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Louisville-FIU Postgame Quotes


Dec. 19, 2012

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Head coach Rick Pitino
(Opening Statement)
“We did some good things offensively and got some good work against the zone. Western Kentucky is going to play a lot of zone so it was good for us. We got a lot work on our man defense which we needed. We got a little bit better than the Memphis game but we still have a long way to go on defense. We are just not playing the kind of defense I want to play. We don’t rotate a third and fourth time. But we are improving and that is key. We have a couple of days until we play a Western Kentucky team in Nashville, who will do a lot of things that we will need to stop so that will be great game for us as well.”

(About Richard Pitino’s game plan)
“We were ready for it, our guys were ready with the exception of early in the game with their press, they played their plays very well. Indicative of a team who is doing a good job of paying attention is when you see a low assist total. They had six in the game. That means you are stopping their options and he runs some really good offensive sets. About the only thing they could get was the dribble penetration and that is where we broke down sometimes.”

(About Wayne Blackshear’s play)
“I feel like Wayne is improving and so is Kevin Ware. But they are taking small steps and getting better at doing the small things.”

(About coaching against his son Richard)
“I didn’t even know he was down there during the game. I was just trying to get our team ready because we are going to be thrown into the fire and we have to improve and we are running out of time. It is obvious that we are really missing Gorgui (Dieng) at the defensive end and we OK without him on the offensive end but we really miss him on the defensive end. But the other guys are really getting some good work in.”

(On Gorgui Dieng being off the floor, does it force other players to do other things)
“Gorgui is just a very special player. It is not just his shot blocking, he is just a smart basketball player too. He makes you much better defensively and he knows how to rotate. He knows when to tip the ball when he can’t catch it. He does a lot of smart things, and we miss his high basketball IQ as well.”

(On after the game is over and celebrating with Richard and the family for the Billy Minardi Classic)
“Yeah it is going to be great. It is tough talking about your son, but he is going to be a great coach he really is. He ran some really good offensive sets. He is a little small now; he doesn’t have the shot blockers he wants right now. His defense is not going to be where he wants it. He is starting from the bottom and he had to bring in eight new players and that is not easy to do. I started at Boston University and the similarities are there. We didn’t draw any people. I used to sit up in what was called the Eilberg Lounge and you could see the people walking in before the game. You could literally count the people as they walked in the beginning. He is going to go through the same type of stuff, except they are going to go into Conference USA and obviously they can recruit a higher caliber basketball player. But he has about four or five really good basketball players. His bigs aren’t where they need to be for the future, but that is what he is working on. He is going to have a really good basketball player named Rakeem Buckles next year.”

(On if he is surprised the Richard’s sideline demeanor was more like Billy Donovan's then his own)
“Well, I have told him since he was a young boy, ever since he sat on Billy Donovan’s lap, which we have plenty of pictures of him with Billy. The day he went into coaching, I told him you emulate Billy in every single thing he does ... the way he coaches, his demeanor, everything about Billy Donovan. Billy Donovan and Peyton Siva are two of the people in my lifetime that, not only did I coach special players, but I coached two of the most special people with incredible moral fiber, honesty, integrity. They do things the right way for the right reasons all their lives. They are great family men. I told him right away, we were talking about young coaches, I said you are just focusing on one man. When he got a chance to work for Billy, he came back a much better basketball coach.”

(On Peyton Siva’s performance tonight with the 12 assists)
“Peyton played real well. I was just a little disappointed because we don't throw interior chest passes, and he did that twice. You are either going to have to throw the lob, or throw a bounce pass. He kept throwing chest passes, and you can't do that because they do a good job at getting a hand up.”

(On playing WKU)
“I will tell you Chip (Cosby), my guys have watched it and I will watch them tomorrow, but I haven’t seen them play yet. I never look ahead unless I can see them on TV. I have seen Kentucky play one time on television. I don’t normally watch the opponents, but I have seen Syracuse play about three times this season. I have not seen Western play, I will study them tomorrow.”

(On with Wayne Blackshear and Kevin Ware making baby steps, what do they need to do to take bigger steps)
“Well, Wayne has to improve his ball handling skills, but he has definitely improved his shooting. His athleticism is picking up. Both guys are just going to take a little bit of time. They are both good athletes, and they are both good basketball players and they will improve.”

(What’s the difference is Peyton Siva’s shot this year as opposed to last)
“He just spent a long time working on it. It is interesting because Chane Behanan took the first two shots and he reverted back to putting the ball back behind his head again. Then he finally got it out in front again. Old habits are tough to break. Peyton broke it because the amount of time he put into it. He has worked really, really hard on it. We are all real happy for him because we know the type of person he is. We want to see him do great things.”

(How much are you focusing on Zach Price and Stephan Van Treese while Gorgui Dieng is out) “Stephan - we are not really playing too much now because of his leg. He hasn’t practiced, so we went with Montrezl Harrell. I wouldn’t say Gorgui is not 100 percent playing against Kentucky. I just think that is a tough game to throw him into first game back. I was hoping he could get some time against Western. This Tuesday it will be four weeks, and the doctor said four to six weeks. Last x-ray it had not healed so he is practicing and in great shape. He is ready to play from a physical standpoint; we just have to get him back by Providence because they are playing really good basketball. I think Stephan can get the job done, I don’t think Zach has been playing real well. He has to learn on when to block shots that are in his plane and not go into the offensive man’s plane. The more he plays and the more minutes he gets, he will develop.”

FIU Head Coach Richard Pitino

(Opening statement)
“Certainly they are one of the best teams in the country and we knew that coming in. There were a lot of things we had to do defensively due to their size and talents. Give them credit they are an unbelievable team. This was good experience for our guys. The key for us is to turn the page and learn from this.”

(On staying with Louisville early)
“They are one of the best defensive teams in the country. We had some open looks; we just missed a lot of them. The thing Louisville does that people don’t realize is that they wear you out. They might not be getting steals or creating turnovers, but if you look at our best shooters on the team Gaby and Malik, one was 3 or 12 and the other was 4 for 12. They were getting good looks but fatigue became a factor.”

(On coaching against his father)
“I thought it was going to be weird, I really did, but then when you get through the course of the game, you’re worried about the next play you want to run. You’re worried about the next defense you’re going to be in. You’re worried about who you’re going to sub in, so I don’t have time to stare at my dad or wave at him. I have to focus on the game. It was special. I think it was the one time ever that you look down at the [other] bench and you love those guys. I love all those kids. I love the coaches. I certainly love my dad. I love the staff. They’re just such great people. We had such a great time with them, so I’m fortunate for the opportunity to come in and play.”

(On his coaching style being similar to Billy Donovan than his dad’s)
“I think we just coach differently. He’s coached over 800 games, and I’ve coached eight games. We have different styles and different personalities. He is very intense during the game and, if I got that intense, I’d forget where I was. I’m trying to stay calm throughout the course of the game, where he’s trying to fire the guys up. That’s his style. That’s not me. I’m just not that type of coach. We have a lot of similarities, but people compare to a guy who has won over 600 games and been to six Final Fours. Let me get to 10 wins first before we start comparing.”

(On how he would assess some of Louisville’s players’ growth since last year)
“Peyton (Siva) has been - I watch every game - and he’s been so smart this year, whereas in the past he used to make a lot of silly mistakes. You look at him today. He hardly took any bad shots. We were really trying to shut down penetration and he didn’t force it. He shot eight shots and they were eight threes, but that was by design. We didn’t want to let him drive. We basically trapped him when he tried to drive. And he had 12 assists. He knew that it was part of our game plan to try to take him away and certainly he did other things. He’s a smart, smart player. I think he’s the best point guard in the country and besides being the best point guard in the country, the kid is the nicest person in the world. He is such a special, special person. He’s really what college basketball is all about and he deserves success for a long, long time.”

(On how this Louisville team compares to last year’s Final Four team)
“This team is different. I think this team has got more length off the bench, certainly they’ve got a lot of size. They’ve got very good defensive pressure, whereas I didn’t think we were as good last year. We probably had to play a little more zone last year. We were probably a little better shooting team least year, but these guys are so big and so physical - I don’t think we really ever had that last year. Whereas now you’re coming in off the bench with Luke Hancock; who is a great player; Kevin Ware, Montrezl Harrell, Stephan Van Treese - I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody, but that is a really, really deep team. I think the good thing about it for them is they’re always going to bring it defensively. They’re always going to be a good rebounding team so I think you can win with teams like that.”

(On what he and Peyton Siva were talking about on the court - after which Siva hit a couple of threes)
“I don’t that that was anything in reaction to me. I hope people appreciate it, because he is the most special kid out there, and it’s not even close. He is such a flawless person. He is as good of a kid as you’re going to see - forget basketball, that kid is going to be successful in whatever he does and I love him like a brother, I really do. He’s been so great to me, we keep in touch all the time and I know he’s going to be successful.”

(Now that the game is over, what will the Billy Minardi celebration be like?)
“It was really nice ... certainly we didn’t like the way we played, but they’re a very good team. You’ve got to give them all the credit in the world. But with that being said, I think it’s almost like two families coming together with FIU and Louisville. My dad has really embraced our guys - he reaches out to our guys all the time. He treats them almost like they are his own players and I think our guys love it. They’ve gotten to know each other, the players have. It’s almost become like two families, we root each other on. We really do love each other so to be able to do that during the Billy Minardi Classic and to be able to see my whole family, to see my aunt Stephanie and my cousins and all them being able to come here really was unique. I’m glad it worked out that way.”



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