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Rick Pitino Talks Western Kentucky

Video available from the C-J.


--Christmas is his favorite time of the year - both personally and from a basketball standpoint - because the lack of academic pressure gives us a chance to work on so many things.

--Things are going very well for us both with recruiting and academically. Fourteen of our 17 players achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better, that's the most in program history.

--Kyle Kuric was one of the three players who did not get a 3.0 or better.

--"You believe in trap games, we don't. Trap games are when you think you’re a great basketball team, and you’re full of yourself and you're looking down the road. The one thing that’s been good about this basketball team since we rebranded ourselves and put Louisville first is that we haven’t played that way. We fully understand that anybody can beat us on a given night."

--If we get beat it's not going to be because we're looking ahead.

--When we moved Russ to the two guard he became a completely different player. He stopped thinking and just started playing. Now when he does have to play point, his mind is cleared and he just goes out and plays hard. The move has brought out the best in him.

--We've been working very hard on our zone offense, because a lot of teams coming up on the schedule play zone.

--Thinks too many guys are leaving their feet early and not closing out well enough. Still, when he watched the Charleston tape he was impressed by how many contested outside shots they made.

--We rebranded when T-Will and Earl left. We wanted to recruit players who are unselfish and play for the name on the front of the jersey, and that's what we've been doing and preaching over and over. The people we're recruiting are all the same way and we're very excited about the people we have coming in down the road.

--This wasn't just a brand that we made up. "We're all in on it."

--The new Louisville First players have egos, but they're good egos. They're egos for the right reasons and they're playing hard for the right reasons. They get credit from winning, not from their statistics.

--"We won't deal with this game any different than Georgetown or Kentucky. We'll try to take away their strenghts and exploit their weaknesses."

--You never know how a team is going to play against you on a given night, and that's the great thing about basketball. It's also why you have to approach every game the same way.

--You don't lose anything when you substitute Rock for Chane and vice-versa. Obviously that's not the case when Gorgui comes out. Thinks Kevin Ware will get to that point when he comes in for Peyton. When Chris comes out and Russ comes in, we don't lose anything.

--We take great pride in playing Western. Western is a program filled with great tradition. They're rebuilding and playing some tough teams right now, which is where we thought we were going to be last year.

--Loves playing in-state teams. It's great for the state and it's great for in-state fans.

--Every opposing coach makes a remark about how amazing the arena is when they talk before the start of the game.

--The fact that we had a sellout crowd on a Tuesday night at 9 p.m. for a Christmas break game against a team that a lot of people didn't know about is amazing. It was an awesome crowd, and we don't win that game if not for the crowd. We have one of the best sixth-men in basketball (the crowd), and they really willed us to victory on Tuesday. Freedom Hall was great, but the Yum crowd has provided a tremendous advantage.

--Hasn't ever had as much fun coaching basketball as he had these past two years. "I feel like I can go to 90...obviously, I can't, but it's so much fun coaching these guys that you can't wait to get to practice every day."

--"Practice is not supposed to be this much fun."