Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Pitino Says Louisville Can Have Mini-Dynasty; Behanan ‘Positive’ He Will Return
The way Rick Pitino sees it, Louisville is one Final Four away from a mini-dynasty.
“It’s going to be an exciting season,” Pitino said, according to The (Louisville) Courier-Journal. “We are one year away from a potential mini-dynasty — one year.”
Louisville reached the Final Four in 2012 and then won the NCAA championship in April. If they get back to the Final Four this year, that would be three in a row.
“If these players rise to the occasion once again — win another conference championship, go back to the Final Four — it takes three to have the makings of a dynasty,” Pitino said.
Kentucky — which is loaded with freshmen and future lottery picks — won the NCAA title in 2012, beating Louisville in the national semifinals.
The two Kentucky teams could end up battling it out again this year in the Final Four, with the state of Kentucky possibly winning three straight titles.
Louisville returns a slew of experienced players in Russ Smith, the Preseason American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, along with Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock, and adds highly touted junior college point guard Chris Jones.
Sophomore forward Chane Behananwas suspended indefinitely last week, but told Rick Bozich he is “positive” he will return to the team.
“I think this team is nowhere near its potential,” Pitino said, according to the Courier Journal. “We have so many new parts … you’ve got five guys you’re trying to put into the lineup, and then you try to take Montrezl Harrell and take him from a role player to someone who will play a lot of minutes. Right now we’re nowhere near where we need to be, but that’s to be expected.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.