Celtics

Celtics

Rick Pitino did play a role in the Boston Celtics drafting Terry Rozier. Just not as much as the former Louisville coach may remember.

Pitino had Rozier on his podcast Wednesday and boasted that he essentially convinced C's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to take Rozier with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

"When I first talked to Danny, I said, ‘Danny, you need to take him in the first round,' " Pitino said on the podcast. "He said, ‘Well, Rick, I can’t take him at 16, I’ll get second-guessed.’ I said, ‘I’m telling you he’s worth it.' He started laughing."

Ainge, however, has a slightly different recollection of events.

"That's not exactly how I remember it," Ainge said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich." "I mean, as most or all of my front office will testify, I was a huge Terry Rozier fan well before I even talked with Rick."

Ainge admitted he consulted with Pitino and took the coach's glowing review of Rozier into consideration on draft night. That said...

"He certainly didn't convince me to draft Terry Rozier," Ainge added. "We were all on it."

"But I was checking with Rick as a guy who had coached him for two years and recruited him and got his opinion. He was very high on Terry Rozier, I can verify that."

 

Ainge did, in fact, take criticism for taking Rozier at No. 16, and that criticism initially was justified: The young guard played sparingly his rookie season and averaged just 5.5 points per game the following campaign.

But Rozier broke out in a big way last season after Kyrie Irving went down, proving Ainge right for sticking to his guns -- and hearing Pitino out -- on the Louisville product.

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