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Hot Topic

Hot Topic
You have heard it repeated a million times since Rick Pitino left the Boston Celtics eight years ago.

Pitino, the head coach at Louisville, is not an NBA guy.

He is a college guy.

Florida's Billy Donovan, in San Antonio on Friday to address a coaches' convention, isn't necessarily buying that line of thinking.

"He's different than a lot of college coaches," Donovan said. "He's got a lot of experience in the NBA . He's got a lot of understanding of the NBA game."

The subject of Pitino's expertise - college vs. NBA - hit the airwaves and the talk shows Friday morning soon after news surfaced that he might be a potential candidate for the vacant coaching job with the Sacramento Kings.

Donovan, speaking to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches convention at Municipal Auditorium, didn't seem surprised that Pitino's name had come up in NBA circles again.

"Like anything else," said Donovan, a Pitino ally for more than 20 years, "if you do something well ... Let's just say it wouldn't surprise me if Sacramento is interested, but I couldn't tell you about his interest."

According to reports on Yahoo! Sports and, intermediaries in Pitino's camp contacted the Kings.

Pitino wasn't available for comment. But a Louisville spokesman told the Associated Press the coach isn't going to Sacramento.

Louisville went 31-6 last season and snagged the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, only to lose to Michigan State in a regional final.

All told, Pitino has won 74 percent of his games in 22 seasons as a college coach. He's advanced to four Final Fours and has won an NCAA title (at Kentucky, in 1996).

In the NBA , Pitino's touch isn't as magical.

He has won only 46 percent of his games in a little more than five years. He floundered as president and coach of the Celtics for three plus losing seasons before resigning in January 2001.

As to whether Pitino will stay at Louisville or whether he will make the jump to the NBA , Donovan, who won back-to-back NCAA titles at Florida in 2006 and 2007, didn't speculate.

But he is one who thinks his former mentor could succeed in the NBA under the right circumstances.

"It just depends on where he wants to be," Donovan said.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 11, 2009


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