On Friday afternoon, the University of Louisville athletic department released a statement announcing that starting point guard Carlos Hurt has been dismissed from the Cardinal’s basketball team. “Carlos has been dismissed from our team for violating team rules,” said head coach Rick Pitino. “We wish him well with his future endeavors.”
Hurt averaged 8.1 points, 3.4 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 14 games for Louisville this season, scoring in double figures in eight games. He missed 17 games due to back surgery performed on Jan. 21, but returned to play in both of the Cards’ National Invitation Tournament games. Hurt was suspended once early in December, also for a violation of team rules.
Even though it was an issue of privacy and the university was unwilling to point out exactly what Hurt did to get dismissed, the coaches say it was not a solitary incident. “There’s been more than second chances in this scenario,” said Pitino. “This is something where it’s just not going to fit. It’s a square peg in a round hole and it just doesn’t fit. You know everybody always wants to know why, and Even though was an issue of privacy the university was unwilling to point out exactly what Hurt did to get dismissed the coaches say it was not a solitary incident. “There’s been more than second chances in this scenario,” said Pitino. “This is something where it’s just not going to fit. It’s a square peg in a round hole and it just doesn’t fit. You know everybody always wants to know why, and there’s really no one reason why. It came to a head the day after the (Temple) game, the next morning.”
Last week, there were indicators of possible problems arising with Hurt. Prior to the Cardinal’s game against Temple, Pitino explained that the presence of a junior college point guard recruit at Louisville’s prior game may have disrupted walk-on Bryant Northern’s game. “What I told him (Northern) and talked to him about was, there are certain factors in life you can’t control,” said Pitino. “I said, us bringing in another point guard is not because of your inability; matter of fact, I have a whole lot of confidence in you. It’s a fact, I don’t have much confidence in Carlos Hurt. I don’t mean that from a back injury standpoint, but from a maturity standpoint of someone who’s ready to make a total commitment to the game of basketball. And that’s why I’m bringing in a point guard.”
From Pitino’s statements it can be inferred that the environment for Louisville basketball most likely proved too distracting for the freshman. “I do like Carlos, but he’s not for this program right now. I think the best thing for Carlos is to go away from Louisville. I think it will be good for him. We’re in the business to help kids but we have a discipline of follow with this program and if it’s not followed correctly there’s nothing we can do. I don’t dismiss people. I not about that. I’m about helping people, but in this scenario Carlos dismissed himself.”
Hurt is the third player to leave the Louisville basketball team this season. In December, sophomore Mac Wilkinson announced that he would transfer, and in January, controversial center Brandon Bender did likewise after he had served two suspensions.
Hurt’s departure leaves only two freshmen from a group that early in the season Pitino said down the road ‘could be very special.’ “I don’t look at what’s leaving,” said Pitino, “I always look at what’s coming back and Larry O’Bannon’s very special. Coric Riggs become eligible.”
Yet, Hurt’s departure does not bring all bad news. “With every cloud there’s some sunshine,” Pitino said he has offered a scholarship to walk-on guard Bryant Northern. “Like I told Bryant Northern this morning, ‘I’m not giving you a scholarship, you’ve earned it.” Pitino indicated that Northern has some academic requirements that have to be met first. “If he fulfills that we have with the end of this semester and summer school Bryant Northern will be given a scholarship.”
Overall, Pitino indicated that the Louisville program is merely going through growing pains that occur whenever a new system is put into place. “Any time you take over a program there are going to be bumps along the road like this. You put together your team, staffing, player-wise, everything fits and Carlos does not fit right now.”