Dec. 8, 2012
Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino
"Obviously, I think Russ (Smith) played a fantastic game. He keeps getting better, better and better. He can create easy buckets for you off his defense and is shooting the ball extremely well. I thought all of the guys played as well coming off that performance against Charleston. Obviously, this team is building, and they're overmatched physically tonight, but we are pleased to get the victory. Now we have a tough game to get ready for in Memphis, and we are looking forward to the challenge.
(On if any experimental lineups were used or new wrinkles in our game plan)
"Not really, just guys got a chance to play which is good. Tim Henderson has been shooting the ball great in practice. He plays mostly the one position because Russ (Smith) starts, but when he plays the two-guard spot, he does a lot of good things."
(On if he is campaigning yet for Russ Smith to become an All-American)
"Please. You know a lot of people, I don't say this myself, but people take him for granted. They think he is just a playground player. I felt sorry for him and gave him a scholarship because I have known him since he was little and coming to my basketball camps. I say that facetiously, but he has grown into a very good basketball player. He has done better rebounding. He texted me last night talking about how Rajon Rondo had all these rebounds and almost a triple double at half. I said how many rebounds you going to get me tomorrow, eight? He got me seven and tried to steal the last one from Montrezl (Harrell) at the end of the game. He knows exactly what he has. I think he is one of the best players in the country. We laugh and joke with him so much around here, that nobody takes him or like your question seriously. I wouldn't campaign for him, but without question I think he is one of the premier guards in the country."
(On the steals and defensive pressure in the game)
"I haven't seen too many guys; I will go back to the mid-sixties, since Clyde Frazier could steal a ball like that on the ball. Russ (Smith) will pick you clean with no contact. I haven't seen too many players in my lifetime that does what he does. He is great at it."
(On Russ being the motor to the team and being a difference maker compared to Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng) "I have never said that? I'll say it now, he definitely is. I am very guarded with certain people to give them too much praise, because humility is the key to really improving. I don't want to go too overboard with Russ (Smith)."
(On Montrezl Harrell's performance today)
"I don't think we can judge too many things because we overpowered this team, but he did play well. I think the last three years, we have had the best attitude I have had in a long time with any basketball team. Guys are having a lot of fun and they aren't under a lot of pressure. They played a great road game with Charleston. Montrezl is really improving. Zach (Price) and Stephan Van Treese is really, really improving. They asked me a question awhile ago if it would benefit your team by some guys stepping up while Gorgui (Dieng) is out. Without question, as long as we win that is true. Montrezl has gotten a chance to play a lot and so has Zach Price. They are doing some really good things."
(On the play of Kevin Ware)
"I've been trying to get Kevin to play a lot like Russ does - to probe the offense and to stop pulling up to take mid-range jump shots. Ware did a very good job tonight. Russ and Kevin both rebound the ball well and that's one thing we have to continue to do."
(On the play of Luke Hancock)
"You saw a variety of things from him today. You saw the old school move in the lane where he makes the bank shot off one foot and then you see him explode and dunk the basketball, while adding four assists at halftime. He does it all; he is the best basketball player on our team. He knows how to play the game of basketball best, along with Peyton. He is starting to get better. Wayne is starting to get better. Kevin is getting better, and they are all getting their confidence up. We are going to need it. I saw Syracuse play the other day and they are a top three team in basketball this year. They are amazing defensively. I watched Cincinnati and they are amazing. We are going to play Syracuse twice, Notre Dame twice, travel to Memphis, and host Kentucky at home; we have to get better during this time period and I think we will."
(Russ Smith's on-ball defense)
"He never really played a stitch of defense when he came here. I'm sure coach Kern, at Archbishop Molloy; one of the best high school coaches in the nation for so many years is probably sitting back and wondering where this kid came from. Russ never guarded a soul. Smith came in here at 137 pounds, and he could not lift 135 pounds of weight. Now he lifts 185 pounds, 17 times. Russ has become very strong. When he first got here, he could barely dunk the ball. As you've seen during the game he tried to take two guys and dunk the ball, which even surprised me. He has developed into quite a player."
(On Russ Smith's role changing once Gorgui Dieng is healthy)
"I don't think it will. Gorgui hasn't really done a whole lot. He was playing well, but he wasn't putting up earth-shattering numbers. I don't think guys will be able to get into the interior as much; Gorgui is going to give you tremendous shot blocking inside. We really haven't lost too much with Dieng's absence. The only thing I would say that we have lost is his shot blocking and I think Montrezl has done a nice job filling in. We should get Gorgui back next week. He will start practicing with a soft cast and then we will see. If I get two games into him, I will think about playing him, if I can't, then we will wait until we get two games to bring him back."
(On creating plays for Russ)
"I can't run any more plays for Russ. Peyton and Russ gets more pick and rolls than any tandem in the country. Everything is run through Peyton and Russ right now."
UMKC Head Coach Matt Brown
(On what the team does after a game like this)
"We have already played Ohio State, we've played Seton Hall, we've played Louisville, so our guys, with all due respect, have been to this venue a couple times now. It's different. I was an assistant in the BIG EAST for quite some time with West Virginia, so I'm familiar with this league. The Summit league is a one-bid league. The more I can prepare our kids to play the best teams we can without injury, which we did today, and hopefully do good in our league, that's all it comes down to. We bounced back from Ohio State and got some good wins, hopefully we bounce back from Louisville. We have three home games next week one of which is against Iowa State. I told our guys the only better team we can play from here is number one. We've already played number three and number five. "
(On how to get a couple wins in a row)
"Well, we need to stop playing top five teams, stop playing Seton Hall, Ohio State, Louisville, and Iowa State. But obviously it's very good for recruiting because the kids want to play against the best kids, it's a great opportunity to raise revenue and it makes us better for league play. I think once we get in to league play we should be much better."
(On Louisville's pressure)
"It's very good. They do different things, sometimes it's man-to-man, sometimes it's zone, sometimes there is a guy on the ball, and sometimes there is a guy off the ball too. They give you so many different looks. Just from the length and athleticism and throw the crowd in there too, so I'm sure they'll be very, very good in the league."
(On where he stacks Russ Smith with the other top competition they have played this season)
"Russ Smith is as good as any. The guy I really like though is that (Aaron) Craft (Ohio State), he is spectacular. Russ (Smith) is as good as a scorer as there is in the country, but (Aaron) Craft does a great job facilitating everybody else and right now is one of the best defenders in the country. The way he facilitates other guys is pretty amazing. (Russ) Smith is very, very good. (Peyton) Siva's numbers I think, he was six and one, five and one. I think he played very good as well."