SPORTS

Rick Pitino to Coach Puerto Rican Team

Louisville coach Rick Pitino gives instructions to his team in their NCAA college basketball game against Gardner-Webb in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010. No. 20 Louisville beat Gardner-Webb 78-49.  (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

Louisville coach Rick Pitino gives instructions to his team in their NCAA college basketball game against Gardner-Webb in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010. No. 20 Louisville beat Gardner-Webb 78-49. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

The Puerto Rican national team will be coached by University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

The high-profile coach was introduced by the Puerto Rico basketball federation on Monday. 

The team hopes to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Pitino, who is the only coach to lead three different teams to the Final Four, met with the players and officials Sunday to discuss the possibility.

Puerto Rico last qualified for the Olympics in 2004, beating the United States on its way to a sixth-place finish. Its best Olympic performance was fourth, in 1964 in Tokyo. 

Potential players next summer include Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea, Miami Heat guard Carlos Arroyo and Denver Nuggets forward Renaldo Balkman.

Puerto Rico must make a deep run in next summer's qualifying tournament in Argentina to make it to London in 2012.

Pitino was involved in an extortion scandal with a woman who claimed the coach raped her on two different occasions. Pitino maintained it was a one-night stand.

In August, Karen Sunagin Sypher was convicted by a federal district court of extortion and lying to federal agents. She has not been sentenced.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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