU brigade innocently walked in to get food, presumably thinking neon lights and all were essentials for a lively restaurant, but promptly bailed with hands covering their eyes. How many times have you heard about a booby bar being confused with fast food unless it is difficult to differentiate between excessive makeup on a Dancin' Girl and same for Ronald McDonald? Of course, there's not much happy-deal difference between unwrapped buns “having a good day” at the Golden Arches and gold jewelry near strategic arches on naked bodies. Maybe the classy New England establishment was simply a topless diner for roadie academic tutors, unbeknownst to coach, keeping GPA (Great Party Atmosphere) of squad members up by cramming for anatomy class on trek home.
Dwelling a little more on distinguishing between day-of-reckoning dignity and depravity, how low can you sink when self-proclaimed Elvis Presley (ex-UL All-American Terrence “Why Would I Pay Anybody for Anything” Williams) was a credibility reference for Hookergate scoring considering his checkered past? It may be the equivalent of Pitino vouching for former UK guard Richie "He Can Do No Wrong" Farmer when he ran afoul of the law.
Here is what genuinely "doesn't make any sense at all" for someone who is kind of a big deal. Pitino, boasting a master-puppeteer reputation, has a penchant for "can't-find-one-person" pap not knowing what the hell is going on around him even if it is a relatively minor thing such as six-year UL assistant coach Steve Masiello failing to complete requirements for a diploma during and after his ex-Knicks ball-boy playing for him at UK before immersed in an academic controversy as Manhattan's coach.
Understandably, the contrived Sgt. “I know nothing” Schultz routine regarding the "we have a different way we recruit" rot really got old. One of Pitino's books also honed in on when it's best not to delegate. Pitino, saying he was “still trying to understand the motive,” treats his former player/assistant coach Andre McGee as if aspiring to explain a Shakespearean production ("Et tu, Brutus?"). Actually, it would be helpful to know when fall-guy target McGee was first exposed to this scurrilous stagecraft before he is thrown under the intellectually-and-morally bankrupt bus. The bluster bus is driven by Pitino, who said: "We have the most compliant coaches in the NCAA, no matter what you hear." We presume his assessment includes former graduate assistant Brandon Williams, who failed to cooperate in the NCAA's probe. If relevant at all, did we hear if this commendable credential predated McGee as a player and/or coach or kicked in after McGee departed for UMKC and subsequently working as a driver for car service Uber?
Do Pitino's longstanding don't-care comments credibly pass a sincere threshold to where the nation should deluge him with speedy-recovery well wishes to help mend his broken heart? As most ardent hoop observers are aware, the BU rock-star sojourn wasn't the only time he mistook a restaurant for adult entertainment. Amplifying on the toxic topic via common sense, it is inconceivable to accept no-compulsion premise there was nothing abnormal maneuvering from normal sensual behavior to chance stop-on-a-dime meeting with extortion-bound stranger on an upscale restaurant table. Just wondering, but did the fine-diner owner leave keys thinking the hangers-on were going to sweep the floor and clean the dishes exercising 15 seconds of shame? Perhaps they were waiting on UL football coach Bobby Petrino and hoop sage Bo Ryan to compare notes about exploits on and off the court.
Seems as if there was lack of credibility everywhere one turned. In the wake of such boorish behavior, should we bother to contemplate what went on to relieve stress at higher-stakes citadels such as New York (Knicks) and college cage capital (Lexington, KY)? It almost makes a Client 9-curious individual want to enlist the services of a PI to rummage through little black book of whomever the Manhattan Madam happened to be in late 1980s before conducting survey of coeds attending UK the first half of 1990s about any love lodge or perhaps big and blue van featuring tinted windows. First step learning about "good times" equipment might be giving amnesia antidote or truth serum to gatekeeper/chauffeur. Winston Bennett, an assistant under Pitino with UK and the Boston Celtics, may also be able to offer some insight based on the former All-SEC second-team selection admitting he "slept with 90 women a month" despite stature as the ultimate NBA scrub.
What transpired at UL is precisely why a control freak orchestrated construction of a basketball dormitory (named for his brother-in-law who tragically died in 9/11 attack) to monitor his roster and keep them from becoming salacious scholars. Instead, what repeatedly resulted was a classic example of lack of institutional control. So what if Pitino wasn't the whore-dorm booking agent or could pass a lie-detector test on a well-crafted question skirting the predatory activity. Doesn't his pact with UL have provision about “diligently supervise compliance of assistant coaches and any other employees for which he is administratively responsible”?
“I'm totally saddened to the point of disbelief over the incidents,” Pitino said during one of his incredible sulks. “We've built a very strong culture here of discipline and doing the right things.” You've got to be kidding! If so, did a single disciplined student-athlete exhibit sufficient strength to do the right thing, go to him and describe detestable culture infecting Club Minardi? If not, why are his family-atmosphere players more loyal to a subordinate than head coach? Pleading with the Hoop Gods, please don't eventually put public through the traditional "plausible-deniability" focus on disgruntled former "employees" defense.
Whether or not it was a byproduct of culture or karma, the Pitino brand a couple of years ago also faced a sex-lies-and-videotape scandal involving his son's recruits at Minnesota, which featured more suspended players than Big Ten Conference victories. Any video that year involving Gopher players, on or off hardwood, probably is filth and should be erased. Amid the disturbing credibility gap, it's probably time to shift gears and sarcastically add to the sad state of affairs with the following pointless plot lines for entertaining episodes on HBO's soon-to-be-announced Pitino Place show:
- Jilted Karen, after escaping confinement by having sex with prison security guard boasting slick black hair, undergoes race-and-name change becoming Katina and trying to extort main character Slick Rick again before going on the cover of Vanity Fair and “earning” some sort of ESPY courage award for her copious copulation commentary.
- In a what-might-have-been dream, Slick Rick learns in a confession booth about an innocent baby boy named Rowe Vee Wade if Catholic principles really meant more than abortion creating new definition for “health care” money. Rowe Vee Wade would have been a blue-chip playmaking prospect who played for half-brother and averaged more assists per game in college career than his look-alike estranged father (5.6 apg). Upon waking up from Rip Van Winkle slumber, Slick Rick decides to become a sperm donor to try to clone Mr. Nifty Jr. (donor's college nickname).
- Slick Rick groupie Vinny, moonlighting as an NCAA enforcement agent, taught boss to hold the tail during horse breeding and told tales about anything dealing with human breeding. But the aloof horse owner already was a thoroughbred Breeders' Cup Secretariat wannabee and only had eyes for what was under some of those gaudy race-track hats. Vinny, who was actually a double agent, eventually spilled his good-times guts to authorities when he was supposed to be conducting opposition research on rival Coach Pay-pal Cal including going through trash in Memphis trying to unearth any Slick Rick-like transgressions or rookie salary-cap violations he could possibly find to help prevent ninth defeat in last 10 confrontations.
- Slick Rick blames Sick “You Better Put Some Ice On It” Willie for infecting him with some unnamed pants-dropping defect in front of stranger after shaking Bubba's cigar-stained hand before introducing President Stainmaker, still basking in the glow of an Arkansas title, at a campaign rally on the eve of the 1996 election. Finishing “expensive” speech on humility to Wall Street executives and meeting filing deadline for book on success, he had to take a rain check regarding cheerleader-recruiting/saxophone-lesson trip with Shrillary's Secret Weapon and equally frail contemptible Clintonista cronies to “Orgy Island.” Bubba's backup plan to reconnect with Slick was to become his boss as school Prez insofar as he has vast experience in such an overpaid category via $16.46 million over five years as honorary chancellor of Laureate University.
- Intervention for Slick Rick unfolds to stop drinking bourbon named after him. Becoming delusional as much as Kanye is in debt, he claimed his new Kanye West/adidas shoes helped him win a dunking contest as college freshman decades ago against varsity standout Julius Erving in 1970-71 before Dr. J became a professional basketball highlight reel. Boasting super-human strength capable of reeling in mammoth marlin, Slick Rick claimed he won a home-run derby against Mike Flanagan in 1971-72 when the eventual 18-year MLB pitcher averaged 13.9 ppg for the same school's frosh squad. In a bizarre rant by Slick Rick after pain killer wore off from getting a title tattoo, the egomaniac thought he should receive Bill Cosby's Presidential Medal of Freedom if award is stripped from the widely-condemned comic. Meanwhile, Kanye ($53 million in debt) makes guest star appearance begging Taylor Swift for 53 cents for his "Famous" ideas so he can impress fashionable Kim by having more "rep" cred than 50 Cent with music endorsement by Slick Rick linked to any affiliated dorm dance.
All silly-season sarcasm aside, the bottom-line drivel is what do you expect from a program where the coach can't control himself? Prior to his passing, Louisville's most famous native, Muhammad Ali, issued his support while trying to recall which of his offspring went with which mother and delusional AD Tom Jurich, apparently an abortion advocate, said Pitino “has a perfect track record.” We presume Jurich's perfection testimonial isn't hampered by Parkinson's and includes Pitino settling for more than $2,500 to get rid of evidence. Maybe some of these unprincipled folks would show a shred of humanity if a female member of their immediate family was affected.
Just like the majority of scandals, follow the money trail of a plot that may have had its genesis in a Barbershop sequel of sorts. Whatever the amount spent by McGee for physical activity by saving gas money moving party venue closer to home, it's virtually impossible to believe the bank-bundled funds came entirely from his personal account. Pitino, responding as if he was kneed in the groin by some unknown assailant, had Olympian gall telling McGee “to step up” after skating around issue crying “Why?” way more than Nancy Kerrigan.
Of course, the most disgusting “why” involved fathers/guardians tagging along for a recruiting ride to LarryFlyntVille when not busy helping prospects with their studies. In employing a perverted version of father-son bonding, why was there the incentive way horsing around driving it homeboy rather than “a dolt” just having fond memory of playing horse against his boy in the family driveway. What would the party-planner incentive be if the recruit actually helped UL reach a Final Four?
Pitino, who said bump-and-grind allegations made him “sick to my stomach,” can always cure chronic tummy tumult via some dessert delicacy at his favorite upscale restaurant. Actually, frequent health references simply raise suspicion about his mid-season walking-out-through-the-door “flight” to Cleveland Clinic in 2003-04 three years after the "wounded tiger" quit the Celtics because Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish weren't walking back through their door.
An inalienable right exists to be stupid like Apple protecting phone of Islamic terrorist, but we saw the outline of a clever problem-solving act just when problem-child guard Chris Jones was dismissed. You've got the comedy-relief brains of a doorknob if you believed Louisville's shedding of a little light via a door-opening salvo explaining life-without-Jones stemmed primarily from a 9 p.m. curfew violation. It's unclear whether Pitino, exhibiting a theatrical flop reminiscent of Jones' chin-rubbing charade in a match-up with cross-state rival Kentucky, includes himself in refuting any bad acting.
Jones, described by Pitino as “type of guy who always has his hands in the cookie jar,” dropped out of school to defend himself as rigorously as the ACC's leader in steals average defended opponents. Wouldn't you like an insider to drop some knowledge regarding the rigorous classes the scholar took and stack them up against North Carolina's no-show way or the intellectually-stimulating spring-semester coursework for the one-and-done crowd? Depending upon your perspective, didn't the culture Pitino portrayed “steal” a scholarship from perhaps an authentic student-athlete? Some viewers may want to be assured they can't catch a STD from TV and seek to promptly take a shower after watching UL these days.
The shameless local and national media covering UL also are to blame, but they had a laser-like fixation on touchy-feely timing of ban rather than incalculable more vital issues such as academic integrity and power-structure lack of accountability of coaching staffs for revenue-producing sports. There should be a one-year ban on reading or watching the presstitutes because of their failure to live up to news-gathering obligations by allowing an Escort Queen to “(hard)cover” the program better than they did. How in the name of Edmund R. Murrow did Katina discern more about what was going on than Pitino, university officials and a seemingly enabling press stripped naked by her firsthand research?
Pitino claimed he didn't read Powell's expose but said “people will do anything for money.” Does the same assessment apply to Sextino regarding his series of what now seem like tainted hypocritical volumes (Success is a Choice, How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life, Lead to Succeed, Rebound Rules, etc.)? Taking the power of positive thinking to an extreme, he has had additional exposure to a couple of bullet points in his 10-step plan – thriving on pressure and learning from adversity.
Collateral damage caught in the middle of mess created by others, do you think chattel-graduate transfers Damion Lee (Drexel) and Trey Lewis (Cleveland State) were credibly “recruited” with emphasis on prospect of participating in NCAA playoffs? Lee said: "If we buy into the system and what coach Pitino preaches, then we can be successful." Standing O from UL fans notwithstanding, the betrayed duo "tabled" by Preacher Pitino's program should have sued the system - coaching staff and school - for fraud after enduring the pressure connected to this adversity. Mercenaries Lee and Lewis were wronged, but they triggered the wrongdoing and suffered the consequences by wrongly choosing to attend UL.
Meanwhile, self-described “soldier-in-this-army” Pitino asked: “If I resign, would people feel better about it?” Answer: Well, yes, if anyone credible amid the Get-Your-Fill-in-the-Ville debris remains boasting a moral compass rather than emphasizing morale-building comp-a__. Securing generous dose of humility upon receiving some sort of relatively modest suspension, author Pitino can take an adult education refresher course ruminating on his own following words in "The One-Day Contract":
- "The egotistical coach, the arrogant athlete, they are stereotypes that too often ring true."
- "The longer I live and the more I experience, the more I believe that humility is the quality essential to sustained success, and a lack of it is the major stumbling block for those who find success for a time, then lose it."
- "There's no question when you coach at Kentucky, you fall into a trap of thinking you're much better than you really are, because of the adulation and attention. It is constant and seems to come in a never-ending supply. I did not know it in the midst of it, but that arrogance, that thinking of yourself as the best, is one of the biggest reasons successful people stumble and fail."
- "The consequences of not learning humility can be tragic. If we don't always see these consequences in our own lives, we should be able to recognize them all around us. Not learning humility is, for one, an expensive lesson."
- "Self-aggrandizement, alienation of friends, family, or teammates, a tragic tendency to overestimate one's talent that leads to overreaching, they all are traits of people who lack humility. This also is a story that is not new. The ancient Greeks had a word for this very situation: hubris."
- "The same cycle (of self-destruction) can be seen in many fields. The list of those for whom humility not only might have saved a fortune, but their future, is long and star-studded."
- "The decadent lifestyle, the entourages, the unrealistic expectation of stature and longevity - all this leads to poor choices and reckless decision making."
- "With humility, you are better able to enjoy and understand success, and you are better able to examine and handle failure."
- "Humble people always handle adversity so much better because they understand who they are. So many come to disappointing ends and wonder why it happened. Most often, it was a lack of humility, leading to arrogance, leading to the mistakes they made. They think they are more significant than they are and it makes them gamble with their lives and their professions. Then, when things go wrong, they lash out and blame others. Arrogant people spread around their failure with blame."
- "Not only is humility the key to finding lasting success, but it is the key to lasting happiness. Go back through history, literature, spiritual books, and this cycle is repeated throughout generations and cultures: arrogance, fall, acceptance, humility, healing. We're no different from people who came before us. I can't state enough how important a lesson this is to learn, and the importance of learning it before life forces you to."