Rick Pitino-Dan Hurley rivalry is 'healthy' for the Big East and college basketball, UConn associate head coach says | Zagsblog
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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.
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Sunday / May 26.
  • Rick Pitino-Dan Hurley rivalry is ‘healthy’ for the Big East and college basketball, UConn associate head coach says

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    The Rick Pitino-Dan Hurley rivalry is heating up ahead of the big St. John’s-UConn game on Feb. 3 at Madison Square Garden.

    Hurley and the Huskies already won a competitive game against Pitino and St. John’s on Dec. 23 in Hartford.

    Pitino, the 71-year-old Hall of Famer, wants to play UConn at Carnesecca Arena next season, while Hurley has said there’s been a lot of of “punching up” from those programs that haven’t been as successful as the five-time NCAA champion Huskies.

    That prompted Steve Masiello, Pitino’s associate head coach, to chime in with his own response.

    Kimani Young is in a unique position to view the growing feud. He worked under Richard Pitino, Rick’s son and now the New Mexico coach, for several years at Minnesota, and is now Hurley’s associate head coach at UConn.

    He believes the growing rivalry between the two Big East coaches — and their programs — is “healthy” for the Big East and for college basketball.

    “Absolutely, it’s a healthy rivalry,” Young, a Queens, N.Y. native, told me for the College Basketball Coast2Coast podcast, which you can listen to here (the Pitino-Hurley rivalry starts at the 27:13 mark).

    “I grew up watching the Big East, there were always colorful personalities in the Big East,” added Young, who spent a year at St. John’s as the program’s head team manager and video coordinator. “Not only great coaches, but guys that were super-competitive. That’s what this conference was built on.

    “And to see us getting back to that, it’s a cool thing to be a part of. I mean, listen, that’s what this thing is about. We’re a few hours away from each other, we compete in recruiting. Obviously, we compete for the media market.

    “They’re trying to rebuild their program, we’re still climbing, doing what we’re doing, so it’s a healthy rivalry to be a part of.”

    Tune in Feb. 3 for the latest installment of this growing rivalry.

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    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.

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