Rick Pitino praises Jason Whitlock article on RGIII

December 16, 2013

Like it or not, Robert Griffin III seems almost fully established as a some sort of life philosophy app, where you can type in a few words representing your overriding philosophical principals and the RGIII App will find a way that they relate to Washington’s third-string quarterback.

I don’t know how we got here, but I’m not sure how we go back, either.

And thus, Rick Pitino, delivering his weekly press conference to the Louisville media on Monday afternoon.

“As long as you’ve been doing this, how encouraging is it to see a guy like Tim Henderson get an opportunity and take some advantage of it?” one reporter asked. “I mean, he’s done it a couple times now.”

The question, of course, refers to Tim Henderson, the walk-on guard who became something of a hero during last spring’s Final Four and remains a part of Louisville’s rotation.

(Jessica Hill/AP)
(Jessica Hill/AP)

“Yeah, he’s a little different than most walk-ons because he came in physically ready,” Pitino answered.

(Bear with me. The RGIII part is coming.)

“It’s quite evident that if you look at the layup line, you’ll see Dillon Avare and David Levitch and you’ll realize that physically, they just can’t compete at this level,” Pitino went on. “But Tim Henderson came in physically ready to compete; he just had to learn to shoot the basketball and some of the other aspects of the game. But he was physically ready. And he’s a great guy to have on the team, because he can perform like a scholarship basketball player. And he’s probably mentally tougher and more humble than the scholarship basketball player, so you’re getting an extra bonus there.”

“Speaking of that, you know, my trainer just gave me a terrific article you guys should read by Jason Whitlock on RGIII on [ESPN.com],” Pitino continued, holding up a highlighted print-out of Whitlock’s column, as seen above. “It’s a really well-written article, and a great article about humility and the swagger of young athletes today. It was very well done.”

Here’s Whitlock’s column, if you never saw it. I might as well excerpt it, I suppose:

It’s my belief that Shanahan has made the right decision for the right reason. Humility is the only thing that can save RGIII as a franchise quarterback….Griffin is a good kid raised by attentive, well-intentioned parents. But he is a product of the Swagger Generation. He spent the entire offseason rehabilitating his swagger rather than humbly preparing for a sophomore season his head coach knew would be dramatically more difficult than Griffin’s rookie campaign….

Anyone objectively watching the Washington game film realizes Griffin is living in a false reality as a pocket passer. Anyone who witnessed Griffin’s Week 1, flag-carrying, drop-to-his-knees, pregame jaunt onto the field realizes Griffin has a lot of work to do as a locker room leader. He’s lost in swagger, a bogus reality fueled by social media and a culture with little regard for humility and self-awareness. There’s no guarantee he’ll awaken from his fantasy world. But Mike Shanahan will soon clean out his office knowing he shook Griffin as hard as he could.

It all sounds nice, and maybe Whitlock (and Pitino) are 100 percent right. But it seems to me somebody could probably write a column praising RGIII for the way he’s dealt with a workplace superior who himself hasn’t seemed long on humility, if one were so inclined.

(Via @jeffgreer_cj via @paultenorio)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg | December 16, 2013