By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
If Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino could go back in time, he admits he would have taken his time rebuilding the Boston Celtics rather than try to make them an instant success.
So, for ACU head coach Klint Pleasant, a 12-15 finish will do just fine-for now.
“People come up to me on campus and ask why we didn’t win 20 games this year,” Pleasant said from his car on a recruiting trip Monday. “I’m not sure I understand all that. We’re a rebuilding program, and we’re gonna rebuild it right. That doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time. That’s what [Pitino]’s talking about.”
ACU closed out its season with a pair of home losses-67-66 to West Texas A&M Thursday and 85-72 to Eastern New Mexico Saturday-to give the Wildcats six losses in their last seven games and a sixth-place standing (3-9) in the Lone Star Conference South Division.
Despite the low standing, the Wildcats pushed through a season in which they lost seven games by seven points or less.
“I know this is making an excuse,” said Pleasant, “but if you give us 15 points, we’d have 17 wins and probably be in third place in our division. You couldn’t have said that last year.”
Despite finishing with a slightly worse record this season than they did in 2002-03, the Wildcats outscored opponents by an average of 76-74 this season. Last year, ACU was outscored, on average, 78-75.
Pleasant is already looking to next year and said he is excited about the underclassmen stepping up in addition to the new recruits he plans to have signed by the April 13 deadline.
“We’ve already had three workouts, and they went great,” Pleasant said. “We’re going to make the spring an important time. This new team is re-sponding well.”