Rick Pitino hoped the sordid details of his personal life wouldn't affect his results on the court. But now it appears rival coaches are using the details of the Louisville head coach's affair against him in the always cutthroat battle for elite recruits.
The mother of five-star prospect John White says she began receiving calls from other coaches minutes after the Pitino news broke.
"They all said pretty much the same thing: 'Mrs. White, do not send your child to Louisville. Rick Pitino could abort him,'" claimed Sheila White. "I told them that my John is 17-years-old and 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, making aborting him very unlikely but they all insisted that Rick is capable of anything. Do I think it's likely? No. But is it worth the risk of sending my son to Louisville? Probably not. They made a good argument."
Myron Haney, the top-ranked point guard prospect in the country who already verbally committed to Louisville, says he has received texts from coaches of other programs about the Pitino news.
"Everyone is trying to get me to de-commit," said Haney. "They said that this will be a big distraction for Coach Pitino and it's in my best interest to go elsewhere. And, also, if I disappoint him in any way a down season, a missed free throw, not rotating quick enough on defense he may try to do away with me, especially because I'm not his own flesh and blood."
But Haney says that makes him want to go to Louisville even more.
"Am I scared? Sure. But I love a challenge," he said. "I didn't get this far in basketball by being scared and I am motivated to make it through four years at Louisville without Coach Pitino snuffing me out."
A fellow coach in the Big East, who asked to remain anonymous, says he is not ashamed by his new recruiting pitch of questionable ethics.
"This is a dirty business. We all know the rules," he said. "You do what you have to do to get top recruits. Heck, Rick has been telling recruits for years about the time I killed that hooker at the conference tournament."