Rick Pitino Wraps Up 2013-14 Season, Looks Ahead To 2014-15

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Video available via the C-J

Highlights:

--Met with all the players for an exit meeting earlier today and now is ready to go enjoy life a little bit and root the Gophers on in New York City.

--Every year I'm in it, I think the NCAA Tournament gets more exciting. It's by far the greatest month of the sports year. No one knows who's going to win, but it's a game of matchups. Kudos to Kentucky and Florida and Wisconsin and UConn. I was very happy to see Bo Ryan get to the Final Four.

--I was really pleased with this year. What you hope as a coach is that the players play up to their potential, and our team did that all season long. They took no one lightly, they respected everyone, and they played their butts off on every possession. Was very happy to see us win a conference championship and make the Sweet 16, and I thought we played a great game against a Kentucky team that poses a matchup problem for everyone.

--As far as Montrezl's future is concerned, we're going to wait and see who comes out. My advice to Montrezl is just to relax, enjoy the two years he's had here, and wait and see how this plays out. If a lot of guys come out and he slips to the 20s, then he's going to be drafted by a good team. If you're drafted by a good team, you don't play that much. if you don't play that much, you don't get any great stats to improve your next contract. If it does look like he'll be drafted somewhere from 10-17, then obviously that's something he'll have to strongly consider. If it looks like he's going to be lower, then maybe he should come back and try to be a top 10 pick. At the end of the day, it's his decision and I won't get involved with it. The only thing I'll do is talk to the people I know in the NBA and tell him what they're saying.

--NBA people talk about length so much, and Montrezl has that, which could make him a very high pick.

--I think we're going to be very good with or without Montrezl next season. Obviously, we'd be better with him because of the experience he would bring back, but we're going to be good because our backcourt is good and our frontcourt is going to improve. We have a lot of unknowns with the big guys we're bringing in.

--We played the No. 1 or No. 2 toughest schedule in the country a couple of times when we were in the Big East, but I think this (next year) could be the toughest schedule we've ever played.

--There are a lot of teams in the ACC that I don't know all that well. It's a league, like the Big East was, of dynamite coaches. Anytime you're in a league with Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, Miami and everyone, it's going to be incredible, especially for the fans.

--We may entertain adding a fifth-year guy, but we don't plan on anyone else leaving.

--I'm going to take my time in hiring the new assistant. We're going to have a very young team, so I want to make sure I hire a great teacher. Kevin Keatts impacted our program in a big way. He's grown a lot and will do a great job at Wilmington. Mike Balado is also being considered for a head coaching job. I just want to make sure I take my time in hiring this new assistant.

--Mangok is going to have the same improvement that Gorgui had. He's going to get better in all facets.

--The only player I've had over the last four years that hasn't had substantial improvement is Wayne Blackshear. If you asked me to rate him on a 10 star scale as a person, I'd give him an 11. But I told Wayne yesterday when I met with the players that you reap what you sow in this game. Now he'll show up for practice with me and he'll give me 100 percent, but I told him, 'son, that's not what our players do here.' The Luke Hancocks, the Russ Smiths, the Gorgui Diengs, they get in early, they stay late, they come in after, and you're not doing that. So we have to turn over a whole new leaf. I said from this point on, I want you to text me every single day what you're putting into each day. Because he's got to, for his own sake, understand that the world will pass him by if he doesn't start living in that gym. He's a great kid and he deserves a great senior year. I'm hoping he has the same type of senior year that Larry O'Bannon did.

--If Wayne doesn't get driven then Shaqquan Aaron is gonna come in here and bust his tail, I can tell you that right now, because that young man can flat out play.

--There will be no restrictions on where Kevin Ware can go. Kevin is a very big part of our family, and he wants to be closer to home. He's had a tough time with his leg. He tried to make a comeback twice, but now, finally, I think he's 100 percent healthy. He wants me to closer to his mom and sisters, who have gone through some tough times, and he has our full blessing.

--We think we have something special with our backcourt. If your backcourt is strong then you have a chance. Look at Connecticut. They had an elite backcourt and then their other players like Giffey and Daniels got better. Anton Gill is a much better player than you guys have seen, and he'll blossom. I just don't know what to expect from the freshman class.

--Wayne has enjoyed college, and he's a terrific young man, but it's time for him to start getting serious about this. I asked him about the future and he joked that he was "on a 1 day contract." I said it's time to start thinking about a six month contract. It's his time now, and I believe he can do it.

--I think it'll be a leadership by committee next season. Wayne will have to lead. Montrezl would have been the natural choice because he leads by intimidation, so he'll be the natural choice if he comes back. Chris Jones has also come a long way as a person. He's one of the most enjoyable guys we have away from the lines. Between the lines, he's very emotional at times and you've got to get him to control that. Chris really struggled with his free-throws at the beginning of the season, and by the end of the year he was shooting 77 percent. That was all work.

--Chris will be more consistent next season. I think you'll see great growth.

--Terry had an average year for a freshman, and I think you'll see him have a tremendous sophomore season.

--Akoy Agau has very great talent, and you don't get to see because you're not at practice. His thing was he was so intimidated every single day at practice by Montrezl Harrell. He's going to really blossom if Montrezl leaves. If Montrezl stays, he's probably going to commit suicide.

--If Luke Hancock was a little better defensively, he could have a great pro career, and that's something he can work on. Look at that baseline drive he had where he finished with the dunk. He's so methodical that no one gives him credit for being a great athlete. I'm going to meet with him later today to talk about what the future holds. I think he'll give the NBA a shot, but I've already told him that if that doesn't work, don't go to Europe, stay here and go into business in Louisville.

--The only reason to go overseas is to accumulate wealth and bring it back. That's what Larry O'Bannon has done, but there are very few Larry O'Bannons that can be disciplined enough to do that. Once you go over there, every year you're there, you're out of sight, out of mind, and it hurts your future business career. If you're going over there and making sixty or seventy thousand dollars a year, then you're better off staying here and starting a career in business.

--I don't think Russ Smith will be drafted in the first round. It all depends on his workouts. I think Russ will make the NBA, but he has to not worry about where he's drafted. He may make it into the late first round if his workouts go really well, but people are always looking for bigs in the first round. This is a very deep draft with a lot of unknowns.

--We're going to start working out today. We won't get the new guys for the first semester of summer school, but we'll get them in early. The biggest adjustment for the new guys will be getting them into shape. That won't be an issue for Shaqquan. For Quentin, there will be a big adjustment defensively, but not offensively.

--I've never had two 7-footers on the same team. It'll be interesting to see how all these big guys compete in practice.

--I have someone in mind for the new assistant coach, but I don't think I'm going to be able to talk him out what he's doing. It's someone I know very well. He has the same color hair as Rick (Bozich).

--Some freshmen get it right away, and some don't. This is a top five recruiting class, but you just never know.

--We don't want to stop this run we're on. I've been on a run like this once before, and I don't want it to stop, so we've got to get these guys ready for his schedule right away.

--Kentucky has grown in so many areas. We played a great game, and they beat us. We played about as well as we could play, with the exception of our free-throws.

--Anything can happen with Napier in the game. He's a Kemba Walker-type guard. I'll be rooting for Florida because my sixth son is their coach.

--Mangok's going to get great competition this year, and that's going to make him better, because he's a fierce competitor.

--If you look on paper, you're not going to be overly impressed with them, but I'm bullish on this team because they have a lot of pride. Chris Jones and Terry Rozier take great pride in what they do. We've just got to get Wayne going. We've got to get him handling the ball better and being what I call a "bully guard" or "bully wing." He's got to get to the basket and get to the line.

--We've got one more thing to accomplish this year, and that's getting our women back to the Final Four. I would certainly be there on Tuesday if my son wouldn't disown me. Jeff Wals is doing a tremendous job, and we're very lucky to have him, so I hope you'll all go out and support them on Tuesday.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Card Chronicle

You must be a member of Card Chronicle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Card Chronicle. You should read them.

Join Card Chronicle

You must be a member of Card Chronicle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Card Chronicle. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker