Pitino does the same thing every day: He wakes up at 6 a.m., hits the elliptical then the showers, throws on gym shorts, eats breakfast, runs practice, skips lunch, handles calls and meetings in his office, then heads home for dinner around 6 p.m. This may seem like little more than routine, but it is also a form of preparation. Pitino is preparing himself and his team for the toll of the looming season.
"With certain people, you look at them, there are certain signs of how organized they are, and organization is sometimes meticulous preparation," he says. "Before you start with anything else, before you start with the passion, you've got to look at people that prepared the right way."
Pitino makes it a point to pass on the habits of dogged preparation to his assistants: "I take an assistant coach that I believe has great passion, great humility that leads to hard work. Now he's got to learn preparation of our system." For Pitino, preparation is how you start out hustling your opponents before the game even starts.