Rick Pitino will be bound to the words “sex” and “scandal” long after his career is done

Rick Pitino - photo by Walter Cornett
Rick Pitino - photo by Walter Cornett
Rick Pitino – photo by Walter Cornett

Some phrases are versatile enough, or maybe just vague enough, to be glowing praise and cutting criticism — both, or either, all at the same time. Like, say, this one:

Rick Pitino is one of a kind.

It isn’t easy to summarize the breadth of three-decade coaching careers. In Pitino’s case, it’s almost impossible. But if there is a phrase up to the job, it is that one — enough to include both the basketball brilliance and the off-court seediness that have in recent years dueled for prominence in Pitino’s story.

The sordid side scored its latest victory last October, when former escort Katina Powell’s book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” alleged that former Louisvilleassistant coach Andre McGee used cash and tickets to pay escorts to have sex with recruits and players in the player dormitories of Pitino’s program.

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