Rick Pitino gives first real glimpse towards next season after Providence loss

Rick Pitino peaked ahead to next season after St. John's loss against Providence
Feb 13, 2024; Providence, Rhode Island, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard RJ Luis Jr. (12)  speaks to Rick Pitino
Feb 13, 2024; Providence, Rhode Island, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard RJ Luis Jr. (12) speaks to Rick Pitino / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Pitino was surprisingly positive after his St. John's basketball team dropped another Big East road game in agonizing fashion.

While the Hall of Famer expressed how proud he was of his squad, who went to the wire again in a hostile environment before coming up short, he also peaked ahead towards next season.

"I keep telling you we are not a great team," Pitino said after the 75-72 loss.

"We are going to win the Big East, we are going to go to NCAAs [Tournaments], it's just not going to be this year winning the Big East. It's my first year [at St. John's]."

Pitino has only made the NCAA Tournament once in his first season at a school and it came at his previous destination, Iona, by winning the conference tournament.

He did lead Kentucky to the Elite Eight in the first season the Wildcats were eligible for the tournament under his watch, which was his third year in Lexington. They were 14-14 in his first season.

"Give us a chance to develop the program."

"It's not realistic, in this conference, to come in the first year and just to kick everybody's a--...it just takes time to build a program," Pitino explained.

St. John's looked like a lock to make the NCAA Tournament after a 4-1 start in league play but has lost seven of its last nine and will need to catch fire quickly in order to do so, which Pitino believes still can be done.

"We intend on winning our next six games," he continued.

The Johnnies only have one difficult road game remaining against Butler with trips to basement dwellers Georgetown and DePaul still on the schedule as Seton Hall, Creighton, and the Hoyas are slated to come to New York.

"And if you don't win the next six, you win the Big East Tournament. That's what competitors do, you just keep fighting until your time comes and you never know when your time will come."

"I'm hoping it's this year, but if it's not, we'll move on and be bigger and better next year."

Time is running out on St. John's chances this season but Rick Pitino still has high hopes for the future of the program.

"I wish it could be done now because I'm not getting any younger, so I'd like to win right now. I'd like to win a National Championship right now."