It took less than a week for Rick Pitino to respond to the obvious jab he took from John Calipari. In case you missed Cal’s comments to Matt Jones of KSTV, here is a quote from Calipari responding to the question if the Big Blue Madness campout could happen at any other program in the country.
“It’s a unique thing,” Calipari said. “There’s no other state, none, that’s as connected to their basketball program as this one. Because those other states have other programs. Michigan has Michigan State, California has UCLA, North Carolina has Duke. It’s Kentucky throughout this whole state, and that’s what makes us unique.”
If you don’t see that as an obvious and blatant jab at Rick Pitino and Louisville, then you are very delusional.
In a recent sit down with Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, Pitino had this to say. “Four things I’ve learned in my 59 years about people,” Pitino told CBSSports.com on Wednesday.“I ignore the jealous, I ignore the malicious, I ignore the ignorant and I ignore the paranoid. If the shoe fits anyone,” he added. “Wear it.”
The CBS article was published just a few hours after Rick Bozich of the Courier-Journal published a column titled “John Calipari Has A Bad Case Of Rick Pitino Envy.” Although I don’t think evny is the right word, Calipari obviously has some type of obsession with Rick Pitino. In my opinion, I think Calipari seems very insecure. Calipari’s Kentucky program has obviously been better than Pitino and Louisville over the past two seasons. It pains me a little bit to say that, but it’s obvious. In Cal’s tenure at Kentucky, he has out recruited Pitino and taken his Kentucky team further in the NCAA tournament than Louisville. Calipari is fresh off a final four run, that has yet to be vacated. He has brought in three consecutive number one recruiting classes. To the average eye, Calipari has nothing to prove to Rick Pitino. However, Calipari is so insecure that he feels the need to jab at him.
Maybe he is insecure because his 08-09 team had five first round draft picks, but couldn’t make it to the final four. Maybe it’s because two of his final four trips have been vacated. Or just maybe, it’s because he wants so badly to be the Rick Pitino of the 90’s.
I honestly think Pitino should have kept a tight lip and not stooped the Calipari’s level, but I don’t have a problem with any of the things he said. I have said this time and time again. Louisville & Kentucky is probably not as big of a rivalry as North Carolina & Duke, but I don’t think there are two schools, fan bases, and coaches that hate each other more than Louisville & Kentucky.