Richard Pitino says that Louisville's 2012 NCAA Final Four team is the one that rejuvenated his father.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WDRB) – The basketball keeps bouncing. I followed it to North Central High School in Indianapolis for the adidas Invitational. Follow along.
*The NCAA title that Rick Pitino won with the University of Louisville last April was wonderful. It made him the first Division I men's coach to win championships at two schools. Now he's on the same line in the record book with Dean Smith, Denny Crum and Billy Donovan.
But the season that really energized Pitino was the 2011-12 season, when Louisville made a jarring run through the Big East Tournament and an equally unlikely trip to the Final Four.
Ask Pitino's son, Richard, now the head coach at Minnesota.
"That Final Four team changed him," Richard Pitino said. "I just think he really, really enjoyed coaching those guys. That team. He learned to appreciate the moment."
"It was almost like the 1987 Providence Friars team that he always talks about. I thought that team with Peyton (Siva), Gorgui (Dieng) and those guys, they were such great kids. Nobody expected it."
"When they had lost to Morehead State (in 2011), it was tough. There was a lot of doubt. Coming in (to work at U of L) on the heels of it, it was a little negative at first. Those guys kind of changed it. They changed the whole outlook on everything."
After that game there were whispers that Pitino was considering leaving the game. You don't hear those whispers any more. Pitino was parked in the gyms across Indianapolis Wednesday night and all day Thursday.
"I could see him going for a long time," Richard Pitino said.
*Richard Pitino also said that he was not surprised that his father told his players he'd get a tattoo if they won the 2013 NCAA title. However, he was surprised his father was so willing to share pictures of the moment.
"I was surprised by the size of the tattoo," he said. "I don't think he quite understands what Twitter and the Internet are. So when he posted it for the media, I was surprised about that."
*Louisville, Indiana, Duke and dozens of other schools are in a fierce tug of war for Goodluck Okonoboh, a tenacious 6-foot-9 shot-blocker from Boston. He's a maximum effort guy, capable of delivering a triple-double, as he did during one adidas Invitational pool play game.
Here was Okonoboh's signature quote:
"If we don't give effort and we lose, then I won't sleep at night."
*Former Morehead State coach Donnie Tyndall is bringing his Southern Mississippi State team to Kentucky next season – twice.
Tyndall said the Golden Eagles will play at Louisville Nov. 29 and at Western Kentucky in December. USM returns six of its top nine players from a team that finished 27-10, trailing only Memphis in Conference USA. Two transfers and two freshmen also sat out last season.
Why would Tyndall schedule a team that has a legitimate shot to play in its third consecutive Final Four on the Cardinals' home court?
"I don't know that I wanted to," Tyndall said. "We just didn't have a whole lot of choices."
Explanation: Although USM plays in C-USA, the program still has to schedule road games with high guaranteed payouts. Tyndall said USM will earn either "$90,000 or $100,000" for the game at the KFC Yum! Center.
*Tyndall had an interesting take on one major difference in coaching at Morehead and Southern Miss:
"In Morehead, we grew that thing and our fan base grew but let's be honest, everyone in Morehead was still a Kentucky fan. You've never going to change that. We accepted that for what it was."
"In Hattiesburg, it's a Southern Miss town. It's not a Mississippi State town, it's not an Ole Miss town, it's a Southern Miss town. The fans really responded to us last year. We had record breaking attendance since 1991."
*Tyndall has added former Male and Murray State star Chris Shumate to his coaching staff. Shumate just completed a six-season run at Cincinnati.
*Don't look for former U of L assistant coach Steve Masiello to bring his Manhattan team back to Louisville this season. The Jaspers opened last season at Louisville, but Masiello said he's trying a different approach, trying to position Manhattan for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament if they don't win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.