Weeks after saying he was done coaching, former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino now says he wants another shot at the NBA and hopes he can become a candidate next year.
Pitino was fired last October amid a federal investigation into corruption and allegations that shady agents and executives tried to steer young recruits to schools associated with shoe companies.
The Department of Justice charged 10 people, including four college basketball assistant coaches, in conjunction with a corruption and fraud scheme and implicated the Cardinals program in the illegal payment of a recruit.
Last week, Adidas director of global marketing James Gatto, Adidas consultant basketball organizer Merl Code and recruiter Christian Dawkins were convicted in New York of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges.
Pitino has maintained his innocence throughout and said he was done with coaching during an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” last month. He explained that he didn’t want to force future employers to answer questions about any scandal that happened during his collegiate coaching career.
"I just want to be a part of an organization," Pitino said to ESPN. "I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I'm using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I'd have deep interest in it.
"I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization. That's my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success."
The 66-year-old Pitino, who won a national title at Kentucky, last coached in the NBA with the Boston Celtics in 2001. He also coached the New York Knicks for two seasons, before being hired at Kentucky in 1989.