Pitino Rico Preparing To Face DominiCal Republic?

In a selfless gesture of goodwill to the lovely people of Puerto Rico, Rick Pitino has agreed to coach the country’s national basketball team for three months beginning in April.

John Calipari Maker's Mark Photo

(Now duty-free!?)

As Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com recently noted, the move is in no way designed as a way for Pitino to horn in on the talents of one of the top young guard talents in the world. It’s all total and complete coincidence. (How could you think such a thing?)

Speaking of complete coincidences, with Pitino pushing the boundaries of NCAA recruiting rules coaching in Puerto Rico, I’m sure it’ll come as a major surprise to you that John Calipari is seriously considering taking over as coach of neighboring Dominican Republic.

A Puerto Rico basketball blog reported Monday night:

There have been several conversations between people who are associated with both sides about getting John (Calipari) down there to coach the National Team. This has absolutely nothing to do with what the Puerto Rican Federation has done with Rick (Pitino).

Wait, who out there was thinking that it actually was?

Calipari apparently is considering using the same model as Pitino. Working for free for a couple-three months in order to lockdown an island said to be full of burgeoning basketball talent. (See Al Horford, Charlie Villanueva, Francisco Garcia and Trevor Ariza.)

“Free” of course is a relative term.

I wonder if the apparel company employing Calipari might compensate him for the ability to achieve a certain profile during his stint? (Likewise Pitino.)


Dominican Republic Basketball Federation President Frank Herasme and Treasurer Rafael Uribe initiated contact months ago. Both sides are seriously considering this and a meeting between the two parties could happen in the next two weeks.

Adam Zagoria of ZAGSBLOG also noted:

A source close to the Dominican Basketball Federation told ZAGSBLOG: “The Federation is seriously considering this. The fact of the matter is it makes all the sense in the world. Coach Cal and you bring in Coach Orlando Antigua [who is Dominican].

In all seriousness, for a country as poor as the Dominican Republic, I’m not sure how it isn’t a good thing for Calipari to be down there helping the country with its basketball program. Likewise Pitino in Puerto Rico.

Their presence will also spice up the games enough that some of us might actually be interested in watching non-Olympic international basketball.