Kentucky assistant Rigot happy to be back in isles
LAHAINA » No one's going to confuse Lahaina for Lexington anytime soon, but Scott Rigot feels right at home this week.
Rigot, a former University of Hawaii assistant coach, is back in the islands this week with the Kentucky staff as the Wildcats play in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
"I love Hawaii, love the people, we have great friends over here," Rigot said, taking a break from scouting potential opponents in the tournament at the Lahaina Civic Center. "We consider Hawaii home really, we love it that much."
Rigot coached on Riley Wallace's staff at UH from 1999 to 2002, helping the Rainbow Warriors to two Western Athletic Conference tournament titles and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.
After taking a job with Kentucky, he returned when the Wildcats placed third in the 2002 Maui Invitational and is back as a fifth-year member of head coach Tubby Smith's coaching staff.
Rigot is keeping busy with scouting reports and recruiting and is enjoying being a part of one of college basketball's elite programs.
"Kentucky's a great place, it's a great basketball tradition," Rigot said. "Tubby's a great guy to work for. We've been able to win a lot of games and we look forward to keep doing that."
A portion of Kentucky's loud and loyal fan following has also made the Wildcats feel at home in Hawaii, cramming into the Lahaina Civic Center (capacity 2,400).
"That's what makes Kentucky such a special place -- they love their Wildcats," Rigot said. "They flock to you, they follow us wherever we go. It's just a tremendous following."
Inevitably, though, with the attention comes greater expectations and scrutiny. That's part of the deal when you work for a program that has won more games and appeared in more NCAA Tournaments than any other school.
The Wildcats went 22-13 last season and were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a loss to Connecticut.
"It's all about winning games wherever you are," Rigot said. "However you look at it, the bottom line is you have to win. Whether you're at Hawaii or you're at Kentucky, you have to win. Sometimes it can intensify the situation, but it's no different than anywhere else."
Rigot said he keeps in touch with the Hawaii staff and remains a regular visitor to the islands in the offseason. He didn't get to watch UH's 44-point win over Oregon State on Sunday but knows all about playing in the Stan Sheriff Center.
"Hawaii can jump on you at home," Rigot said. "Hawaii's got a great atmosphere, great fan support, so I could see them jumping on Oregon State just like they jumped on Michigan State last year."