Longtime college basketball coach Rick Pitino has been at the center of attention this week after he publicly criticized some of his St. John’s Red Storm players on Sunday following a loss to the Seton Hall Pirates.

On Tuesday night, however, Pitino was in a praise giving mode after the 25th-ranked BYU Cougars beat the 11th-ranked Baylor Bears.

Pitino’s praise was directed specifically at Cougars head coach Mark Pope, who played for him in the mid-1990s at Kentucky.

“So proud n happy for BYU coach @CoachMarkPope with his great win vs 11th ranked Baylor,” Pitino wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“Our captain of one of the greatest college teams ever assembled - 1996 Champions!!! We love you Mark, so happy for you!!”

Pope, now 51, began his collegiate playing career at Washington and transferred to Kentucky after two seasons with the Huskies.

After sitting out a year because of transfer rules at the time, Pope played his final two years with the Wildcats and averaged 7.6 points in 20.3 minutes per game in the 1995-96 season (his final year) as Kentucky won the national championship.

He was then the 52nd overall pick of the 1996 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers and played in the NBA until 2005 with the Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets.

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Pitino, meanwhile, jumped to the NBA from Kentucky in 1997, where he was the head coach of the Boston Celtics until 2001.

He then moved back to college and was the head coach at Louisville from 2001-2017 before getting fired amidst scandal.

He coached in Greece from 2018-2020 and then returned to the college ranks, where he was the head coach at Iona until last spring, when he was hired at St. John’s.