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A Year in Kentucky Basketball

by Rick Pitino with Dick Weiss

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1992
ISBN: 1-56282-931-9
Publisher: Hyperion

 Star basketball-coach Pitino's candid and emotional account of the Kentucky Wildcats' revival from sanctions and probation in 1989 to the dramatic at-the-buzzer loss to Duke in the NCAA semifinals earlier this year. The former New York Knicks coach, with the aid of Weiss (coauthor, Time Out, Baby!, 1991), tells how he took a disgraced 14-14 team to the Final 8 in just two seasons. The ``year'' he refers to (1991-92) does not begin until after Pitino ramblingly describes his unhappy tenure with the Knicks; discusses Kentucky's recruiting violations; writes of Adolph Rupp and the school's proud basketball heritage; and settles a few scores with rival coaches and the New York media. But once he begins to write about players such as up-and-coming sophomore forward Jamal Mashburn and gritty seniors Sean Woods, Richie Farmer, John Pelphrey, and Deron Feldhaus, Pitino offers an engaging game-by-game account and an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at big-time college basketball. The coach makes no excuses when describing bitter defeats such as the 107-85 drubbing by Tennessee on ESPN, or the upsetting 79-62 loss to lowly ranked Florida. The emotional ``Senior Day'' revenge victory over Tennessee, beating rival Louisville, and Jamal ``Monster Mash's'' 30 points against UMass in the semifinals are but a few of the high points in the 29-7 campaign. The season ends in style with a great seesaw, overtime battle as Christian Leattner, star center of eventual champion Duke, hits a jumper at the buzzer. Will no doubt raise a few hackles, but Pitino's tale of doings on and off the court will be the most discussed basketball book of the season. (B&w photos--eight pages--not seen.)