Rick Pitino holds nothing back after latest St. John's basketball crushing loss

Rick Pitino held nothing back after the most recent St. John's basketball loss against Seton Hall

Feb 18, 2024; Elmont, New York, USA;  St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino talks to his team
Feb 18, 2024; Elmont, New York, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino talks to his team / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Rick Pitino puts everything on his sleeve when he steps to the podium for a press conference and he let it all loose after the St. John's basketball team blew a 19-point lead to Seton Hall on Sunday night, all but ending its hopes for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.

It felt like a microcosm of where things stand in the Red Storm's season as the lights turned off in the media room as Pitino began his remarks.

He said he has typically enjoyed his first season at new destinations but explained that his inaugural year in Queens has been "the most unenjoyable experience of [his] lifetime."

"I've enjoyed every single minute of every single season I've coached with the exception of this one."

The Hall of Famer expressed that his team lacks the basic fundamentals needed to win, and he's even seen those miscues in victories.

"It's really not about losing, because even in winning when we watch the film I see unathletic plays, I see people that don't handle the ball that are just interested in taking quick shots."

Daniss Jenkins, who Pitino called a "saving grace on a very difficult experience," tried everything possible to will the Johnnies to a victory but 17 points, five rebounds, six assists, and three steals were not enough to overcome a dreadful second half.

"We just lack toughness," he said. "We kind of lost this season with the way we recruited."

It's a physical and mental toughness that the team lacks, according to the head coach. "After I spent the summer [with the team], I knew it was going to be a difficult year."

"I haven't showed this, but I have been disappointed almost every game with this team."

Pitino even mentioned St. John's "s--tty facilities" and the fact that there is a plan to renovate the on-campus home of the Red Storm, "but the s--tty facilities are not the reason we aren't guarding."

However, he still has no regrets on accepting the job at St. John's.

"You can be at Missouri and recruit slow players...it's not the job. It's not St. John's. We had to put together a team at the last second. We will never, ever do that again."

Rick Pitino admitted that St. John's could have been better off if some players from last year's roster remained with the program because they are tougher than what the team currently has.

"Would some of those guys been tough? Yes. Tougher than what we have? Yes," he said.

"There were circumstances that had to be done over that were out of my control...it wasn't about me keeping certain people or not."

AJ Storr, who is averaging 16.5 points per game at Wisconsin on only 31.1-percent 3-point shooting, is a player Pitino wanted to keep. "I wanted AJ Storr. We worked him out, I loved him. We wanted him, he chose elsewhere."

"We had to bite the bullet and clean certain things out, academically as well as athletically."

St. John's still has five games remaining plus the Big East Tournament to play but it almost feels like the Johnnies could be playing out the string of the season based on the tone of the comments after the loss.

"I'm hoping we can finish over .500 on the season and then we'll see what happens," Pitino added. "They'll try hard the last five games...we're going to try hard to win the next five [games]."