Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rick Pitino on Chris Jones: Act Like a Louisville Man or Go To Belgium or Somewhere

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino didn't hold back when asked about suspended point guard Chris Jones last night following the Cardinals loss at Syracuse.

"He could play the next game if he does what the assistant coaches tell him to do," Pitino told the media. "If he doesn’t, he sits again and I don’t care if he sits the whole season to tell you the truth, I couldn’t care less. If he doesn’t do the right things and act like a Louisville man he can move on and try to go to Belgium or somewhere."

Here is a transcript of Pitino's postgame comments:

On his team’s defense:

“What’s stopping us from being a very good basketball team is the last three years we’ve been one of the most feared defensive teams in the nation, with steals and turnovers. We’ve just been void of both. I can live with the lack of steals. What we’re doing wrong is we’re in the right spot, we’re doing the right things, and all of a sudden it’s just you get the ball, I’m guarding you, and you go right by me. It’s ball containment of the dribbler that’s hurting us.”

On missing Chris Jones:

“We missed him a lot, but it’s his selfishness that hurt the team. I’m not one that believes in suspensions. I believe in punishment where you get up in the morning, lift weights and have a curfew at night. This was not a decision by me. It’s all cleared up. He could play the next game if he does what the assistant coaches tell him to do. If he doesn’t, he sits again and I don’t care if he sits the whole season to tell you the truth, I couldn’t care less. If he doesn’t do the right things and act like a Louisville man he can move on and try to go to Belgium or somewhere.”

On failure to give Syracuse the pressure on defense:

“We couldn’t give them the pressure because of Chris Jones being out. It’s tough to press right now with this makeshift line-up. And the problem is, I didn't know until we were taking off that we had a problem. I couldn’t even practice. At least now, the next few days, I can practice.”

On Rakeem Christmas’s performace:

“He struggled against Duke but he didn’t get the calls that he normally gets. He is the most feared low-post player in the country. That is a tremendous credit to him and the Syracuse coaching staff. When he was a freshman, you could leave him alone, unless he dunked the ball, and he couldn’t score. That’s a credit to him; he’s probably put himself into the middle or late first round because of how hard he’s worked; he could be a terrific power forward at the professional level and I can’t tell you how happy I am for the man because I know he had to put a lot of work to get to that point."

"I think Okafor will step away from the basket and do other things. You saw how many times we fouled Rakeem. We couldn’t get around him. I think he’s very quick. That’s not taking anything away from Okafor, who’s great, but I think he (Rakeem Christmas) is one of the most feared low-post players. I think the coaching staff and Christmas deserve an awful lot of credit.”

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