Originally created 03/24/01

Pitino: Louisville's facilities, talent need revamping



LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville coach Rick Pitino likes the work ethic of his new players. He's not as satisfied with their talent.

Pitino has seen each of his players in individual workouts in the two days since replacing Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum. He hasn't liked what he's seen.

"There's a reason when you have one of the best coaches in the game and you only win 12 games. It's because of a lack of talent," Pitino said Friday. "That's something we have to work on. I've seen some interesting shots and some of the more interesting forms I've seen in a long time."

He softened his criticism by saying the players have been receptive to instruction.

"There's a strong eagerness to learn and that's a good sign," Pitino said.

The rebuilding job doesn't stop with the players. Pitino also criticized Louisville's practice facilities down to the poor lighting in the weight room.

"This is where we go to work every day. This is where the recruits will come, this is where the players will live," Pitino said. "It hasn't been upgraded in 10 years, and it needs to be."

Pitino said the rebuilding job ahead resembles the one he faced at Kentucky wen he went there in 1989.

"We had to do the same exact things, it's almost identical," Pitino said.

Pitino arrived at work at 7 a.m. for the second straight day to put his players through more workouts. Many of the players said after their initial workouts Thursday that Pitino showed them things that immediately improved their games.

"Every 15 minutes, I seem to be doing something else. I haven't had too much time to think," Pitino said. "I'm exhausted."

The former Boston Celtics coach said he's had little time to call recruits, and said he needs more time to evaluate potential newcomers.

"The thing I learned most from my pro experience is not to do something rash. Take two steps back to take 10 forward," Pitino said. "This is a four-year commitment when you give a scholarship. You don't want to give one just for the sake of filling your roster."

The 48-year-old Pitino resigned as coach and president of the Celtics in January after 3´ disappointing seasons.



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