It's pretty simple really. In a day and age when the top high school players are bypassing college basketball for instant fame and wealth in the National Basketball Association, the University of Louisville head coach is trying to find the next Taquan Dean and Francisco Garcia.
"It's interesting because we [coaching staff] keep speaking about how to get another Taquan or Francisco," Pitino said. "How do we get guys like that?"
"And that's what we're after right now," Pitino continued. "That's what we're questioning with each person we're recruiting because there's a flip side to those guys. And that's why we're [looking for] a non McDonald's All-American with McDonald's All-American potential."
Pitino said the problem with a lot of the McDonald's All-American's today is that they think they've already arrived as basketball players. Though he did indicate he wouldn't turn away a top 25 talent if the opportunity presents itself in the future.
"They're potential is stifled so much because they think they've arrive already," Pitino said of many of the top high school players.
"And that's why Mashburn and Francisco and Taquan make it because they [realize] they haven't arrived yet." he explained. "That's what we're after. We're trying to get more Taquan's and Francisco's and I think we've been very lucky with Brian Johnson."
Pitino and staff spent countless hours discussing and debating recruits on a daily basis. And much of the debate centers on a players character and desire to improve. One player that immediately came to mind as Pitino discussed what he's seeking on the recruiting trail, though he did not mention him by name, was Los Angeles Westchester's Jamal Boykin.
"So that's what we're really evaluating right now," Pitino explained. "I flew out to California and was watching a basketball player and there's no question in my mind this player had great character, great work ethic and we're researching it like I would for the NBA Draft right now."
"And we never did that before," Pitino said. "But we're doing it that way right now because you've got to find those kids."
Pitino said if he can find players with the requisite talent and desire, his program will rocket back to the top with the other great programs around the nation.
"So you've got to investigate it and research it and find their meter level and desire," Pitino said. "And if we do that we've got ourselves a great program."