Yesterday, a big in-depth story in the Washington Post was published regarding Romeo Langford’s recruitment to Indiana and the influence of shoe companies, particularly Adidas, surrounding the process.
Let’s get this straight. The story does not implicate Indiana or Archie Miller of any wrongdoing. In fact, other than noting Langford’s final decision to attend his home state school, IU is rarely mentioned. Instead, Adidas is the focal point of this article, which chronicles the shoe company’s efforts to keep Langford’s family in its good graces. So don’t believe the nonsense tweets and stories from UK outlets that this story alone is going to bring down IU once and for all.
Holy smokes, folks. Rick Pitino is kinda snitching on Romeo Langford and this isn't a good look for Indiana/Langford. https://t.co/fOTu0W83QI— T.J. Walker (@TJWalkerKSR) May 16, 2018
Ultimately, the article doesn’t break any new ground or uncover any hidden truths if you’ve been following college basketball and recruiting for a while. AAU leagues and apparel companies have a ton of clout when recruiting players to schools, while NCAA has done nothing to rein this in, continuing to turn a blind eye and let the FBI try to investigate it. And when the NCAA does hand out punishments, it gives slaps on the wrist to major programs while harshly punishing smaller schools. All while professing that their athletes don’t need to be paid, even for endorsement deals.
But you knew all that already.
And the source material for this article seems to be none other than disgraced former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, whose name keeps popping up throughout the story.
Here’s Pitino, talking about the effort to keep Langford’s dad’s AAU program under the Adidas league:
In January 2017, Pitino said, two Adidas officials met with him to discuss their efforts to keep Nike and Under Armour from landing Langford, whom Pitino was recruiting. Pitino’s account was supported by text messages he shared with The Washington Post for a previous story.
“The way they phrased it, it was [whichever shoe company] was going to pay the dad’s AAU program the most money, gets it,” Pitino said in a recent phone interview.
And here he is just a few lines later, reminding us once again that Rick Pitino never did anything wrong in his life:
“That’s the way that world works,” Pitino said. “Which is completely legal, by the way.”
Which brings us to this: why do we need to hear from Rick Pitino anymore? And should he be relevant to these conversations?
At the end of the day, Rick Pitino is just showing his two-faced self to the world again.
Pitino, who’s now been out of the game for almost a year, has continually maintained his innocence throughout every single scandal he’s been part of. And yet despite this, he seems to know a whole lot about how the sausage gets made behind the scenes.
The WaPo story on Langford's recruitment reads as Rick Pitino trying to throw everyone but himself under the bus. He's taken no accountability for his actions yet will go to great lengths to try and damage the reputation of others.— Josh Margolis (@MargolisNews) May 16, 2018
Rick Pitino once again is trying to turn himself into a martyr, a simple man who was just the innocent victim of a larger, corrupt environment going on around him. He knew nothing of the Brian Bowen commitment, apparently, even though he claims to know the intricate details surrounding Langford. He’s a legendary control freak who apparently didn’t know that one of his assistants was paying strippers and prostitutes to sleep with recruits. He allowed his school to self-impose a postseason ban on Louisville players - including star NBA rookie Donovan Mitchell and two grad transfers who came to Louisville for the opportunity to play in March Madness - in order to try and cover his own tracks.
And it’s clear that even though Pitino claims he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore, there will always just happen to be another interview for him to open his mouth. In fact, Pitino was on Louisville radio last night discussing this story, even though he said this to Dan Patrick only a month ago:
"You're my last show. I've told you the truth. My last comment is I've never given a player $5 in my life." - Rick Pitino says he's done doing interviews on @dpshow— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) April 5, 2018
So don’t listen to Pitino’s Jose Canseco shtick. His motives are laid bare: this is a guy who’s clearly upset that he won’t be coaching Romeo Langford in the Yum Center next fall, so he’s going to use his connections of 40+ years of coaching to get back at everyone else. Especially when it just so happens that he’s indirectly targeting a school that plays the team his son coaches at least once a year.
Don’t fall for it.