University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino held a New Year's Day news conference to discuss the start of ACC play.
The Cardinals play Wake Forest on Sunday night in the KFC Yum Center and Pitino said the ACC road for the Cardinals this season "will be tougher than it was last year."
But after 20 miniutes of talking about hoops, Pitino was asked a question about making an obscene gesture towards the Kentucky fans as he left Rupp Arena last weekend following a 75-73 loss to the Wildcats.
"I did not," Pitino said and then it was 15 minutes and 30 seconds of news confernece golf.
Pitino started with explaining why he didn't go to the post-game press confernece following the UK loss and spent lots of time talking about the NCAA investigation into his program. He told WDRB.com columnist Rick Bozich that he was "pissed off" at him for comments Bozich made in a recent article saying he should be fired.
And then there was plenty of anger that he "wanted to get off his chest" towards self-described escort Katina Powell, who claims in her book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," that former U of L staff member Andre McGee paid her and other escorts thousands of dollars and gave them game tickets in exchange for having sex with and dancing for players and recruits.
Pitino, who said he hasn't been interviewed by the NCAA or Chuck Smrt, says he didn’t attend ACC media day because the NCAA told him he was “intimidating witnesses” by talking about investigation.
"I'm not going to say, 'No comment'," Pitino said. "I'm just not going to say it. I'm too old. I don't care. I'm not going to say it. There's only one good thing about being 63 - you don't care what people think anymore."
A few snipets:
**Pitino on skipping the news confernece: "It's a very emotional game for me. When we go into a press conference, in a neighborhood like that, I don't want to hear about the scandal. I don't want to hear about that. (The scandal) has bothered me every single night."
**Pitino: “This has bothered me every single night. If I don’t do a press conference after a game, it’s not because I lost a game. I've done press conferences for 40 years after we lost a game. Give me a break. It’s just I’m not going to say no comment any more."
**Pitino said two U of L officials were told by Powell's book publishing company that: "They made a statement that was interesting. The statement was made, 'You mean to tell me (Powell) kept a four-year log of everything that's going on and wrote a journal about this?'" The response was "No, no We wrote it. She can't complete two sentences the right way to write a book."
**Pitino then said: "So you mean to tell me a book was written, a four-year record was kept? There was no four-year record that was kept. Come on. You've got to be kidding me."
**Pitino on the allegations: "Did 1 person do some scurrilous things? Yes, I believe so. But for the life of me I can't figure out why he did."