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Rick Pitino Withdraws Name From Coaching Puerto Rican Team

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino will not coach the Puerto Rico national basketball team in preparation for a 2011 pre-Olympic qualifying tournament due to conflicts with the university.

Louisville’s official site reports that Pitino’s additional duties with the Puerto Rican team “did not blend with Pitino’s duties with the Cardinals” and that “Pitino had also hoped to take a foreign trip with his 2011-12 U of L team at the same time while coaching the Puerto Ricans.”

However, Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States and is not considered a foreign site under NCAA rules.

"We were hoping to arrange for both the Puerto Rico and our U of L teams to play at the same foreign site, which could not be accommodated," Pitino said in a statement. "An additional tournament in Brazil would have also kept me from being in Louisville at a key time for the start of the fall semester.

"Too many conflicts arose," Pitino said. "It is a great disappointment that we cannot take on the challenge to help them qualify for the Olympics."

Pitino had planned to coach the Puerto Rican team in the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship basketball tournament, which is set for Aug. 25 – Sept. 8. To advance to the 2012 Olympics in London, Puerto Rico must finish among the top two teams in the tournament.

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