Rick Pitino unleashes on St. John's facilities, Seton Hall following players' loss

St. John's coach Rick Pitino didn't mince words after the Red Storm's 68-62 loss to Seton Hall on Sunday. The 71-year-old has been critical of the team's facilities and following his players, declaring his first season with St John's “the most unpleasant experience of my life”.

“Do we have sy facilities? Yes we do,” Pitino said. “Having sy facilities has nothing to do with not guarding.”

It was a promising start for St. John's at the UBS Arena. The Red Storm led 41-29 at the half. St. John's biggest lead was 19 points. Seton Hall erased its first-half deficit with 8:13 left in the second half when senior guard Al-Amir Dawes converted a layup. St. John's pulled within one point, 53-52, with 5:22 to go, but that would be the Red Storm's last lead. Seton Hall went on a 12-2 run to make it 64-55 with 1:03 left. Dawes finished with 19 points, while senior guard Katari Richmond had a double-double with 18 points (14 in the second half) and 11 rebounds.

Seton Hall limited St. John's to 33.8 percent from the floor (23-of-68) and 24 percent from beyond the arc (6-of-25). The Red Storm committed 15 turnovers. Pitino didn't hold back when discussing individual players, singling them out for their movement and physicality on the field.

“See: Joel [Soriano]”Slow on the sideline, he's not fast on the court,” Pitino said. “Chris Ludlum is slower on the flank and Sean Conway is slower on the flank. Brady [Dunlap]Physical weakness, Drisa [Traore] It's slow on the side.”

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“The team lost the way we recruited this season,” Pitino said. He said the players don't agree with how he coaches.

“We recruited the opposite of how I coach with speed, quickness, fundamentals, strength and toughness,” Pitino said. “It's a good team, they try hard, but they're not too tough.”

Jan. 10, after defeating Providence at home, St. John's went 12-4, ranked No. 34 in the Nets and was well on its way to the NCAA Tournament in Pitino's first season. Since then, the Red Storm have lost eight of their last 10 games falling off the bubble. At this point, they need to win the Big East tournament to make it to the dance.

During his first press conference since taking over last March, Pitino said, “A lot of players on this team probably won't be back on this team because I'm not a good fit.” He was true to his word, bringing in 11 new players and losing producers like AJ Storr (Wisconsin), David Jones (Memphis), Bosh Alexander (Butler) and O'Mar Stanley (Boise State). Now he blames many of the players he brought in for not being good enough.

He's responsible for most of that list — reminiscent of Pitino's famous “Larry Bird ain't walking through that door” rant when he coached the Boston Celtics.

It's just classic Pitino. When things don't go well, he's truly miserable. The good news is that, at least in his college career, things won't be dire for too long under his tutelage. Pitino has won two national championships (the 2013 title at Louisville was later vacated) and has appeared in seven Final Fours. He was the first coach to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville) to the national semifinals. Pitino coached in the NBA with the New York Knicks (1987 to 1989) and Celtics (1997 to 2001). Prior to St. John's, Pitino coached Iona from 2020 to 2023, leading the Gaels to two NCAA Tournament appearances.

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After Sunday's loss, St. John's is 14-12 and ninth in the Big East Conference standings. The Red Storm's next game is Wednesday on the road against Georgetown. Pitino — a Hall-of-Fame coach — didn't exude confidence.

“I'm getting ready for Georgetown because Georgetown can definitely beat us.”

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(Photo: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

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