Video: Rick Pitino Praises John Calipari, Compares Kentucky Fandom To A Religion

Rick Pitino has been on a roll with his public statements and press conferences lately, discussing everything from his hatred of social media to recruiting LeBron James in the early 2000s. Yesterday during a press conference, he discussed John Calipari and Kentucky fans, and he was quite complimentary of his coaching rival. As for the fanbase at his old school? Those comments are a bit more interesting.

SB Nation’s Louisville site Card Chronicle transcribed the press conference, which you can in full watch here:

On Calipari:

I don’t think John Calipari is ever leaving Kentucky, because he feels he has the best job in college basketball. Where’s he going to go? He knows the pressure of the NBA. I give him an A as a teacher, a recruiter and a preparer… Kentucky couldn’t get any better than John Calipari. I’m a big believer in the way he teaches and the way he recruits.

On Kentucky’s well-traveled fanbase:

If Kentucky’s fans don’t show up for conference tournaments and things like that, they feel, religiously, like they’re going to hell. No one else’s fans feel like that. It’s like going to church. If they miss a basketball game, the lord will think they’re sinning. They travel really, really well, and that’s the good thing about coaching at Kentucky. The bad thing is that when you lose, everything gets exacerbated.

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Dan is a writer for College Spun. He is a 2012 Syracuse alumnus living in Stamford, CT. You can reach him at dan@collegespun.com or on Twitter @Dan_Lyons76.