Rick Pitino: Richard 'thoroughly enthralled' with Minnesota

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Rick Pitino is a legend in college basketball coaching circles, and has carved out a sizable legacy for himself at Louisville.

His son, Richard, is in his first year as the head coach at the University of Minnesota after coaching just one season at Florida International.

Two head coaching stops in two years and a family name to go with the fact that Minnesota isn't exactly a mecca of college basketball success have many thinking that Richard is using Minnesota as a stepping stone to a bigger program, but Rick told the Pioneer Press today that his son is "completely enthralled" with the U of M, and he's advised Richard to build his own legacy as a Gopher.

Rick to Charley Walters:

"He's his own man and wants to blaze his own trail, and he is thoroughly enthralled with Minnesota. He loves the people. He loves the university. He thinks it's a very special place with special people.

"To me, it's a perfect place to raise my grandchildren, it's a perfect place for him to become something special like Bo Ryan has become at Wisconsin. That was my advice to him -- become a Billy Donovan at Florida, a Bo Ryan at Wisconsin, aTom Izzo at Michigan State. Build something very special at Minnesota and build longevity.

"My feeling, personally, is why, good or bad, follow your dad? Why leave a place that can be something special?"

Rick has been a fan of Minnesota's since Richard took over, saying earlier this year that the group his son currently has is as talented as his Louisville team.

Rick's continued support and endorsement of the university should be music to Gopher fans ears, as Richard has had success in his first season at Minnesota, changing a system some players have played in for three years to the current run n' gun, up-and-down the floor style he prefers. Despite the overhaul, the Gophers still have a chance at an NCAA tournament bid, likely needing at least three wins in their last seven games, four of those against ranked opponents, to secure a spot in the field of 68.

No one thought Richard was leaving after this year, but Rick's words can't hurt for the future either.

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