Rick Pitino in talks to coach Puerto Rico’s national team


We can say that this fits the PBT format because Rick Pitino once coached professionals (you can insert your Louisville basketball jokes here), or that the Puerto Rican national team features NBA players such as J.J. Barea and Carlos Arroyo. But the honest truth is we just find this fascinating.

Pitino is in talks to take over as coach of the Puerto Rican national team. He will meet Sunday in Miami with officials from the island nation to talk face-to-face, according to ESPN Dallas. Barea confirmed the news to ESPN.

“He’s very excited and it’s almost a done deal,” Barea said Wednesday before the Mavs faced the Portland Trail Blazers. “And I’m excited for it. We need a guy like that. It’s going to help us as a team.”

Puerto Rico has a good basketball tradition — remember they beat the USA in the Athens Olympics — but last summer they did not impress at the World Championships in Turkey. There are questions about whether they can to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics (that qualification tournament takes place next summer in Argentina, the USA already qualified this summer by winning the World Championships).

So, the Puerto Ricans are going big — not Coach K big, but they are desperate enough to go outside their own group of guys.

“He’ll bring defense and discipline and I think guys will listen to him more than they listen to the guys in Puerto Rico just because he’s Rick Pitino,” Barea said. “I think that will help.”

Celtics fans, stop laughing.  This is seriously going to happen.