New York Knicks coach Rick Pitino, who admitted earlier this season that he preferred college to pro coaching, has a close adviser scouting college openings, according to a published report.

"Pitino has known everything going on with the Kentucky situation for a month," an NBA source was quoted as saying by the New York Post. "He's got someone looking at other possibilites, too. Kentucky is just the latest one. Everyone in the league knows it's going on."The Kentucky job opened Sunday when Eddie Sutton resigned.

According to the Post, Pitino has been linked to possible openings at Syracuse if Jim Boeheim leaves, North Carolina State if Jim Valvano departs, or Providence if Rick Barnes leaves. Pitino coached Providence to the Final Four in 1987 before moving to the Knicks.

Pitino denied this week that he is considering an early departure from the Knicks, saying, "My main focus solely and only is on the New York Knicks right now. I have no interest in anything else at this time."

The Knicks lead the Atlantic Division by eight games.