The most popular name among UNLV fans for the open head coaching job is Rick Pitino. But fans might not be the only ones that want Pitino in Vegas.
According to Sam Gordon of the Review-Journal, current players are on board with Pitino.
Gordon wrote: “A UNLV player who spoke to the Review-Journal on the condition of anonymity said ‘none of us are really fazed’ by Otzelberger’s departure, noting that Otzelberger addressed the team Thursday morning shortly before an official announcement.
“The player also mentioned Pitino as someone he would like UNLV to consider.”
First, it is good news that the players are not fazed by Otzelberger’s departure. That would seemingly imply the new head coach will have a chance to keep some of the current players around. Even though UNLV wasn’t any good this year, keeping some of the roster intact will be beneficial.
Now Rick Pitino getting a semi-endorsement from a player is interesting. I would doubt that Desiree Reed-Francois would take the players’ input too seriously, but a coach that the players like would help continuity.
Anonymous UNLV players are not the only people with Rick Pitino to UNLV opinions. Dick Vitale really doesn’t think Pitino is going to UNLV.
There are a lot of reasons Pitino isn’t coming to UNLV. He has a $10 million buyout from Iona. Plus, Reed-Francois is unlikely to hire a coach with baggage.
But don’t let any of this kill your dreams. Keep hoping Rick Pitino is the one to save UNLV basketball. The coaching search wouldn’t be fun without it.