Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is focused on basketball and not escort allegations

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and his program is in the middle of allegations his a former staffer hired escorts to entertain players and recruits. The school is investigation but Pitino said he's focused on basketball.

Rick Pitino is coaching his basketball team.

Sure, there's a lot going on around him as the University of Louisville basketball program is in the middle of allegations that a former staffer hired escorts to entertain players and recruits. But the Hall of Fame coach is just "going to work, work, work until I pass out."

Pitino spoke with the media several times this weekend, including after the Red-White Scrimmage. Louisville's new season officially began on Friday with the first practice, just hours before the the publication of a new book that alleges former staffer Andre McGee paid escorts and strippers to entertain recruits and sometimes current U of L players and even the fathers of several recruits.

While Pitino talked about the situation on Frdiay night, the media was informed he wouldn't answer any questions about it on Saturday. He wasn't asked specific questions but did answer several general questions.

"The truth will come out," Pitino said.

Louisville has hired Chuck Smrt, who previously worked in the NCAA's enforcement office, to head up the investigation. Pitino said he had been told not to get involved in the investigation, while atheltic director Tom Jurich said Smrt is the "quarterback of this investigation."

There's no word on when the investigation might end.

But Pitino has a season that's here and the Cardinals have one more Red-White Scrimmage - Oct. 17 - before the first of two exhibtiion games to be played against Bellarmine on Nov. 1. The first game is Nov. 13 against Samford.

"The best thing I can do is just immerse myself and just work, work, work until I pass out,” Pitino said. “And I’ve got to do that. So certainly, getting in these environments, just thinking basketball and watching basketball is great therapy for all of us.”

Pitino said he would "never look" at the book in question - "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," noting the "name of that book was motive for money, and I'm not going to sink to that level."

"We’re going to get the truth," Pitino went on with reporters. "We’re going to find the truth. If we did something wrong, we’re going to own up to it, and we’re going to be truthful to the NCAA."

The only current player mentioned in the book is junior Mangok Mathiang, whose photo is in the book. The writer who allegedes all of this story is true said in the book that Mathiang didn't have sex with any of the women she allegedly brought to campus.

Pitino was asked about the Mathiang photo.

"If I could just tell you something," he said. "I go out with my wife to Molly Malone’s and we have a bite to eat after games and 50 women will ask me, with their boyfriends, to take a picture. I could say, 'No, I don’t do pictures'. But I get up, flash the L, take the picture. How many pictures you think would be out there of me on someone’s Facebook? I can be rude, or I can be polite.

"It takes the same amount of time. Taking pictures with girls that look like college students, there’s nothing wrong with that. Mangok did nothing wrong. So you shouldn’t even mention his name, because Mangok did nothing but take a picture. And a lot of people have taken pictures.”

As far as future recruits, Pitino said "we'll tell them the truth."

"Only one side has come out right now, and I think the truth will come out," Pitino said. "So we’ve just got to be patient, let the investigators do their job, and move forward.”


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