Looking back...

bga1

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Last night I decided to look back at the Pitino era through the eyes of the GH posters. This is not to nail anyone but just to look and see how perceptions have changed over time and to make some sense of how we got here.

So I looked at key junctures in his path to where we are:

Year one- At the beginning of that year there was an article posted quoting Andre Hollins that Pitino has brought a breath of fresh air to the program - a new excitement. Months later Mo Walker had lost a bunch of weight and we had a speedy little PG. The problem was having no power forward- a fatal flaw in the Big Ten. At the end of the year, we won the NIT and the pretty much universal opinion here was that Pitino has done a terrific coaching job with what he had to work with. That was an opinion shared by Scools and Halsey Hall. The team ran and led the league in +/- turnovers.

But the problems with recruiting were already underway- though we perhaps didn't know it. Pitino shot for 5 star players and seemed to get an audience with a lot of players but could not close the deal. He did get Mason and Martin but reached for Konate and Dheidou and also got Carlos Morris. As we now know- only Mason had a productive career. With the misses year three was now fated to be a bad one. It was a class he had to nail and he didn't. In a 4 year span - the last two years of Tubby and the first two years of Pitino- the Gophers really only got 2 solid players, Lil Dre and Mason. Lofton transferred in but never saw the floor and was dismissed. McNeil got in trouble and he was gone.

For year three he did land a nice class of Murphy, McBrayer, Dorsey, Johnson and Gilbert. Of course we got terrible news on Johnson and he would never play. Still the guys who could were athletic and promising but the on court results were dreadful. There was already talk on the GH that Pitino was in over his head. Then we went into Indiana and looked amazing until losing at the end. Shortly after that we stunned Maryland and it appeared the future might be bright with these young guys. That didn't last long, however, as soon after we had a sex scandal and the three involved were suspended and the season ended in a train wreck, killing the joy. Pitino was on the hot seat with some of the GHers and some of the media right then and there.

Year 4 he gets Lynch to transfer in and we suddenly have post defense. We also add Coffey, Curry and Hurt and go 11-7 in conference- 4th place, Pitino is coach of the year in the Big Ten, Pitino gets his first NCAA appearance and we are ready to be great in the following year. Adding to the excitement we get two New York kids, top 100 PG IW and a great shooter in Harris. We had talent AND depth for the first time in the Pitino era.

Year 5 brings a team that is ranked as high as 12th in the country. Curry was out for the year right off the bat but the team still was strong. But the bizarre Alabama game brought a weird feeling about the team. Then shortly after, the Lynch fiasco. Then Coffey got hurt, McBrayer was playing hurt, IW and Harris were not fitting and the team was gutted. A promising year down the drain and really a total buzz kill for the program which appeared to have great momentum.

In the process we do land Oturu, Gabe and Omersa and in year 6 the team is again competitive. Marcus Carr transfers in but inexplicably the NCAA rules against eligibility - he has to sit. Squeaking into the NCAAs and getting a big win against Louisville with Murphy and Coffey leading the way, with Coffey playing out of position at the point. Perhaps Carr would have been a difference maker? It seems so.

Coffey goes NBA waiting until the last minute to decide. Losing Murph and Coffey, it looks like a mediocre year 7, IW and Harris are gone as IW sees that Carr is the PG. The recruiting class appears solid for the long term but no immediate stars and really not a ton of instant depth either. Curry will be back, but nope, he is hurt again and never plays a minute. The team struggles early against perhaps the toughest schedule in the nation. Pitino feeling the seat being hot, plays a tight lineup and the young guys get little court time. But as Big Ten season starts, Oturu is a star and so is Carr and the team starts to look pretty promising and will perhaps deliver Pitino and fans a third NCAA in four years. Close game after close game are lost through a tragic comedy of errors and here we are today- another losing year.

My assessment is that Pitino can coach at this level, although I think he has been coaching "tight" and not to lose for a few years. He has been off and on the hot seat since year 3 and it shows. He has had a ton of recruiting misses and misfortunes mostly in the early years:

Pure recruiting misses:
Martin, Konate, Dheidou, Harris, Gilbert, Hurt, Greenlee ( I like him but probably), IW (bad fit in Big Ten)

Can play but character issues:
McNeil, Lofton, Lynch, Dorsey

Pure bad luck:
Curry, Johnson, first year of Carr, Buckles ( the big PF we could have had in year 1 but NCAA said no)

Add it up and you have 14 recruits that couldn't/ didn't contribute much for varying reasons and that is behind the serious depth issue Pitino has had. Over that time period you get perhaps 20-24 recruits to work with. You simply cannot survive on a less than 50/50 success ratio.

Bottom line: I think he can coach but his rosters have been dreadfully thin due to the recruiting issues. It has cut down on his options, tightened him up as a coach, put him on the hot seat and changed the arc of his program.
I think his recruiting is getting better with high character guys. I see better defense when the guys aren't worn out and they compete hard in every game save for a few clinkers (Iowa there and home to Indiana). I think he is going to be a good coach somewhere, perhaps really good, but I think it will be difficult for him to regain momentum here without some unexpected shot in the arm like a great spring recruiting crop (maybe Walton a Juco star and a grad transfer would do that). Tough situation.

I think that a whole range of opinions on the situation are valid. In terms of recruiting he has made much of the situation he faces.
 

GopherVotary

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Pitino has had some bad luck, but I’m not sure Johnson was a matter of luck. Wasn’t his heart condition well known before he was brought in?
 

salzie

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Players get hurt, recruits don't pan out, kids go pro for every team. Pitino in 7 years hasn't been able to build up the depth to offset anything that goes wrong.

It's time to move on
 

builtbadgers

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Last night I decided to look back at the Pitino era through the eyes of the GH posters. This is not to nail anyone but just to look and see how perceptions have changed over time and to make some sense of how we got here.

So I looked at key junctures in his path to where we are:

Year one- At the beginning of that year there was an article posted quoting Andre Hollins that Pitino has brought a breath of fresh air to the program - a new excitement. Months later Mo Walker had lost a bunch of weight and we had a speedy little PG. The problem was having no power forward- a fatal flaw in the Big Ten. At the end of the year, we won the NIT and the pretty much universal opinion here was that Pitino has done a terrific coaching job with what he had to work with. That was an opinion shared by Scools and Halsey Hall. The team ran and led the league in +/- turnovers.

But the problems with recruiting were already underway- though we perhaps didn't know it. Pitino shot for 5 star players and seemed to get an audience with a lot of players but could not close the deal. He did get Mason and Martin but reached for Konate and Dheidou and also got Carlos Morris. As we now know- only Mason had a productive career. With the misses year three was now fated to be a bad one. It was a class he had to nail and he didn't. In a 4 year span - the last two years of Tubby and the first two years of Pitino- the Gophers really only got 2 solid players, Lil Dre and Mason. Lofton transferred in but never saw the floor and was dismissed. McNeil got in trouble and he was gone.

For year three he did land a nice class of Murphy, McBrayer, Dorsey, Johnson and Gilbert. Of course we got terrible news on Johnson and he would never play. Still the guys who could were athletic and promising but the on court results were dreadful. There was already talk on the GH that Pitino was in over his head. Then we went into Indiana and looked amazing until losing at the end. Shortly after that we stunned Maryland and it appeared the future might be bright with these young guys. That didn't last long, however, as soon after we had a sex scandal and the three involved were suspended and the season ended in a train wreck, killing the joy. Pitino was on the hot seat with some of the GHers and some of the media right then and there.

Year 4 he gets Lynch to transfer in and we suddenly have post defense. We also add Coffey, Curry and Hurt and go 11-7 in conference- 4th place, Pitino is coach of the year in the Big Ten, Pitino gets his first NCAA appearance and we are ready to be great in the following year. Adding to the excitement we get two New York kids, top 100 PG IW and a great shooter in Harris. We had talent AND depth for the first time in the Pitino era.

Year 5 brings a team that is ranked as high as 12th in the country. Curry was out for the year right off the bat but the team still was strong. But the bizarre Alabama game brought a weird feeling about the team. Then shortly after, the Lynch fiasco. Then Coffey got hurt, McBrayer was playing hurt, IW and Harris were not fitting and the team was gutted. A promising year down the drain and really a total buzz kill for the program which appeared to have great momentum.

In the process we do land Oturu, Gabe and Omersa and in year 6 the team is again competitive. Marcus Carr transfers in but inexplicably the NCAA rules against eligibility - he has to sit. Squeaking into the NCAAs and getting a big win against Louisville with Murphy and Coffey leading the way, with Coffey playing out of position at the point. Perhaps Carr would have been a difference maker? It seems so.

Coffey goes NBA waiting until the last minute to decide. Losing Murph and Coffey, it looks like a mediocre year 7, IW and Harris are gone as IW sees that Carr is the PG. The recruiting class appears solid for the long term but no immediate stars and really not a ton of instant depth either. Curry will be back, but nope, he is hurt again and never plays a minute. The team struggles early against perhaps the toughest schedule in the nation. Pitino feeling the seat being hot, plays a tight lineup and the young guys get little court time. But as Big Ten season starts, Oturu is a star and so is Carr and the team starts to look pretty promising and will perhaps deliver Pitino and fans a third NCAA in four years. Close game after close game are lost through a tragic comedy of errors and here we are today- another losing year.

My assessment is that Pitino can coach at this level, although I think he has been coaching "tight" and not to lose for a few years. He has been off and on the hot seat since year 3 and it shows. He has had a ton of recruiting misses and misfortunes mostly in the early years:

Pure recruiting misses:
Martin, Konate, Dheidou, Harris, Gilbert, Hurt, Greenlee ( I like him but probably), IW (bad fit in Big Ten)

Can play but character issues:
McNeil, Lofton, Lynch, Dorsey

Pure bad luck:
Curry, Johnson, first year of Carr, Buckles ( the big PF we could have had in year 1 but NCAA said no)

Add it up and you have 14 recruits that couldn't/ didn't contribute much for varying reasons and that is behind the serious depth issue Pitino has had. Over that time period you get perhaps 20-24 recruits to work with. You simply cannot survive on a less than 50/50 success ratio.

Bottom line: I think he can coach but his rosters have been dreadfully thin due to the recruiting issues. It has cut down on his options, tightened him up as a coach, put him on the hot seat and changed the arc of his program.
I think his recruiting is getting better with high character guys. I see better defense when the guys aren't worn out and they compete hard in every game save for a few clinkers (Iowa there and home to Indiana). I think he is going to be a good coach somewhere, perhaps really good, but I think it will be difficult for him to regain momentum here without some unexpected shot in the arm like a great spring recruiting crop (maybe Walton a Juco star and a grad transfer would do that). Tough situation.

I think that a whole range of opinions on the situation are valid. In terms of recruiting he has made much of the situation he faces.
Not impressed from day 1. Always hopeful with a open mind but there are specific things I look for and have not seen. It is fine to have different takes on what we see and think. Appreciate your post.
 

bga1

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Not impressed from day 1. Always hopeful with a open mind but there are specific things I look for and have not seen. It is fine to have different takes on what we see and think. Appreciate your post.
Your viewpoint is respected. I think your opinion may have been somewhat tainted from the beginning because of your opinion of Norwood Teague. It sounds as though you may have tried to give him some advice that he wasn't listening to? For what it is worth, I think it was a mistake to hire Pitino here at that age (although I was excited for the possibilities at the time) 31 years old and one year of D1 coaching to expect success in a job like this, that is a proven coach killer, was probably a bridge too far. He needed some things to go his way early in recruiting and they didn't. I think he will be good somewhere, but we will see. Right now, it looks like it just wasn't meant to be here.
 

salzie

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Not impressed from day 1. Always hopeful with a open mind but there are specific things I look for and have not seen. It is fine to have different takes on what we see and think. Appreciate your post.
Correct, he wasn't named Bennet


(Just giving you a hard time)
 

bga1

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Pitino has had some bad luck, but I’m not sure Johnson was a matter of luck. Wasn’t his heart condition well known before he was brought in?
He had been cleared to play in HS and was considered a top 100 kid...
 

shaggith

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Players get hurt, recruits don't pan out, kids go pro for every team. Pitino in 7 years hasn't been able to build up the depth to offset anything that goes wrong.

It's time to move on
This is a just a typical whiny viewpoint. Sure injuries and such happen for lots of teams. Those teams usually struggle then until they have a year or so of relative health and player development. The teams that can get away with it are usually just the blue bloods. That's why the college basketball landscape outside of the top teams changes so much year to year.

If you want to build a blue blood it would take time as well as good luck to build up that equity as a coach.
 

MinnGopher

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Not impressed from day 1. Always hopeful with a open mind but there are specific things I look for and have not seen. It is fine to have different takes on what we see and think. Appreciate your post.
I appreciate your insight, and he has made a ton of mistakes, but what did he really do wrong from day 1?

Also BGA, great post.
 

Gopherbbdude

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Pitino has had some bad luck, but I’m not sure Johnson was a matter of luck. Wasn’t his heart condition well known before he was brought in?
he was recruited by and had offers to many D1 schools and a MN kid #2 in his class I believe.
looking at his offers closer MSU, WI, Marquette, UNLV, WSU, TT... others

BG1 Mason was injured and played the second half of year 5 hurt (hip) He had a hip surgery after he graduated, that took a long time to heal.
 
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golfing18now

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Very good summary, BGA.

For my money, the Lynch situation really changed the trajectory of the Pitino tenure. He had a roster capable of finishing in the top three or four in the conference and possible DPOY manning the center spot. Then the run of injuries that occurred after the suspension was just a killer. He had a very real possibility of having two high finishes and three tournament appearances in a row if not for that week or two that dramatically changed "Year Five!". If that had played out differently, we wouldn't be hearing about all the "Year Seven!" references because it would have been unlikely he would have been on the hot seat even with a bottom tier finish.
 

builtbadgers

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I appreciate your insight, and he has made a ton of mistakes, but what did he really do wrong from day 1?

Also BGA, great post.
First mistake was not his, it was Teague who hired him while he had not shown a single thing to be considered a brilliant teacher and builder. At a school this good your not going to build right away to win right away with transfers but you have to recruit character first\, guys you can essentially lose with that you will win with because of that character. you establish a defensive and toughness identity from day one , the thing you can count on every single day. You hire a great staff. Could care less about age , long history of guys that did great early by calendar years but their growth in previous roles as assistant was really impressive. If his last name was Johnson he would never have been hired. That is not his fault for taking the job, thrilled for him that he got the opportunity. There were few if any any basketball folks without a bias that would have listed him as surefire like they did with Bennett or Wright or Stevens,Beard. People everywhere I went were raving about them. They stood out in way anyone would notice right away. He was the 7th choice for a reason, again not his fault but that first part of never having established a identity of character,tougness mentally and physically and committed to the toughness of playing defense is a great place to start. I get it, not everyone is gifted or great in every profession, few are. That is why they are called great. They blow away expectations, never make excuses, learn and grow. Why I stress defense is you can control it, recruit to it and build a team energy. You can survive bad shooting nights. Look at UVA. they are not even any good but they are 5-1 when scoring 50 or less and the rest of the country is 7-476 !!!! The part about your first two teams being guys you can lose with is about growing a culture that the old guys teach the young guys and everyone knows that a team lead by players leading players has a coach that is a true leader. The exception to this is the blue bloods who simply have the most talented players. YOU WILL NOT BEAT THEM AT THEIR GAME. So you find a way, a time tested way that works wonderfully and is sustainable, not a one year 4th place finish to proclaim greatness. That is what intrigues me about Fleck, created a culture, lost and then grew together and won. Will be awesome to see if he builds on that. What he has done on the football side is remarkable. Of course he was hired by a actual athletic director of ability.
 

bga1

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Very good summary, BGA.

For my money, the Lynch situation really changed the trajectory of the Pitino tenure. He had a roster capable of finishing in the top three or four in the conference and possible DPOY manning the center spot. Then the run of injuries that occurred after the suspension was just a killer. He had a very real possibility of having two high finishes and three tournament appearances in a row if not for that week or two that dramatically changed "Year Five!". If that had played out differently, we wouldn't be hearing about all the "Year Seven!" references because it would have been unlikely he would have been on the hot seat even with a bottom tier finish.
Yep- there is zero doubt in my mind that the team you refer to would have been 12-6 minimum instead of the abysmal 4-14 record they achieved with all the issues (Lynch + injuries). If he is coming off of 3 straight NCAAs does he coach a little differently knowing he is not on the hot seat? Obviously he did not develop a bench this year and that has been a major flaw. If he felt he could afford early losses by playing reserves more, would he have done it to develop the team? I think that the tension flows down to the players when the coach's seat is hot.
 

salzie

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This is a just a typical whiny viewpoint. Sure injuries and such happen for lots of teams. Those teams usually struggle then until they have a year or so of relative health and player development. The teams that can get away with it are usually just the blue bloods. That's why the college basketball landscape outside of the top teams changes so much year to year.

If you want to build a blue blood it would take time as well as good luck to build up that equity as a coach.

ryan james did a good piece on it.
 

builtbadgers

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Yep- there is zero doubt in my mind that the team you refer to would have been 12-6 minimum instead of the abysmal 4-14 record they achieved with all the issues (Lynch + injuries). If he is coming off of 3 straight NCAAs does he coach a little differently knowing he is not on the hot seat? Obviously he did not develop a bench this year and that has been a major flaw. If he felt he could afford early losses by playing reserves more, would he have done it to develop the team? I think that the tension flows down to the players when the coach's seat is hot.
Must take responsibility for even bringing Lynch here.
 

salzie

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he was recruited by and had offers to many D1 schools and a MN kid #2 in his class I believe.
looking at his offers closer MSU, WI, Marquette, UNLV, WSU, TT... others

BG1 Mason was injured and played the second half of year 5 hurt (hip) He had a hip surgery after he graduated, that took a long time to heal.

mason said in hindsight he should've had surgery, redshirted, and played for gophers last year
 

bga1

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First mistake was not his, it was Teague who hired him while he had not shown a single thing to be considered a brilliant teacher and builder. At a school this good your not going to build right away to win right away with transfers but you have to recruit character first\, guys you can essentially lose with that you will win with because of that character. you establish a defensive and toughness identity from day one , the thing you can count on every single day. You hire a great staff. Could care less about age , long history of guys that did great early by calendar years but their growth in previous roles as assistant was really impressive. If his last name was Johnson he would never have been hired. That is not his fault for taking the job, thrilled for him that he got the opportunity. There were few if any any basketball folks without a bias that would have listed him as surefire like they did with Bennett or Wright or Stevens,Beard. People everywhere I went were raving about them. They stood out in way anyone would notice right away. He was the 7th choice for a reason, again not his fault but that first part of never having established a identity of character,tougness mentally and physically and committed to the toughness of playing defense is a great place to start. I get it, not everyone is gifted or great in every profession, few are. That is why they are called great. They blow away expectations, never make excuses, learn and grow. Why I stress defense is you can control it, recruit to it and build a team energy. You can survive bad shooting nights. Look at UVA. they are not even any good but they are 5-1 when scoring 50 or less and the rest of the country is 7-476 !!!! The part about your first two teams being guys you can lose with is about growing a culture that the old guys teach the young guys and everyone knows that a team lead by players leading players has a coach that is a true leader. The exception to this is the blue bloods who simply have the most talented players. YOU WILL NOT BEAT THEM AT THEIR GAME. So you find a way, a time tested way that works wonderfully and is sustainable, not a one year 4th place finish to proclaim greatness. That is what intrigues me about Fleck, created a culture, lost and then grew together and won. Will be awesome to see if he builds on that. What he has done on the football side is remarkable. Of course he was hired by a actual athletic director of ability.
He had a great referral from Donovan but certainly there was bias there. He also did an incredible job in the one year at FIU. He cobbled a roster from nothing and developed an identity of getting steals and getting out and running. Yes- the resume was too short, but he did perform in that short window.
 

Gopherbbdude

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year 5 was also the year we lost Ben Johnson I believe. K. Young was the following year....I think
 

MNgradinWI

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Last night I decided to look back at the Pitino era through the eyes of the GH posters. This is not to nail anyone but just to look and see how perceptions have changed over time and to make some sense of how we got here.

So I looked at key junctures in his path to where we are:

Year one- At the beginning of that year there was an article posted quoting Andre Hollins that Pitino has brought a breath of fresh air to the program - a new excitement. Months later Mo Walker had lost a bunch of weight and we had a speedy little PG. The problem was having no power forward- a fatal flaw in the Big Ten. At the end of the year, we won the NIT and the pretty much universal opinion here was that Pitino has done a terrific coaching job with what he had to work with. That was an opinion shared by Scools and Halsey Hall. The team ran and led the league in +/- turnovers.

But the problems with recruiting were already underway- though we perhaps didn't know it. Pitino shot for 5 star players and seemed to get an audience with a lot of players but could not close the deal. He did get Mason and Martin but reached for Konate and Dheidou and also got Carlos Morris. As we now know- only Mason had a productive career. With the misses year three was now fated to be a bad one. It was a class he had to nail and he didn't. In a 4 year span - the last two years of Tubby and the first two years of Pitino- the Gophers really only got 2 solid players, Lil Dre and Mason. Lofton transferred in but never saw the floor and was dismissed. McNeil got in trouble and he was gone.

For year three he did land a nice class of Murphy, McBrayer, Dorsey, Johnson and Gilbert. Of course we got terrible news on Johnson and he would never play. Still the guys who could were athletic and promising but the on court results were dreadful. There was already talk on the GH that Pitino was in over his head. Then we went into Indiana and looked amazing until losing at the end. Shortly after that we stunned Maryland and it appeared the future might be bright with these young guys. That didn't last long, however, as soon after we had a sex scandal and the three involved were suspended and the season ended in a train wreck, killing the joy. Pitino was on the hot seat with some of the GHers and some of the media right then and there.

Year 4 he gets Lynch to transfer in and we suddenly have post defense. We also add Coffey, Curry and Hurt and go 11-7 in conference- 4th place, Pitino is coach of the year in the Big Ten, Pitino gets his first NCAA appearance and we are ready to be great in the following year. Adding to the excitement we get two New York kids, top 100 PG IW and a great shooter in Harris. We had talent AND depth for the first time in the Pitino era.

Year 5 brings a team that is ranked as high as 12th in the country. Curry was out for the year right off the bat but the team still was strong. But the bizarre Alabama game brought a weird feeling about the team. Then shortly after, the Lynch fiasco. Then Coffey got hurt, McBrayer was playing hurt, IW and Harris were not fitting and the team was gutted. A promising year down the drain and really a total buzz kill for the program which appeared to have great momentum.

In the process we do land Oturu, Gabe and Omersa and in year 6 the team is again competitive. Marcus Carr transfers in but inexplicably the NCAA rules against eligibility - he has to sit. Squeaking into the NCAAs and getting a big win against Louisville with Murphy and Coffey leading the way, with Coffey playing out of position at the point. Perhaps Carr would have been a difference maker? It seems so.

Coffey goes NBA waiting until the last minute to decide. Losing Murph and Coffey, it looks like a mediocre year 7, IW and Harris are gone as IW sees that Carr is the PG. The recruiting class appears solid for the long term but no immediate stars and really not a ton of instant depth either. Curry will be back, but nope, he is hurt again and never plays a minute. The team struggles early against perhaps the toughest schedule in the nation. Pitino feeling the seat being hot, plays a tight lineup and the young guys get little court time. But as Big Ten season starts, Oturu is a star and so is Carr and the team starts to look pretty promising and will perhaps deliver Pitino and fans a third NCAA in four years. Close game after close game are lost through a tragic comedy of errors and here we are today- another losing year.

My assessment is that Pitino can coach at this level, although I think he has been coaching "tight" and not to lose for a few years. He has been off and on the hot seat since year 3 and it shows. He has had a ton of recruiting misses and misfortunes mostly in the early years:

Pure recruiting misses:
Martin, Konate, Dheidou, Harris, Gilbert, Hurt, Greenlee ( I like him but probably), IW (bad fit in Big Ten)

Can play but character issues:
McNeil, Lofton, Lynch, Dorsey

Pure bad luck:
Curry, Johnson, first year of Carr, Buckles ( the big PF we could have had in year 1 but NCAA said no)

Add it up and you have 14 recruits that couldn't/ didn't contribute much for varying reasons and that is behind the serious depth issue Pitino has had. Over that time period you get perhaps 20-24 recruits to work with. You simply cannot survive on a less than 50/50 success ratio.

Bottom line: I think he can coach but his rosters have been dreadfully thin due to the recruiting issues. It has cut down on his options, tightened him up as a coach, put him on the hot seat and changed the arc of his program.
I think his recruiting is getting better with high character guys. I see better defense when the guys aren't worn out and they compete hard in every game save for a few clinkers (Iowa there and home to Indiana). I think he is going to be a good coach somewhere, perhaps really good, but I think it will be difficult for him to regain momentum here without some unexpected shot in the arm like a great spring recruiting crop (maybe Walton a Juco star and a grad transfer would do that). Tough situation.

I think that a whole range of opinions on the situation are valid. In terms of recruiting he has made much of the situation he faces.
Great summary and pretty much spot on. I just don't think we are heading in the right direction though.
 

fair

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mason said in hindsight he should've had surgery, redshirted, and played for gophers last year
Hearing that killed me... what could've been with that veteran core of Mason, Coffey (playing in position), and Murphy.
 

howeda7

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I don't really disagree with the OP, but I don't see the course correcting. He appears to have no real momentum with in-state recruits and that is the key to fixing where we are.
 

builtbadgers

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He had a great referral from Donovan but certainly there was bias there. He also did an incredible job in the one year at FIU. He cobbled a roster from nothing and developed an identity of getting steals and getting out and running. Yes- the resume was too short, but he did perform in that short window.
That style does not fly in the Big 10. Again, your titled to use the word incredible for the FIU job but I would go with OK. He has had 7 years. Still behind him to the end, he can still win next year. This team can beat practically anyone but you have to do it as could have, would have, if and but mean absolutely nothing to me.
 
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Last night I decided to look back at the Pitino era through the eyes of the GH posters. This is not to nail anyone but just to look and see how perceptions have changed over time and to make some sense of how we got here.

So I looked at key junctures in his path to where we are:

Year one- At the beginning of that year there was an article posted quoting Andre Hollins that Pitino has brought a breath of fresh air to the program - a new excitement. Months later Mo Walker had lost a bunch of weight and we had a speedy little PG. The problem was having no power forward- a fatal flaw in the Big Ten. At the end of the year, we won the NIT and the pretty much universal opinion here was that Pitino has done a terrific coaching job with what he had to work with. That was an opinion shared by Scools and Halsey Hall. The team ran and led the league in +/- turnovers.

But the problems with recruiting were already underway- though we perhaps didn't know it. Pitino shot for 5 star players and seemed to get an audience with a lot of players but could not close the deal. He did get Mason and Martin but reached for Konate and Dheidou and also got Carlos Morris. As we now know- only Mason had a productive career. With the misses year three was now fated to be a bad one. It was a class he had to nail and he didn't. In a 4 year span - the last two years of Tubby and the first two years of Pitino- the Gophers really only got 2 solid players, Lil Dre and Mason. Lofton transferred in but never saw the floor and was dismissed. McNeil got in trouble and he was gone.

For year three he did land a nice class of Murphy, McBrayer, Dorsey, Johnson and Gilbert. Of course we got terrible news on Johnson and he would never play. Still the guys who could were athletic and promising but the on court results were dreadful. There was already talk on the GH that Pitino was in over his head. Then we went into Indiana and looked amazing until losing at the end. Shortly after that we stunned Maryland and it appeared the future might be bright with these young guys. That didn't last long, however, as soon after we had a sex scandal and the three involved were suspended and the season ended in a train wreck, killing the joy. Pitino was on the hot seat with some of the GHers and some of the media right then and there.

Year 4 he gets Lynch to transfer in and we suddenly have post defense. We also add Coffey, Curry and Hurt and go 11-7 in conference- 4th place, Pitino is coach of the year in the Big Ten, Pitino gets his first NCAA appearance and we are ready to be great in the following year. Adding to the excitement we get two New York kids, top 100 PG IW and a great shooter in Harris. We had talent AND depth for the first time in the Pitino era.

Year 5 brings a team that is ranked as high as 12th in the country. Curry was out for the year right off the bat but the team still was strong. But the bizarre Alabama game brought a weird feeling about the team. Then shortly after, the Lynch fiasco. Then Coffey got hurt, McBrayer was playing hurt, IW and Harris were not fitting and the team was gutted. A promising year down the drain and really a total buzz kill for the program which appeared to have great momentum.

In the process we do land Oturu, Gabe and Omersa and in year 6 the team is again competitive. Marcus Carr transfers in but inexplicably the NCAA rules against eligibility - he has to sit. Squeaking into the NCAAs and getting a big win against Louisville with Murphy and Coffey leading the way, with Coffey playing out of position at the point. Perhaps Carr would have been a difference maker? It seems so.

Coffey goes NBA waiting until the last minute to decide. Losing Murph and Coffey, it looks like a mediocre year 7, IW and Harris are gone as IW sees that Carr is the PG. The recruiting class appears solid for the long term but no immediate stars and really not a ton of instant depth either. Curry will be back, but nope, he is hurt again and never plays a minute. The team struggles early against perhaps the toughest schedule in the nation. Pitino feeling the seat being hot, plays a tight lineup and the young guys get little court time. But as Big Ten season starts, Oturu is a star and so is Carr and the team starts to look pretty promising and will perhaps deliver Pitino and fans a third NCAA in four years. Close game after close game are lost through a tragic comedy of errors and here we are today- another losing year.

My assessment is that Pitino can coach at this level, although I think he has been coaching "tight" and not to lose for a few years. He has been off and on the hot seat since year 3 and it shows. He has had a ton of recruiting misses and misfortunes mostly in the early years:

Pure recruiting misses:
Martin, Konate, Dheidou, Harris, Gilbert, Hurt, Greenlee ( I like him but probably), IW (bad fit in Big Ten)

Can play but character issues:
McNeil, Lofton, Lynch, Dorsey

Pure bad luck:
Curry, Johnson, first year of Carr, Buckles ( the big PF we could have had in year 1 but NCAA said no)

Add it up and you have 14 recruits that couldn't/ didn't contribute much for varying reasons and that is behind the serious depth issue Pitino has had. Over that time period you get perhaps 20-24 recruits to work with. You simply cannot survive on a less than 50/50 success ratio.

Bottom line: I think he can coach but his rosters have been dreadfully thin due to the recruiting issues. It has cut down on his options, tightened him up as a coach, put him on the hot seat and changed the arc of his program.
I think his recruiting is getting better with high character guys. I see better defense when the guys aren't worn out and they compete hard in every game save for a few clinkers (Iowa there and home to Indiana). I think he is going to be a good coach somewhere, perhaps really good, but I think it will be difficult for him to regain momentum here without some unexpected shot in the arm like a great spring recruiting crop (maybe Walton a Juco star and a grad transfer would do that). Tough situation.

I think that a whole range of opinions on the situation are valid. In terms of recruiting he has made much of the situation he faces.
Great Post. I would be interested where Pitino's straight up recruiting misses stack up against other coaches in the B1G? Pitino has around 8-10 depending on where you stand on the character issues. Is his miss number way higher than other coaches? Does he not force out recruits as hard as other coaches?
 
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