Rick Pitino unleashes on St. John's facilities, following players' loss to Seton Hall

St. John's coach Rick Pitino didn't mince his words after the Red Storm's 68-62 loss to Seton Hall on Sunday. The 71-year-old launched a blistering attack on his availability after the match, criticizing the team's facilities, hounding his players and declaring his first season with St John's “the most unenjoyable experience of my life”.

Do we have facilities? Yes we do,” Pitino said. “The presence of private facilities has nothing to do with not being guarded.”

It was a promising start for St. John's at UBS Arena. In the first half, the Red Storm led 41-29. St. John's largest lead was 19 points. Seton Hall erased its first-half deficit with 8:13 remaining in the second half, when senior goalie Prince Dawes converted a layup. St. John's led by one point, 53-52, with 5:22 left in the game, but it would be the Red Storm's last lead. Seton Hall went on a 12-2 run to take a 64-55 lead with 1:03 remaining. Dawes finished with 19 points while senior guard Kadare Richmond finished with 18 points (14 in the second half) and 11 rebounds.

Seton Hall limited St. John's to 33.8 percent shooting from the floor (23 of 68) and 24 percent from beyond the arc (6 of 25). The Red Storm committed 15 turnovers. Pitino did not hesitate when talking about individual players, singling out their movement and physicality on the field.

“See: Joel [Soriano]“He's slow laterally, not quick down the field,” Pitino said. “Chris Ludlum is slow on the side, Sean Conway is slow on the side. Brady [Dunlap]Physically weak, Derisa [Traore] Slow laterally.”

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Pitino said the team “lost this season with the way we recruited.” He said that the players do not agree with the way he coaches.

“We employed the opposite of the way I coach, which is speed, quickness, fundamentals, strength and toughness,” Pitino said. “It's a good group, they're trying hard, but they're not very strong.”

On Jan. 10, after beating Providence at home, St. John's was 12-4, ranked 34th in the NET and looked well on its way to going to the NCAA Tournament in Pitino's first season. Since then, the Red Storm have lost eight of their last 10 games to fall out of the bubble. At this point, they would have to win the Big East Championship to get into the dance.

When Pitino held his first news conference after taking over last March, he said: “A lot of these players probably won't come back to this team because they're probably not a good fit for me.” He was true to his word, bringing in 11 new players and losing productive players like AJ Storr (Wisconsin), David Jones (Memphis), Posh Alexander (Butler), and Omar Stanley (Boise State). He now blames many of the players he brought in as not being good enough.

It's reminiscent of Pitino's famous “Larry Bird doesn't walk through that door” statement when he was coach of the Boston Celtics — even though he was responsible for most of that roster as well.

This is just classic Pitino. When things don't go well, he's really miserable. The good news is, at least in his college career, things don't stay miserable under his coaching for very long. Pitino won two national championships (Louisville's 2013 title was later vacated) and appeared in seven Final Fours. He is the first coach to take three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to the national semifinals. Pitino also coached in the NBA with the New York Knicks (1987 to 1989) and Celtics (1997 to 2001). Before St. John's, Pitino coached Iona from 2020 to 2023, leading the Gaels to two NCAA Tournament appearances.

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After Sunday's loss, St. John's is 14-12 and ninth in the Big East Conference standings. The Red Storm's next game is Wednesday away to Georgetown. Pitino – the Hall of Fame coach – was not confident.

“I'm just getting ready to play Georgetown because Georgetown can definitely beat us.”

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(Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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