Rick Pitino to coach Puerto Rican team

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has been named as the head coach of the Puerto Rican national team for a pair of international events this summer. Pitino also announced his Louisville team will play this summer in the Bahamas.

University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino announced that he has accepted an offer to coach the Puerto Rico basketball team in two international events this summer.

Pitino, who made the announcement with two officials from the Puerto Rico team, will spend June assembling the team and the training will begin on July 1 in Puerto Rico. He will bring the team to Louisville to train in early August.

"We talked about doing this last year, but it didn't fit schedule-wise," Pitino said. "I was very disappointed. Now it fits well, and I'm very excited.

"I've always wanted to do this one time."

He'll coach the team in the July 21-25 Pan American Games in Toronto and also in a 10-team pre-Olympic FIBA qualifying tournament in Monterray, Mexico beginning on Aug. 25. The top two teams in that tournament will qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

U of L assistant coach Mike Balado will also work with the team.

Pitino said the plans for him to coach the team will "work well with what we want to do here at Louisville this summer." He'll miss some time on the recruiting trail, but the Cardinals only have a couple of scholarships available in the Class of 2016 and noted that his staff feels like they are, "in really good shape right now."

U of L will also now travel to the Bahamas to face the Puerto Rico national team and junior team - a total of six games - instead of heading to Spain for summer foreign trip.

The Cardinals will take the foreign trip in mid-August.

Pitino had planned to take the position last year but he said some of the logistics couldn't be worked out and was "happy it worked out this time."

"I already have my Rosetta Stone hooked up again," Pitino joked when asked about the language barrier. "There are barriers to every situation ... Basketball is a universal language. I'm excited to get to do this."


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