Rick Pitino Unleashes on St. Johns. ‘Most Unenjoyable Experience’


Feb 18, 2024; Elmont, New York, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino yells out instructions in the first half against the Seton Hall Pirates at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

QUEENS — St. John’s head coach Rick Pitino is not a happy camper. To say the least.

The 71-year-old sounded off after the Red Storm’s 68-62 loss to Seton Hall on Sunday, criticizing the team’s facilities, going after his players, and expressing his misery in Queens.

“This has been the most unenjoyable experience I’ve had since I’ve been coaching.”

“Do we have s—y facilities? Yes we do,” Pitino said. “Having s—y facilities has nothing to do with not guarding.”

Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It was a promising start for St. John’s on Sunday at the UBS Arena. They held a 41-29 lead at halftime, and led by 19 points at one point. But the Pirates came storming back and won the game — virtually ending the Red Storm’s season.

“We are so nonathletic that we can’t guard anybody without fouling. And really it’s not about losing. Even winning, when I watch the film, I see unathletic plays, I see people that don’t handle the ball, that are just interested in taking quick shots. It’s been a disappointing year.”

Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Pitino also did not hold back when discussing individual players, singling them out for their physicality on the court.

“Look: Joel [Soriano]’s slow laterally, he’s not fast on the court,” Pitino said. “Chris Ludlum is slow laterally, Sean Conway’s slow laterally. Brady [Dunlap]’s physically weak, Drissa [Traore] is slow laterally.”

Pitino blames the underwhelming season to his roster construction, or lack thereof

“We kind of lost this season with the way we recruited. We recruited the antithesis of the way I coach. It’s a good group, they try hard, but they’re just not very tough.”

Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With the loss, St. John’s fell to 14-12 overall and 6-9 in the Big East, placing them in ninth place. A considerable falloff from when the team was 12-4 back on Jan. 10 — having just beaten Providence at home. At that point, it seemed the NCAA Tournament was likely.

Some would call it classic Pitino. When things aren’t going well, he’s miserable. The good news? The legendary coach has won two National Championships and appeared in seven Final Fours. So odds are, better days are ahead.

But maybe not for his current roster.

When the 71-year-old had his first news conference after taking the job last March, he said, “a lot of these players probably won’t be back on this team because they’re probably not a good fit for me.”

Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Next up for Pitino and St. Johns? A date with Georgetown (8-17) on Wednesday night.

“I’m just getting ready for Georgetown because (they) can definitely beat us.”

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