Pitino's resurgence extends to recruiting

Cutting down the nets has proven to be a powerful recruiting tool for Louisville and Rick Pitino. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- There’s the national title and the upcoming Hall of Fame induction ceremony. There’s his horse that earned a spot in the Kentucky Derby, next week’s trip to the White House and the fact that his son became a Big Ten head coach at the tender age of 30.

It’s been a year like no other for Rick Pitino. Louisville’s 60-year-old head coach is on top of the world right now with a smile that won’t fade, a team that could contend for a third consecutive Final Four appearance and a recruiting class that could shake down as one of the nation’s best.

Hardly anyone expected this from Pitino, especially with that “other guy” down the road, Kentucky’s John Calipari, basically handpicking his recruiting class each year.

Eventually, it seemed, Pitino would be thrust into submission, choosing to either retire or leave the state for a job in which he didn’t have to deal with Calipari front and center. It was just a matter of time.

Instead, Pitino is thriving -- in just about every avenue.