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Rick Pitino: Social media poisons athletes' minds

Rick Pitino (Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Rick Pitino does not have personal Facebook or Twitter pages.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Rick Pitino won an NCAA tournament in 1996 and again last year.

One of the biggest differences between then and now is social media, something the Louisville coach wishes he could eradicate from his team.

"Every hour, it's like taking a little bit of poison," the 61-year-old said Wednesday on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" show. "It poisons their minds.

"I think technology is a great thing in many instances, and I think it's poison in others, and for people in sports especially."

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Pitino, who said some of his players have admitted to using social media at least four hours a day, has banned his players from Twitter. But some, including star Russ Smith, have Instagram and Facebook accounts.

"I'm trying to get our players to read more, pay attention to important things," Pitino said. "We as parents and teachers, we want our children, we want our players to communicate, to articulate a message, to get in front of a human resources person and articulate their passion for wanting a job. We're losing our abilities to communicate, especially young people today."

Pitino has won 684 NCAA games in 27 seasons. No. 11 Louisville is 22-4 and 11-2 in conference. It has won five in a row heading into Saturday's game against No. 7 Cincinnati (23-3, 12-1 AAC).

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