Rick Pitino Is Taking The Deion Sanders Approach To Roster Management At St. John’s

Rick Pitino walks the sideline at Iona.

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Rick Pitino isn’t messing around after landing his first major head coaching job in six years. The college basketball legend will take over at St. John’s next season, and he doesn’t anticipate many current members of the Red Storm roster returning in 2023.

Pitino is taking a page straight from the Deion Sanders book of roster management, possibly planning to hit the transfer portal hard in Year 1.

Coach Prime took over at Colorado this past offseason as he looks to make the Buffaloes relevant once again on the college football stage. In doing so, he immediately told players that he’s “bringing his own luggage” with him to Boulder, insinuating that he was revamping the roster and current team members should hit the portal if they wanted an opportunity to play.

We got a few positions already taken care of, because I’m bringing my luggage with me — and it’s Louis [Vuitton]… I want y’all to get ready, to go ahead and jump in that portal… The more of you jump in, the more room we make.

That Louis luggage included former No. 1 recruit Travis Hunter and expected starting quarterback Shedeur Sanders.

Rick Pitino was heard making similar comments, though not nearly as direct as Sanders. In his opening press conference at St. John’s, he said he doesn’t see many current Red Storm players sticking around after the coaching change.

A lot of these players probably won’t be back on this team because they’re probably not a good fit for me… There will be a lot of players that will move on to, I hope, greener pastures.

He says he needs players that are “over the top” and “in love with the game of basketball.” Apparently, he doesn’t see many currently on the team fitting that bill, outside of top player Joel Soriano who averaged 15 points and 12 boards a game… Coincidence?

Fans were quick to comments on the statement, posting responses on social media.

One person said, “Most people didn’t like when Deion said it, let’s see how they like it when Rick says it.” Someone else wrote, “Wow… Pitino getting rid of everybody.”

Essentially, Pitino is trying to put it nicely that he plans to immediately upgrade the roster with outside talent. He’ll have a busy offseason ahead as he looks to assemble a squad he deems worthy.