Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rick Pitino Talks About Taking the Job with Puerto Rico

Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal interviewed Louisville head coach Rick Pitino earlier this week.

Pitino talked about coaching the Puerto Rican national team and why he chose to take that job.

Here is an excerpt:

How is this different than maybe the NBA or college?

It's really not, the only thing is ... The international game is closer to the NBA than college, but it's really not too much different. I get a kick out of it, like twice (Brazil) got technicals for flopping. I got a big kick out of it. At first I didn't know what was going on. I thought he said something. It was funny. But it's a great experience for me because I'm not only scouting and preparing, but I'm learning. You're just learning different ways to do things from an offensive and defensive standpoint. The coaching is much better than it was 15 years ago. They're pressing more. They're better defensively.

There was a time, 15 years ago, when they said these teams didn't play good defense. It was just soft basketball, but that's not the case here. Brazil was very physical, very well coached and -- the coaching is outstanding at all these levels. They all have good trick plays. They all have good out-of-bounds plays. They all have good defensive situations. They're very good.

What was the main reason why you took this Puerto Rico job?

Three reasons ... I've been a head coach since 24. And although I've had brief stints of learning under Jim Boeheim, with zone work, and learning a tremendous amount from Hubie Brown in the pros, I've been a head coach since I was 24. That's a long time. This is -- I wanted to learn more. You don't do it by just watching tape. I'm so familiar with the coaches in America, so I want to learn international basketball and see if there is anything we can improve on. It just opens up a lot of different things style-wise and what they do with their bigs ... You know, how they use the 24-second shot clock is just different than the NBA, so it's a good learning experience for me.

The second thing is, I was really worried about (Louisville's 2015-16) schedule.

Read Complete Interview

Puerto Rico in the Pan Am Games:

Tuesday: Brazil 92 Puerto Rico 59
Wednesday: United States 102 Puerto Rico 70
Today: Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela

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