College basketball: St. John's coach Rick Pitino calls players weak; bashes facilities

Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Coach Rick Pitino bashed his players after another St. John's loss, calling them unathletic, slow and weak. He also criticized team facilities and said he is having the "most unenjoyable experience" of his life.

Pitino unloaded the deluge of dissatisfaction after the Red Storm's 68-62 loss to Seton Hall on Sunday in Elmont, N.Y. The Red Storm made the NCAA tournament once in their previous eight seasons. They are 14-12 under Pitino, who was hired in March.


"This is the most unenjoyable experience of my lifetime," Pitino told reporters. "This has been so disappointing."

The Red Storm got off to a 12-4 start this season. They lost eight of their last 10 since then. The Red Storm rank 116th of 362 teams in points per game (76.1). They rank 149th in points allowed (70.8).

Pitino lambasted his team's toughness, and said the Red Storm's lack of lateral speed leads to fouls while his players try to defend foes.

"I think they're unathletic," Pitino said. "I don't think they move well laterally. I don't think they are going to pick it up in the next week. I think they are slow laterally."


The Red Storm led by as many as 19 points in the first half of Sunday's game. They were outscored 39-21 in the second half. They were outscored 32-18 in the paint and were called for 28 personal fouls. The Pirates had 14.

"Joel [Soriano]'s slow laterally, he's not fast on the court," Pitino said. "Chris Ledlum is slow laterally, Sean Conway's slow laterally. Brady [Dunlap's] physically weak, Drissa [Traore] is slow laterally."

Pitino owns an 848-305 overall record in more than 35 years as a collegiate head coach. He also posted a 192-220 record in six seasons as an NBA coach, including tenures with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.

"Even the Celtics, when we lost, I enjoyed every minute being the Boston Celtic coach," Pitino said. "I didn't like the fact that we lost the following year, but this has been the most unenjoyable experience I've had since I've been coaching."

The Red Storm will face Georgetown at 7 p.m. EST Wednesday in Washington, D.C. They will start Big East Tournament play March 13.

"Do we have [expletive] facilities? Yes, we do," Pitino said. "But we're doing something about that. That's not the reason we're losing. Having [expletive] facilities has nothing to do with guarding."


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