Rick Pitino postgame quotes

From U of L:

(Opening Statement)
"Great way for Preston Knowles to go out. I've seen guys make a lot of hustle and great plays this year, but that play by Peyton Siva was as good of a play I've seen as a coach. Dive head first, come up with the ball and make a perfect pass. You'll see he's got a tremendous gash, but that was incredible. I'm really proud of our guys. We started slow in the game, but we ended great. A lot of spectacular plays, a lot of unselfish plays again with 21 assists. I'm really proud of our seniors. Sometimes you miss coaching players like this and they kind of restore your faith in everything you believe in as a coach, this team. It was wonderful to coach them this year. I owe them a great debt of thanks because it was a really wonderful, wonderful season."

(On if he had lost faith through the season)
"No, I told them last year we wanted to rebrand ourselves. I think if you're out of place long enough, if you don't rebrand, it becomes a stale brand. That's all I wanted to do was rebrand it a little bit and get a certain style back. Make sure that we all understand why we're here, why we're playing the game. It's tough, the younger generation today, it's tough. You can even see it at the NBA level, guys not showing up to walk-throughs. It permeates everywhere in our society. You see business schools get dropped from number one to the seven, eight spot, graduate level because - I don't want to mention who they are - of the arrogance of thinking they're No. 1. It's everywhere. This team restores the faith of everything you believe in as a coach."

(On the double bye in the BIG EAST tournament)
"The most important thing for us, and I thought it was possible, but I thought it was a real long shot, was to win all six segments. You've been hearing it all year, and we won it tonight. So besides a double bye, I'm really proud of the team. I didn't care if we got a double bye, it didn't mean a whole lot to me. The six segments really means a whole lot to me. We never lost two in a row in a very difficult conference. We played very entertaining basketball, very exciting basketball with a lot of character. Now, we have our chance for our first sweep (of a segment) and it's going to take a mountainous effort. We've been there before in our last game of the season, but it's going to take a big effort to do it. There's not any team I would have more faith in than this team going into any environment."

(On Marshon Brooks)
"We did a really good job in the first half against him. In the second half, we allowed him to step away from the basket and get some 3s, even though they were quite long. We were going to make up our mind tonight we were not going to let him breathe."

(On Kyle Kuric)
"He missed his shots and the good thing about it is he drove and got some offensive rebounds. That's the thing we want. I thought that everybody really played well. Our three wasn't going so we did other things. We started slow and had to catch up. Sometimes the emotion of `Senior Night' makes you start slow, I've seen it before. We held them to seven assists in the game, which is big, and we had 21. [We] shot a good percentage and played good defense. It's a great night, great season as a whole."

(On Louisville's defense)
"It's a little more difficult with this team because it's a transition team. You can't really choreograph your defense to where they're going. Gorgui [Dieng] gave us a big lift in the second half of blocking people around the basket, missing easy shots, which we didn't in the first half. Before the game we talked about what makes us successful. What makes us successful is these guys understanding what the other team is going to run. We're not a very good defensive team, none of our guys can stop you. Collectively, and the same thing is true on offense, they move together and take away what the other team does extremely well. They're willing to talk, sacrifice, pay attention. These guys put a lot of work into that. Our coaches have done a fabulous job this year preparing them. We did a terrific job on offense of using each other because we're not a break down one on one team. You have got to use each other. Our pick and rolls were great this year, I thought Peyton [Siva] did a fabulous job of finding people. We improved a lot as the season went along."

(On the BIG EAST Tournament)
"I look at it this way--If I had to pick a team that I want to play, in the BIG EAST tournament, they would be from a different conference [laughs]. I don't know who I'd want to play. Somebody said, `[You] could get Syracuse', and I said, `Geez, I don't want to play Syracuse.' They said, `Well, you could get Notre Dame.' I said, `I don't want to get Notre Dame.' They said, `You could get Pitt again.' I said, `I don't want Pitt, give me someone else.' That's the way you look at the BIG EAST. You just play the game. (Mention of St. John's from the crowd) St. John's has a favorable schedule obviously. I always look at, as I break down the tournament, I always look at how many seniors they have, how talented are the seniors. The young players, want they don't understand about the NCAA is, they think it's their time to perform. They get caught up with performing rather than winning. That's why I like experience. It's a matter of having the right players who really want to understand. Last year, indicative of the Cal game, we had a good group of guys, but they didn't understand what Cal would do. This team will understand. They could get beat, but they'll understand what their opposition is going to do."

(On if his relationship with Preston Knowles has been up and down)
"Up and down? It has never been up and down at all. It's been a love affair since the first day he's come. Has he been in trouble academically, and have I had to discipline him in certain areas? Yes. That's like saying you're a parent and you've had an up and down childhood with your child because you've had to discipline him. If you love someone, you discipline them. Certainly, it's been anything but up and down. It's always been up, but like a parent, you have to discipline kids. The ones that don't discipline kids are the ones that don't love the children. Discipline is a big, big part of love."

(On the chance he took taking Preston Knowles)
"I did because of Charles Givens [Knowles' AAU Coach]. I've known Charles a long time; he was a friend of mine in Lexington. He's probably the only Louisville fan in Lexington. He said to me, `Coach, I'll vouch for him.' I've told this story many times. I called all types of coaches and they said I was crazy. When he went in, he just had a fire in his belly, it was noticeable. He said some things to me, and I thought we were taking a big risk on him, but when you've got fire in the belly, I'd much rather coach a Preston Knowles than anybody else. He's been great. Great freshman year, great sophomore year, his junior year he was hampered by his thumb. It's been really fun to coach him because when he steps between the lines every single day, he gives it, but he gives it more importantly for the right reasons. He gives it for Louisville."

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