Rick Pitino Talks Temple, Fan Behavior And Long Layoffs

Tyler Kaufman-US PRESSWIRE

Highlights:

--It's difficult to have an 8-day layoff at this point in the season, but with Wayne Blackshear recovering from a concussion, it wasn't the worst thing this time. The first time I think the opponent was the reason we lost the game, not the fact that we hadn't played in eight days.

--(On AAC teams being 0-8 after layoffs of six days or more) That's not good. I don't like that stat. I was hoping you would say three or four games, but percentages are in our favor to change it, I hope.

--We're going into a snowstorm, so we'll probably have to stay up there an extra day.

--Wayne has been fine this week. Having him back is big in this game because (Temple) plays Pepper at the four spot.

--We'll go back to that small lineup with Wayne at the four, Luke at the three and Montrezl at the five. We probably won't start out with it against Temple, but we'll use it.

--Temple is a very dangerous offensive basketball team. I don't think there's another team in the country with four 14 point per game plus scorers on their roster. They could put a lot of points up on the board.

--We're working very hard at improving on defense, but what hurts us is we don't have a lot of shot blocking. The new rules make having a shot blocker really important, so we've been working hard on ball containment and rotations.

--Cincinnati losing means the conference race has tightened up. We have some really tough road games in the last few weeks, so it's going to be a really exciting end to the season.

--This team never looks by an opponent, they're always focused and they take care of their preparation for the one game ahead. It's one of our strong suits.

--Fran Dunphy is one of the premier coaches in our game. They run a lot of good things and we have to be ready.

--Temple had a key injury that was like us losing Russ Smith, but they're still very dangerous on offense.

--A lot of NBA scouts that I trust have told me that Chris Jones has got to drop weight. He can't be 5'9 and 185 pounds. He needs to lose 10-15 pounds if he wants to be Russ Smith fast. It's not the working out or the running that's his problem, it's his eating.

--Video edits can be deceiving so we do watch some full game film of opponents so that our guys can see their weaknesses as well as their strengths. Our team is focused in that area, they respect everybody. They also know that we have our deficiencies in size and that we have to play a certain way, or we're gonna get beat.

--Objectively speaking, I would not put our team among the elite right now. We don't have shot-blocking and we don't have great size. That being said, we could be there with anybody at the end, if we get the right matchups. If we go against big teams, our style of play really has to work. Do I think we're an elite team? Yeah I do. But if we go against other elite teams with great size, we really struggle with that.

--We're trying to get more out of Stephan Van Treese. Mangok is Mangok. He's a freshman who needs to put on weight, so it has to be Stephan Van Treese who uses his strength to keep an opposing center from dominating us.

--I need more out of Stephan. I need more rebounding out of him on the defensive end. Montrezl is a good rebounder, but he's not putting up numbers on the defensive end. The rebounding problem isn't Montrezl and Stephan, it's that Luke and Russ aren't helping out enough.

--People out there are saying that Wichita State hasn't been tested, and that's not true. They went to the Final Four last season and pretty much have the same team back, so they've proven it. They beat a lot of good teams in the NCAA Tournament and they're one year wiser and better. They're unquestionably a contender.

--(On the Marcus Smart situation) It's a good lesson for him. I don't want to say it could never happen here because it's a heat of the moment thing, but I don't think any of our guys would do that. We don't lose our cool or kick chairs, I haven't see that stuff in my 12 years here.

--When it comes to fan taunting, I always tell my players that I've heard worse things than they'll hear in my 39 years and that all you can do is turn the other cheek and get the victory, and that's your solace. If you get the loss, then it hurts. Fans can be very abusive, and I think it's been getting worse and worse every year. That's a grown man (at Texas Tech) yelling at someone, "you're a piece of crap." Come on. To me, that's much worse than being pushed. A grown man yelling that at a person you don't even know when you're two feet away from him. Both things are very wrong.

--I don't think fan hostility is that big of an issue. You hear it from the student body of all-time. They think it's funny. It used to be funny, but today there's nothing humorous about some of the things that are chanted. It's taken on a whole new life.

--(On if he'll need thicker skin for the ACC) What I've been through over the last four or five years, what's been yelled at me, I'm a rhinoceros. We've been to hostile places before. Kentucky is as dominating a home court advantage as any in college basketball. They're on top of you and they're all wearing the same color. I don't think anything is going to be more hostile than that. We've also been to places like Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Syracuse in front of 26,000 or 27,000 people, we've heard every student section chant imaginable.

--The greatest thing about Louisville is it's a visiting team's dream. When they announce the other teams and the coach, they clap. The only time they've been upset in the past five years -- I'm told, I didn't see it -- was when Josh Pastner got them riled up after the game this year. Other than that, this place is a visiting team's dream. I don't think it needs to be changed, I think it's great. It's a professional environment. Our fans aren't worried about they players or coaches on the other team, they're worried about their next Maker's Mark.

--(On Ryan Pitino wearing the chicken suit at the Minnesota game) When he told me he was going to do that, I expected him to sit in the section with the other people wearing animal costumes, not my section. So he came up, and I said, "You're gonna sit here?" And he said, "yeah, you have a problem with that?" And I said, "yeah, you're in a chicken suit." So I just looked the other way the whole time like I didn't know him. Next thing I know all these national writers are tweeting me asking me if the chicken is my son, and I say yes. Then I try to make him look good and tell them a lie by saying he lost a bet. This is a very high-profile, responsible investor of money on Wall Street...in a chicken suit.

Full video available here.

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