Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Rick Pitino Talks About First Two Games in Puerto Rico

Here's a transcript of Rick Pitino's comments following tonight's games vs. Puerto Rico:


Opening statement

Interesting enough, I thought the Puerto Rico team would run out of gas, and it was just the opposite. Louisville ran out of gas, which was surprising. I think they are so hyped up that the mental part of being so excited ... I thought Louisville did an excellent job, then they just took an ill-advised shots. Then, Puerto Rico's defense became very aggressive and Moe Harkless played terrific.

I think you all see what I mean about Damion Lee. I think this young man has a chance at greatness. It was only one exhibition game, but he has a great mentality to score, without being selfish. That was a big positive.

On the intensity of the games

Puerto Rico was very upset when they came in at halftime. They don't want to lose. Louisville doesn't want to lose. It's going to be a great series going forward. We didn't have a point guard for a while when JJ (Barea) went out because out backup point guard went out, but we got through it.

On Chinanu Onuaku

I think they've got the makings of being a great team. I really do. I'm going to be very upfront: I thought this was going to be a rebuilding year, even with the additions. This trip has given me renewed hope, because of practice, that it's not going to be. Trey and Damion, Nanu's improvement, Mangok's improvement, the length of our basketball -- remember, these are professional athletes.

If there was any disappointment in Louisville, it was in the first game. I was disappointed in the performance in that first game.

On Trey Lewis

He did a good job. He's a tough kid. He took a couple of ill-advised shots when they were only down three. He comes off the pick-and-roll and they switched, and instead of taking the guy on, he settled for a jump shot. Outside of that, he was terrific.

On playing seven more games in five days

This team is really special with how hard they work. They ran out of gas tonight. They got in foul trouble. This is a much more physical game than the college game. International basketball is much more physical than the NBA game. You see it. You see the way they guard the ball, the way they guard the screens. It's not just Puerto Rico. It's Brazil. It's every team. It's very, very aggressive.

On Jay Henderson

He was the best player on the court in that first game.

On Matz Stockman

Matz did a lot of great things. Even when he missed the shots, he did a lot of great things. But because he stands upright all the time, he doesn't rebound. We all show him clips of Kenneth Faried being in a wide base and pursuing the ball. He stands upright, so he has no mobility to rebound. He played all those minutes and got one rebound.

Conversely, on the offensive end, he made some terrific moves. Even the ones he missed, he made terrific moves.

More on Damion Lee

You know, he's a little bit better version of Ron Mercer, because he can put it on the floor. Ron was terrific. He's such a quick slasher in and out. He can run pick and rolls better than Ron.

On the in-game rotations

That's Ralph (Willard)'s decision ... We want to get Deng (Adel) playing some 4 for small teams, so we can switch a lot.

On recruiting versatility

We've got a lot of versatility. Really, really happy with how the guys played in the first half. They ran out of gas in the second half because of the physical nature of play.

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