Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau thinks Rick Pitino ‘will do a great job in St. John’s’

Tom Thibodeau has known Rick Pitino for decades, and St. He agrees to hire John’s as the new men’s basketball coach.

“Really, really happy with him. I think he’s been a great coach wherever he’s been,” Thibodeau said before the Knicks lost 140-134 Monday night at the Garden. “He has been through a lot. When I was a young coach, I used to watch his practices in Providence.

“So he’s a good man, a great coach, and I know he’s going to do a great job in San Juan.”

Pitino, 70, was hired by the Red Storm on Monday after three seasons – and two NCAA Tournament berths – at Iona.

Thibodeau was an assistant coach at Harvard from 1985-89, Pitino was at Providence from 1985-87.

Pitino was named head coach of the Knicks after leading the Friars to the 1987 Final Four before returning to the college ranks at Kentucky two years later.

Tom Thibodeau endorses Rick Pitino for St. John’s in his new coaching position.Robert Sabo for the NY Post

On Monday, Rick Pitino accepted his new job as the men's basketball coach at Saint John's.On Monday, Rick Pitino accepted his new job as the men’s basketball coach at Saint John’s.Getty Images

Thibodeau believes Jalen Brunson, who had 23 points and 10 assists, should be a candidate for the league’s MVP award, which Julius Randle (57 points, four rebounds) won in 2020-21.

Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen and Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are favorites for the award.

“I think you look at what he’s done. And I think the most important thing is his impact on winning for all of our players,” Thibodeau said of Brunson, who went 9-for-18 from the field and committed two turnovers. “And I think when you win, the consequence of winning is that people are recognized. So I’m hoping to recognize him, but I don’t want to lose him.

“We all have some, fortunately, who will be willing to do things, don’t lose sight of them, don’t ignore them. (But) it’s the impact he’s had on the team … you can’t say enough about what he’s meant to our team from a leadership standpoint.”

Jalen Brunson is looking to make a move against the Timberwolves on Monday night at the Garden. Jalen Brunson is looking to make a move against the Timberwolves on Monday night at the Garden. robert sabo

Karl-Anthony Towns (right calf strain) and Anthony Edwards (right ankle sprain) were out for the Timberwolves.

Rudy Gobert (sprained left ankle) was available after questionable.

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