Rick Pitino Talks Blackshear, West Virginia And Big East Expansion

Rick Pitino

--Wayne Blackshear is physially healthy, but he's still completely out of shape. Was hoping to have him ready to play by the DePaul game, but getting him back into shape has proven harder than he thought it would be.

--The schedule in the Big East usually dictates where teams struggle and where they have success, and that's what we've seen with West Virginia this year. They're a very good team that has lost some games recently to other good teams.

--Kevin Jones is the best offensive rebounder in the country. He has a tremendous mid-range game and can also make the three. He's very long and will present a number of problems for us. Notre Dame held him in check by slowing the game down and limiting his touches.

--Deniz Kilicili's hook shot is very good and very difficult to defend.

--This will probably be the last time we go to Morgantown. It's a very difficult place to play, but we've always enjoyed going into hostile environments.

--They really need this game, but that's something we're going to hear just about every game for the rest of the season.

--Kyle always leads by example, he's not a vocal leader. The vocal stuff is left more to Peyton Siva.

--Hasn't seen any difference in this team from when they were 12-0, to when they were on the brief losing streak, to now.

--We're winning now because we've been able to keep a healthy team and practice together consistently. The players are all improving because of the increased practice time. We've also done a much better job from the free-throw line.

--Very excited about the addition of Memphis to the Big East. It really helps the rivalry with Louisville. They fit the culture of the Big East. They're an inner-city sports program with a focus on basketball.

--The Big East is going to be different, but it's still going to be great.

--Always thought Memphis and Temple were the two logical additions to help the Big East, and he still thinks that.

--John Marinatto has done a tremendous job getting the football schools out West and now strengthening the conference from a basketball standpoint.

--Admires South Florida for being selfless and allowing UCF to come in and strengthen the league.

--Can't say anything about Louisville's future in the Big East, because he knows it's not up to him. Obviously, he's a Big East guy and he would prefer to stay in the Big East and honor Dave Gavitt's dream, but he knows he doesn't have a say.

--Has never been asked a question by a recruit about Louisville's conference affiliation, and none of the assistants have either. That's the wild thing.

--"Loyalty means a great deal to me, and the Big East gave Louisville a monumental opportunity." Louisville is a top eight basketball program without question, but the big thing they were missing before was a major conference affiliation. The Big East changed all that.

--Really likes the way we're playing, the way we're practicing and how much fun the guys are having right now. We went double sessions yesterday and no one was tired, and that's all because of the attitudes of our players.

--We have seven really tough games left, but we're playing very good basketball right now. We still need to work on our rebounding, and cut down on our turnovers. The turnovers we're making aren't good turnovers, they're unforced turnovers.

--We all see Russ as a funny, jovial guy, but he's a tough kid. He grew up in a tough environment, but even though he's 160-165 lbs, he's very tough.

--Peyton Siva is one of the nicest guys he's ever coached. Kyle is a tremendous person, Gorgui is so much fun to be around, so is Swop...all 13 are terrific guys and coaching them is so fun.

--Ends by saying, "see you in Morgantown for those not afraid to come."

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