In his book, Pitino notes that Harvard Business School dropped in national ranking from first to third because businesses thought graduates lacked humility. “They wanted to start in the middle rather than at the bottom,” he explains. Pitino is doesn’t avoid recruiting arrogant players – he’s arrogant enough to think he can ground them – but does prefer players that don’t come with expectations.
“The prime example is Gorgui Dieng, the young man from Senegal,” Pitino says of the powerful center for Louisville drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves. “When we sat down with him, I basically asked him: ‘Why are you such a sponge? Why are you so humble? Why are you so willing to learn?’ And he explained his culture.”
According to Pitino, Dieng couldn’t dribble, pass, or shoot particularly well and weighed only 190 pounds, but got good anyway because he never felt like he deserved to take the day off. At 245 pounds, he was a first-round pick.
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