Rick Pitino’s return to the Big East brings along his entourage, and let me tell you, that entourage is quite the adventure. All sorts of people who welcomed Pitino with open arms and who he in turn welcomed back with open arms make up the ensemble. They are a Runyonesque group that has accompanied the basketball great to every major event for decades, whether it’s a race, a golf tournament, or a basketball arena.

So, on Friday night, during the Big East tournament, a man named Tom O’Grady was holding court with the media in a hallway of Madison Square Garden. He’s a lifelong supporter of St. John’s Red Storm who, after relocating to Louisville twenty years ago—during Pitino’s coaching tenure—became a fan of the Louisville Cardinals and is now a member of the entourage. The combination of his beloved coach and beloved institution has put O’Grady on a cloud.

The little, fiery businessman, who sported a buzz cut and a brilliant red sport coat, was allegedly involved in a heated exchange between St. John’s coach Pitino and Connecticut Huskies boss Dan Hurley, which resulted in two technical fouls. Despite UConn’s 95-90 victory and advancement to Saturday’s Big East title game, the action that occurred near the end of the first half was the main topic of conversation.

It was reminiscent of a situation from the 1980s, when the Big East was defined by explosive rivalries between teams coached by Jim Boeheim, Rollie Massimino, John Thompson, and even an early Pitino as the Providence Friars’ head coach. The scene also featured an unexpected accomplice.

When big man Joel Soriano of St. John was called for his second foul at 8 minutes and sixteen seconds into the first half, a confrontation ensued. “No way!” The official James Breeding was reprimanded by Pitino. That resulted in a nimble T, which Pitino subsequently said he desired. (Referee baiting is something of a specialty for Pitino, despite his restless sideline antics.)

O’Grady, who was sitting courtside and certainly not trying to blend in with his red coat, got up and expressed his disappointment to the authorities. Bob Hurley, Hurley’s famous father and a former high school coach, got up from his position on the floor and appeared to be ready to get in on the action, too.

Dan Hurley, who was standing far away from the bench, stepped up to the midcourt area. O’Grady took advantage of the situation to call attention to Hurley’s infraction to the officials, despite the fact that that is the most misused rule in collegiate basketball.

“He’s taken the coach out of the game!” According to O’Grady, he notified the referees.

Hurley pursued the matter with O’Grady, requesting that he be removed from the arena by the officials. O’Grady was “screaming in my face,” according to Hurley, who said it on air. Remove him from this place. Hornets provided Hurley with his very own T.

“Of course, everyone was going crazy when [Pitino] received his technical,” Hurley remarked. A short man in a red blazer was on the court earlier, ranting at the officials; he then turned his ire toward me and began to yell at me as I approached. I was merely trying to make a point about how James’ behavior was worse than Coach Pitino’s… A great deal of profanity was used.

“I said nothing,” according to O’Grady’s account, which was discussed in close proximity to Pitino. I just stated that he is no longer part of the coaching staff.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *