TRANSCRIPT | Pitino news conference after 91-71 exhibition win o - WDRB 41 Louisville News

TRANSCRIPT | Pitino news conference after 91-71 exhibition win over Barry

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino answered media questions after his team's 91-71 win over NCAA Division II Barry University in its first exhibition game of the season Saturday in the KFC Yum! Center. A transcript of the news conference. Some questions are paraphrased.

OPENING STATEMENT:

Barry did us a great favor coming in here because from our practice tapes each day we've realized where our weaknesses lie. One was the turnover area, and we were much better tonight. The second area was our rebounding and Barry did us a great favor, because when you give up 29 second shots, two things happen. You're playing good defense and they're shooting a low percentage. But when you're giving up second shots you're taking away every fast-break opportunity. So even though it was a high-tempo game we only had five fast breaks in the first half. So that's what exhibition basketball is all about. You see what you're doing wrong, and you see where you're weaknesses lie. It's really technique, is the reason we've been rebounding poorly.

What we're doing, basically, without getting overly technical, is from the defensive position, when the shot goes up, we run to the rim, so now it's a jump shot, and the ball comes off more than five feet, and we're running into the arc. So what we've been doing is showing them Kenneth Faried tapes where when he gets down, and instead of going toward the rim, he goes toward the perimeter while he's watching the flight of the ball, and about 30 percent of his rebounding is chasing the ball down because he knows where it's coming off. But he gets about 12 feet from the rim and watches the ball and chases it down, while we're running to the rim, and the only thing you can do there is take the ball out of bounds when it goes in. So from a technical standpoint, this was very good for us, because right now we saw our flaws, and we can really work hard at that. And it was great for the players.

We kept our turnovers down, and that's been a point of emphasis. I thought our conditioning was good except for one time I had to call a timeout. I wanted to play some of our guys major minutes in a pressing, all-out situation, and we didn't get in foul trouble, so I was grateful for that. We didn't play any zone, we played all man. So I saw a lot of things I liked, but the great thing about exhibition games is you know what to work on, and the obvious thing right now is that you can't play great defense and give up 29 second shots.

Q: YOU SAID YOU ASKED THEM TO EXPEND A LOT OF ENERGY IN A LOT OF MINUTES AND PRESSING ALMOST THE WHOLE GAME. GIVEN ALL THAT, WHO WERE YOU PLEASED WITH?

A:
I don't think necessarily I was happy with any individual. I thought Wayne was very aggressive, but he didn't go to the offensive glass, and that's something he has to do. I thought we did some good things passing the ball. But I wasn't really happy with any specific player. I tried not to focus in on that as much as I did the ball movement, the defensive help, the rotations. I think I can get to eight guys on a rotation.

Q: WAS IT SURPRISING GIVEN THE VETERANS THAT WERE IN THERE, THE LAPSES IN REBOUNDING?

A:
Yeah. And they've been told from practice that's they're weakness. But sometimes a dad can keep saying, ‘Don't go in that neighborhood, don't go in that neighborhood, you'll get in trouble, don't go in that neighborhood.' And then finally they'll get in trouble and say, ‘Why didn't I listen to my dad?'  So sometimes coaching-wise you tell them a weakness from everyday watching film and practice, but until the game starts, they don't realize it. Now, we've got their attention now, because that was one of the three areas of weakness on our basketball team.

Q: HOW IS THIS TEAM COMMUNICATING DEFENSIVELY?

A:
We're doing a pretty good job there. You know, sometimes, especially when you're physically weak, like Mangok is a very good offensive rebounder but he's weak defensively because his legs are so thin he gets pushed underneath, so the way to cure your rebounding woes is you've got to rebound the weak side, where 80 percent of the rebounds come down to 2-to-1. The guards got to leave their man and go over the back of the guy that's pushing Mangok or pushing somebody underneath, and that's the other area we've got to work on, make sure we rebound the weak side 2 versus 1.

Q: THE BALL MOVEMENT SEEMED PRETTY CRISP. IT DIDN'T STAY IN ONE GUY'S HAND TOO LONG. HAS THAT BEEN AN EMPHASIS?

A:
Team-wise, that's something that's good. Obviously, we're not running a lot of our sets right now. Our early opponents, we don't want to give them too much, every game is some form of television. So we're not going to show as much as we would for a regular game.

Q: WHAT ABOUT ONUAKU AND HIS PERFORMANCE?

A:
Nanu is going to be good basketball player. He's very smart. He's physical. He's ready to play. He's going to be a good basketball player.

Q: HOW MUCH DOES HIS PASSING HELP YOU, WITH HIS HIGH-LOW ABILITY?

A:
Yeah. He understands the game a little bit. Montrezl understands the game. He has a very good feel for the game of basketball. He has to play a lot this year. Obviously when you go against the size of Minnesota or Ohio State, when you play the teams we're playing, he's going to have to log a lot of minutes. Good thing he's 18. He's much more mature now.

Q: THIS IS ONE OF THE BIGGER TEAMS YOU'VE HAD IN RECENT MEMORY, WAS THAT BECAUSE YOU WERE GOING TO THE ACC OR DID IT JUST SHAKE OUT THAT WAY?

A:
No, it just shook out that way. I know these big guys, when you look at them, I've been through it so much in my life, they're just not ready. It's always the guards who are ready. But they big guys are not ready. One guy doesn't have good skills right now — Matz — the other guy doesn't have good strength (Anas Mahmoud). They're both going to get strength and he's going to get skills from the individual instruction. Nanu (Onuaku) gets by because he's physically ready to play. Shaqquan (Aaron) is not physically ready to play. He's 175 pounds. So we're playing Montrezl at small forward because of the kinds of teams we're going to face.

Q: WAS THE TURNOVER CREATION WHAT YOU WANTED IT TO BE?

A:
Yeah, I thought we were a little late on rotations, but that's to be expected. When you press the whole game and you play good man and you're always moving, it's a great conditioner as well. But the obvious thing is you can't get teams to take bad shots (then not rebound). And I would say about 30 percent of our rebounds tonight, we just didn't chase the ball down. They were just long, and we didn't chase them down.

Q: DID YOU TAKE ANY NOTICE OF THE 30-SECOND SHOT CLOCK EXPERIMENT?

A:
We play with a 28-second shot clock in practice every day. I don't think — we're slow to move in college basketball with a lot of things. The women have been playing with it for a long time, but they're quicker, smarter, better than us.

Q: CHRIS JONES HAD SOME EARLY FOUL TROUBLE, WAS HE A LITTLE OUT OF SYNC AFTER COMING BACK?

A:
I let him play with his two fouls for some time. I was happy that Wayne didn't get in foul trouble. Chris can play with two fouls. How many did Wayne have? Three? That's a minor miracle. It was a good exhibition game for us, it really was, because they're a well-coached team, a well-drilled team, they run good sets, and I know exactly now what I felt that we need to work on, and it solidified everything in my mind.

Q: MONTREZL, YOU'VE SEEN IT SO MUCH WITH THE DUNKS, HIS DUNK WITH THE LOB OVER THE HEAD, DOES THAT EVEN GET A RISE OUT OF YOU?

A:
Get a rise out of me? (Laughs) No, I don't, that's Montrezl, that's what he can do, his timing is excellent, his length is excellent, he's a very good passer, you know, he's a good leader. He doesn't surprise me at all. Terry doesn't surprise me. Chris doesn't. We've got Wayne playing much more aggressively. I got on him at halftime about rebounding, and he did a good job. Six players, I've got great confidence in right now, and I thought Anton was OK on defense, I thought he was okay. That gives us seven, if Q (Snider) comes around defensively that gives us eight, we're perfect. We're fine. We've just got to get Q playing some defense and we're fine.

Q: WHY DID SHAQQUAN SIT OUT TODAY?

A:
I can't play everybody. I really can't. You know, I didn't play Anas, I didn't play Matz. I've got to work on getting ready for Minnesota. It's a different schedule this year, so I can't. I know you want him to play, but I can't put him in because you want him to play.

Q: WHY DIDN'T YOU ASK ME ABOUT DYLAN AVARE?

A:
Well, he's a 6-7, four-star recruit.

Q: MORE BACK AND FORTH, THEN PITINO OFFERS ...

A:
No, there's more to it than that (with Aaron). I haven't been happy with him in practice. But there's more to it than that. See you guys. By the way, everybody thanks for congratulating me on Goldencents, but I don't own him anymore. I got 30 texts congratulating me.

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