As often as he could in high school, Ryan Pitino spent his free time alongside his father, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. He would watch his dad run the Cardinals' practices. He would fly with him on recruiting trips. Ryan immersed himself in Louisville basketball to such a degree that Rick said his son was closer to him than any assistant coach during that time.
Now in college, Ryan is putting that pedigree to use, blogging on college basketball for a student newspaper—at Georgetown University.
Despite Georgetown's status as a Big East Conference rival of Louisville, Ryan was lured by the serene campus and academic reputation of the Washington, D.C. school. Ryan, the youngest of Rick's four sons, is actually the second to attend Georgetown. Chris Pitino graduated in 2003.
"I wanted to expand my opportunity," Ryan said of his decision not to attend Louisville. "I came back to visit Georgetown my senior year and just fell in love. This is my dream school academically. It's just the place I wanted to be."
When it came to his son's decision, there was no remorse from Rick, who also endorsed Ryan's foray into sports journalism.
"He's his own man. It's his college experience and he can do what he wants to do," Rick said, also calling Georgetown's campus "one of the best places I've ever visited."
Making his debut in October for The Hoya, Ryan's posts provide the unique perspective of a college hoops insider with an outsider's point of view when it comes to Georgetown basketball. Of course, he has the analytical eye he picked up tailing his pop.
"My third son [Richard] is my assistant coach, but Ryan has been around the gym and around recruiting and scouting more than any of my children," Rick said.
"I just wanted to see if this is what I want to do [as a career]. Sports, at least basketball, is the main focus of my life," said Ryan, who served as the sports editor for his high school newspaper. "I'm going to focus on the Big East as a whole, what's going on in the conference. I want to keep people up to date and not be too biased."
Ryan's Louisville bias may not creep into his blog, but it did work its way into his wardrobe during his first days on GU's campus. Draped head to toe in Cardinals gear, he spotted Hoyas' coach John Thompson III in the dining hall and moved to introduce himself. JTIII's joking reply? Don't let me catch you in those clothes again. A few weeks later while traveling with his father, and once more sporting a Louisville t-shirt, Ryan again ran into Thompson at an Orlando hoops tourney.
"That's two strikes," Thompson razzed when he saw spotted him.
"I told Ryan, 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do,' " Rick said. "You're at Georgetown now. Pull for Georgetown."
No problem, said Ryan, who has been a Hoyas fan since his brother attended the school. But he plans on holding back just once this year—Feb. 23 when dad and the Cardinals come to town.
"He knows who's paying the tuition," Rick said.