Pitino addresses Chris Jones situation

By on February 27, 2015

This is a follow up to this original story.

Rick Pitino, coach of U of L’s men’s basketball team, held a press conference Feb. 26 to discuss the last days of former point guard Chris Jones’s tenure at U of L.

Jones pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and sodomy that morning after being dismissed from the team on Sunday afternoon.

“I’m just very sad,” said Pitino about the situation.

Pitino said Jones was initially suspended before last week’s Syracuse game after sending a threatening text to a woman. Pitino said he followed his usual punishment, which is phone confiscation, curfews, limited visitors and early practice.

However, after a successful game against Miami on Feb. 21, Pitino says Jones went out to celebrate past his curfew.

“Before he explained, before he got into anything, I said ‘you’re off this basketball team’ right away” due to breaking the curfew, he said. The rape charges were not brought up before the dismissal, Pitino said.

“We did not know any of that,” said Pitino. Athletics eventually found out from university police.

Pitino said he received a text of gratitude from Jones, and has spoken to his father multiple times.

He said that he has never experienced disciplinary problem like this as a coach.

“All my players are like my children. You want every child to turn out exactly the right way, when ones don’t, you don’t abandon them,” he said. “But my problems (with Jones) have never been of this nature.”

As for the team, Pitino expressed the need to continue the standard set by players such as Peyton Siva and Luke Hancock.

“I’m very disappointed, needless to say, but you don’t love your team any less.”

He expects the team to separate their emotions from basketball.

“They’re going to play basketball,” said Pitino, adding that they won’t lose because of this.

This is a developing story.

 

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