When read in context, Rick Pitino is right about social media

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source:
Fox Sports Live

That’s the quote that made the rounds on twitter last night, thanks in large part to this tweet from Fox Sports Live’s official account.

The actual quote can be heard at the 8:25 mark of the video below, dug up by Stephen Douglas of The Big Lead. It comes after Pitino had answered a couple of questions from the local media about racism and segregation in New York when he was growing up. The question he was responding to was about racist tweets that Russ Smith said he deals with. Seriously, give it a listen:

Here’s the thing: Pitino is exactly right! Here is everything that Pitino had to say:

“I think anybody who reads social media who’s in sports is not all there. I’m being very serious when I say that. … It’s a form of cowardice. It’s anonymous people.”

“To me, I think it’s the great class of underachievers who live on the Internet with social media. I think it’s people that just waste their time. And underachieve because of it because they’re not paying attention to what they should be achieving to. So it’s a waste of time. I don’t know why people do it. So Russ is wasting his time. And he does waste his time, and so does Chris Jones. They waste their time when they could be spent reading valuable things. So I think it’s not that I’m against certain facets of social media, because I’m not, but what you’re talking about, what Russ Smith is doing, is a total waste of energy, time. It’s insulting, intellectually, to be on it.”

The reporter then follows up with a question about how paying attention to twitter mentions and Instagram comments and the like opens an athlete up to criticism, and this is where Pitino makes his most salient point:

“So why would you do that? Why not go in a smoke-filled room and just inhale all of that if you’re healthy? That’s what you’re doing, aren’t you? What would you get out of it? It’s insulting to one’s intellect to read that stuff. So why would Russ do that?”

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Last night, during Oklahoma State’s loss to Baylor, Marcus Smart took to twitter to fire shots at Pistols Firing, SBNation’s Oklahoma State blog. It’s understandable. The Cowboys have been disappointing this season, and Pistols Firing has done what bloggers do these days — combined solid analysis with snarky criticism and the angst of a frustrated fan. 

This isn’t meant to criticize the site — they do good work — but Smart should not be paying attention to anything that they write. He should not be following them on twitter. And he should not be lashing out at them at a time when he’s watching his team lose games because his frustrations boiled over in an ugly incident where he shoved a fan.

“I’m tired of seeing your negativity to the team and the coaches,” Smart wrote. It’s hard to read that sentence and not believe that he’s been following the site all season long. Is that part of why he’s been so reactive and combative this season? Did that play a role in his uber-competitiveness turning into one of his faults?

The conversation that Pitino was having with those Louisville writers was in a much different context, but his point remains the same. 

What is Russ Smith really going to be getting out of reading through his mentions on twitter? How does it help Marcus Smart to read through the whimsical self-loathing of Oklahoma State fans?

It’s nothing more than distraction, and even the most strong-minded of us can hear something that a troll says anonymously on the internet and let it fester in the back of our minds. I’ve certainly had it happen to me, and I have a fraction of the public exposure that those two do.

Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to get access to celebrities and star athletes. 

Not everything they hear is going to be positive.

Acknowledging on the negative can not only be a hinderance, it’s completely unnecessary. 

And that’s Rick Pitino’s point.

Washington lands second 2019 verbal commitment

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With three of its four seniors heading into the 2018-19 season being perimeter players, Washington has some holes to address in its 2019 recruiting class. Thus far Mike Hopkins and his staff have done just that, with both of the program’s commits to date being perimeter players.

The second verbal commitment was received Tuesday afternoon, as three-star combo guard Marcus Tsohonis announced that he will be a Husky. Tsohonis, a Jefferson HS (Portland, Oregon) product who played his grassroots basketball for Seattle Rotary Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit, joins four-star wing RaeQuan Battle in Washington’s 2019 class to date.

The 6-foot-4 Tsohonis, who can play on or off the ball, held offers from multiple Pac-12 programs but ultimately made the decision to make the trek north from Portland to Seattle for his collegiate career. His verbal commitment comes on the heels of an official visit to Washington that was taken this past weekend.

As noted above Washington will loose some key contributors on the perimeter after the upcoming season, with David Crisp, Mathysse Thybulle and Dominic Green all entering their final season of eligibility (big man Noah Dickerson is also a senior). The additions of Tsohonis and Battle should help Washington when it comes to filling those holes and continuing to build upon the foundation laid during Hopkins’ first season at the helm.

Four-star guard becomes LSU’s first 2019 commit

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Expected to be a factor both within the SEC and nationally this season, these are good times for the LSU men’s basketball program. Head coach Will Wade and his staff received more good news Tuesday, as 6-foot-2 combo guard James Bishop (Baltimore, Maryland/Mount St. Joseph HS) announced that he will be a Tiger next season.

Bishop, considered to be one of the top scoring guards in the class, is LSU’s first 2019 verbal commitment. Bishop’s pledge comes just over a week after his official visit to LSU, and just days after a visit to St. John’s. LSU beat out St. John’s, NC State, Marquette and VCU in the race for the Baltimore product, and given the Tigers’ current roster this is an important commitment.

LSU’s 2018 recruiting class is considered to be one of the nation’s best, with point guard Javonte Smart being one of the five-star prospects in that quintet (forwards Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams being the others). Add in sophomore Tremont Waters, who’s coming off of an outstanding freshman season, and LSU could be in a position next summer where its top two lead guards are at the very least testing the NBA draft waters.

Landing Bishop gives LSU another talented option, and some cover should the program lose either Waters or Smart — or both — in 2019.

Calhoun officially named head coach at DIII St. Joseph

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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jim Calhoun has officially been named the head coach at Division III University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut.

The Hall of Famer had already announced he would be taking the job and has been working for a year to establish a men’s basketball program at the small Catholic university, which was an all-women’s school until this school year.

Calhoun also has continued to serve in an advisory role at UConn, where he served as coach for 26 seasons and led the Huskies to three of their four national titles before retiring in 2012.

The 76-year-old will return to the sidelines with a career record of 873-380 when the Blue Jays open the season on Nov. 9 against William Paterson University.

That game will be played at Trinity College in Hartford, which has a gym that seats about 2,200 people, about 1,000 more than the gymnasium at Saint Joseph.

Oregon State announces addition of transfer Payton Dastrup

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Tuesday afternoon Oregon State announced that former BYU power forward Payton Dastrup has joined the program as a transfer. Dastrup, who averaged 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in just under eight minutes per game last season, has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Oregon State will file a waiver on his behalf in hopes that Dastrup will be granted immediate eligibility.

Should the waiver request be denied, Dastrup will not be eligible to play until the 2019-20 season. For Oregon State’s sake, even with Dastrup’s career numbers he would fill a need for a team that bid farewell to its best big man during the spring.

Drew Eubanks’ decision to turn pro left a noticeable hole in Oregon State’s interior rotation, with senior Gligorije Rakocevic and junior Ben Kone being the most experienced returnees. Those two combined to average 3.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 2017-18, with Rakocevic averaging 10.6 minutes per game in 27 appearances off the bench.

In addition to those two the Beavers add three scholarship newcomers to the mix this season in junior college transfer Kylor Kelley and freshmen Warren Washington and Jack Wilson. Dastrup has the ability to step away from the basket, which would give Oregon State a little versatility in the interior to go along with a perimeter/wing rotation led by Tres Tinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr. and Ethan Thompson.

Oklahoma State lands third 2019 commitment

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Oklahoma State managed to add another verbal commitment in its 2019 class on Tuesday, as four-star combo guard Avery Anderson III announced via Twitter that he will play his college basketball for Mike Boynton. Anderson picked Oklahoma State over offers from Florida, LSU, TCU and Texas Tech.

Anderson is Oklahoma State’s third commitment in the class, as the Justin, Texas product joins twins Kalib and Keylan Boone. The Boone brothers made their pledge in mid-April, and all three took official visits to Stillwater this past weekend.

Anderson’s commitment is key for two reasons. First there’s the fact that he can be used at either guard spot, and that versatility will be valuable for Oklahoma State once he arrives on campus. Also, while Oklahoma State will be quite young in the front court this coming season that isn’t the case on the perimeter.

Of Oklahoma State’s current crop of guards/wings only two, freshman Isaac Likekele and redshirt sophomore Michael Weathers, are underclassmen. The Cowboys have just one senior in the group, Mike Cunningham, but getting a guard in the 2019 class was key for Boynton’s program.

At this point, all 13 of Oklahoma State’s scholarships for the 2019-20 season have been filled with Anderson’s commitment.