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PITINO SAYS HE'LL MAKE UP HIS MIND SOON

Family will come first when Rick Pitino makes his decision on whether to pursue the job as head basketball coach at Kentucky.

"The most important thing to me is not how to build Kentucky basketball," Pitino said at a news conference Tuesday. "That will be done and it will be done a lot easier than people think . . . But the one thing I want is for my family to be happy. They're the most important people in my life."He also said he doesn't plan to waste any time in deciding if he wants to coach the Wildcats or remain with the New York Knicks.

"I'm going to make the decision very shortly," he said. "As soon as I get back to New York and talk it over with my wife and find out what she thinks of the place."

Pitino, who has been on the Kentucky campus since Monday, indicated the decision will come after he returns to New York. The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Pitino will stay an extra day in Lexington, returning to New York on Thursday.

"I haven't even had a chance to talk it over with Joanne (his wife)," who spent Tuesday touring Lexington with a real-estate broker.

Kentucky Athletics Director C.M. Newton said Tuesday that no offer was on the table yet.

Pitino insisted during the news conference that he was not leaning toward taking the job. "I'll be honest with you: You've got a lot of problems here, and I've got very few in New York."

But he also characterized himself as a "college guy" and reiterated that he is interested in getting back into college coaching at some point.

While Pitino, who has three seasons remaining on his contract with the Knicks, said that he enjoys living in New York, he is concerned about job security in the NBA.

Pitino denied that there was a rift between him and Knicks' General Manager Al Bianchi.