Rick Pitino Press Conference Notes

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--Wishes a happy 52nd birthday to Kenny Klein.

--Peyton Siva is still not ready to come back. He will not play on Tuesday against Arkansas State. Even when he does come back, he's not going to look very good because he's missed so much practice. Hopes that he will be able to practice on Thursday and then play against Ohio on Friday.

--Rakeem Buckles will take his next (physical) test on Wednesday and we're hoping that he will be able to practice on Thursday.

--Trying to keep Wayne Blackshear in some semblance of shape. When he gets out of his sling he'll be able to run some more.

--Arkansas State has been very competitive in all their games. They have a solid front court and a very good backcourt.

--Look at all the upsets already all over the country. It can happen to anyone on any given night. We could lose to anybody on our schedule from this point on.

--Ohio U. will be a very tough test. They're very difficult to prepare for. If you ever get a chance to watch them on TV, check out their band. Their band is extremely entertaining. But they're also an outstanding basketball team, and each of the next three games are going to be very challenging.

--Our three seniors - Jared, Kyle and Chris - really stepped up in a difficult road environment, and that's what you'd expect from them.

--Jared Swopshire is probably playing the best basketball on the team, and that's a great surprise to all of us. We didn't know if he'd even play this year, and the way he's played so far is very exciting for us.

--Trying to play Stephan Van Treese a little bit more each game until he gets built back up into game shape.

--Thinks it'll take Rock about two weeks once he's cleared to be ready to play in games. The mental aspect will be the biggest hurdle for him. You feel that brace when you're wearing it.

--Playing Russ at the point was a necessity. You don't want your point guard to have four turnovers and no assists, but it was still a good experience. In case we ever need him to backup Peyton, he's there. He did a very good job in that game, but he just doesn't have the mentality of the point guard. Elisha Justice does. Still, it was definitely a good experience for Russ.

--If ever we needed a long home stand, it's now because we're getting a lot of guys back who are way out of playing shape. Zach Price and Angel Nunez are like Otis George and Larry O'Bannon in that they're both going to be very good, just until their junior and senior seasons.

--Chane Behanan is physically ready, but he's still learning the game mentally and making a lot of mental mistakes right now.

--Kyle Kuric is now more than just a spot-up shooter now and that's big for this team.

--Our system is very difficult to pick up, which is why it would have been very difficult for Wayne Blackshear to beat out Chris Smith or Kyle Kuric for a starting spot even if he was healthy. Chris knows the game and he's doing a very good job. He'll step up when the game is on the line and we're on the road.

--The Butler game was about as much fun as Pitino has ever had as a coach in a road game.

--When Rock comes back we'll be able to move Swop to the three a little to back up Kyle. Right now, nobody is really backing up Kyle.

--It's very difficult to project where this team is going to be in February. There's no way to know how good Wayne Blackshear or Kevin Ware are going to be at the college level. You don't know how Rock's going to be. There are so many unknowns.

--There's no question Ohio U. can beat Louisville.

--Wayne Blackshear is coming off two major surgeries and hasn't played basketball in seven and-a-half months. Who knows how good he can be by the end of the season.

--Rock will take the least amount of time of anyone to get back into the flow of things because he's so mentally tough. Even though he's from Miami, "his mother works in a prison and his father's a tough dude."

--Swop's not a tough kid, but not a lot phases him. He's a different type of kid. Very spiritual. Feels like he'll let the lord down if he doesn't play to the best of his ability.

--Gorgui's not a tough kid, but the more strength and size he gains the tougher he's going to become.

--Rock's a tough kid. Chris Smith's a tough kid. Kyle, believe it or not-- "Evansville is not Compton, but Kyle is a tough kid."

--Russ is a very tough kid. One day at practice Chris was trying to bully Russ, and Russ said, "you're messing with the wrong guy, you're not going to back me down." Russ isn't going to back down to anyone, even though he's only 165-pounds.

--To get Mark Jackson Jr. in the shape he wants him to be, they're having a contest to see who can lose 20 pounds first. Pitino is 182-pounds right now, which means he'll have to get to 162 to win. He hasn't been that weight since 8th grade. It's been going on two years to try and get this kid into shape, and this is what it's taken. "If I look sick, it's because I will be sick because I'm 162 pounds."

--Mark wants to play, but he's going to get hurt if he plays and he's not in shape. Now he's competing against me, and the motivation should be not to lose to a 59-year-old man. I think I'll win, but I hope he wins soon.

--Having coaches in shape is very important because you can't demand players to be in shape if you're not. Has made several deals with coaches involving weight loss. They all gain it back after they get away from me. Scotty D has put a lot of that weight back on. That's what happens when you win a national championship.

--Knows Jared Swopshire is in pain. He went through the same injury Taquan had, and it's one that lingers.

--Before a game, Swop goes through a two-hour routine to prepare himself for that game. That's before the initial warm-up. Not many guys would do that.

--Would be foolish for anyone to expect Kevin Ware to come in and be better than Bullet or even Tim Henderson, because he doesn't know anything that we do.

--Chane has to improve his balance and he's got to stop bringing the ball down in the post. He also needs to learn how to absorb a scouting report.

--Outwardly, Wayne Blackshear is great. Everyone on the team loves him. Inwardly, I'm sure he's struggling and frustrated with not being able to play.

--Doesn't think Russ is a burst of energy. People think that because he comes in trying to score. When Peyton comes back he'll be a burst of energy off the bench.

--Just watched a tape of Marquette and is extremely impressed. Defensively, they look they're already in February form. Syracuse is also very impressive. Those two and North Carolina and Kentucky are the best of the teams he's seen so far. Marquette deserves a much better ranking. There's no doubt in his mind that they're a top ten team.

--Studied Marquette today and picked up two things that he really liked. That's why coaches are so great today, because of the technology. You can study any game or any technique you want because every game is on TV. Because of that, today it's all about getting talent and developing talent. It's all about talented players with great work ethics.

--(Asked about he and son Richard standing at the same time at various points throughout the Butler game) "That little shit has to sit down...Make sure you don't air that now."

--Richard is a brilliant young mind right now. He's much better than I was at his age. He's done a tremendous job with scouting. Blown away by how much he's grown since going to Florida for those two years under Billy Donovan.

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