TRANSCRIPT | Pitino talks about Louisville's 34-point loss to Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, P.R. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville basketball coach went from a happy Puerto Rico locker room to a frustrated U of L postgame Wednesday night. He said his Louisville players were focused on the wrong things. A full transcript of Pitino's postgame interview:
PITINO on Puerto Rico's defense: It’s a change in culture from just caring about jump shots to playing great defense. And they’re getting it.
Q: What about Javier Gonzalez, with Barea out for the week?
PITINO: He did a good job tonight. All the guys did a great job tonight. We ran our motion offense to perfection. They did great. I think the guys in the Louisville locker room were worried too much about officiating rather than playing basketball, and it takes you out of the game mentally. They learned a valuable lesson, because they’re going to have to go at Duke and at Michigan State, and you can’t worry about anything other than that.
Q: How tough is it when you can’t convey that message to them during the game?
PITINO: Well I conveyed it just now. You know, these are pro athletes, and it’s no different than Michael Jordan, when the college kids beat them in the Olympics, and one guy went off, Michael got on the bus and said, ‘I got that guy.’ It was the same thing with Damion Lee tonight. Vassallo said, ‘I’ve got him.’ Chaney said, ‘I’ve got him.’ Because they were embarrassed with him getting 36 points, and they’re athletes with a lot of pride.
Q: You cut Michael Rosario yesterday and now some of our other players are out. You need to cut your team. Are you working on it or will you be cutting more in the next couple of days?
PITINO: Not right now. We didn’t play with a lot of our players tonight. We didn’t play with Barea. With didn’t play with Balkman. We didn’t play with Holland. All our good players. We didn’t play with Carlos Rivera. So they’re all out. We played basically with our second and third unit, and they played great. So we’re just going to try to get through the injuries and move on.
Q: Louisville looked, and you would know this better than anyone, tired. Were they tired?
PITINO: I think Louisville, their spirits were destroyed tonight. And they learned a valuable lesson.
Q: Why do you think they were destroyed?
PITINO: I think the other team played great. And that happens. But this is what this is all for. They’ve got to learn how to play with hostile fans and these fans were cheering for Matz. So they’re going to learn a lot from this.
Q: Do you take anything positive from this. Deng Adel kept playing late. Anybody else?
PITINO: No, I thought our team was horse s—t tonight. And the reason they were horse s—t was this team played defense like they haven’t played before. They’re getting a culture for the first time of what defense is all about. Larry Ayuso is thirty, I told him he’s 49 years old and finally found out how to play defense. So I’m really proud of him. Here’s a guy who is denying the basketball, pressuring the basketball and he’s 38 years old. He’s never done that before. And I’m real proud of him.
Q: How hard is it to convey the message to the team that there’s value in this lesson?
PITINO: You know, look, they were concerned with the wrong things tonight. The bench was getting under their skin, and they didn’t respond the right way. So it’s a learning lesson.
Q: What do you mean getting under their skin?
PITINO: You know, talking smack.
Q: Will they learn more from a game like tonight than they did last night?
PITINO: It’s the summer. They’ve got to realize right now what defense is all about. Because in three weeks, Puerto Rico’s learned to play great defense. And now they’ve got to learn to play the same type of defense.
Q: Anything you saw from the first game against the junior team that was better than last night?
PITINO: You know, they should’ve won both games, but they don’t have the guard play.
Q: You watch Ray and I know he’s impressed you in practice. It seems like he gets his hands on a lot of deflections. What do you think of his play?
PITINO: He needs to just learn defense. Run the ball into his hands. He’s slow reacting to the ball when catching the ball. But he’s going to be a great player. I don’t know when it’s going to be, but someday he’s going to be a great player.
Q: Earlier they announced the two Big Monday Games, your thoughts on those?
PITINO: I’m just trying to get through this trip right now. I’ve been going through 9-10 hours a day. I’m not worried about Big Monday, that’s for you or Kenny Klein to worry about. Not me.
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