Jim Boeheim has locked horns with Rick Pitino many times over the years. But he’s never had to take on two Pitinos on two different teams. It’s a family reunion at the doorstep of highly-prized recruit Isaiah Whitehead. The two-guard has Syracuse and Louisville as his leaders, but Richard Pitino has started to make an impression as well, according to Gopher 247.
“One of the other top targets that the Gophers staff has identified is Isaiah Whitehead, a four-star shooting guard out of New York City. Again, the Gophers will have quite a battle on their hands if they hope to land the talented shooting guard, but they won’t miss out on him for a lack of effort. Whitehead recently discussed Richard Pitino in an article from InsideTheVille, saying that he had a ‘great impression’ of Pitino and that ‘he came in with a very good vibe.’ Minnesota will have a lot of ground to make up on Whitehead’s leaders, Syracuse and Louisville, but they’ve already shown to be hard after him.”
You might remember Whitehead as the recruit whose mother mistakenly said SU was crossed off the list after the Bernie Fine story broke. Lil’ Richie Pitino took over the Minnesota program in April after the dismissal of Tubby Smith, and he’s already made a name for himself in his young career with relentless energy in recruiting. Would a Big Apple kid choose the Twin Cities over Syracuse or UofL? Unlikely. But it’s worth noting there’s another Pitino to have to duke it out with now.
SU also has an offer out to another Minnesota target: SG Rashad Vaughn of Minneapolis. But his interest has cooled on the Orange and he’s one of the big fish in-state Pitino was hired to land. According to 247 Sports, Vaughn is leaning UNC at the moment. While Syracuse is no longer truly battling for Vaughn, and it would be a shocking upset if the Gophers stole Whitehead, it’s something to keep an eye on: another Pitino is crowding the Syracuse recruiting space. Just what we need. Another thirty years of a Pitino in our lives.