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Rick Pitino, Montrezl Harrell Talk To The Media

Andy Lyons

Rick Pitino


--We're excited to see where we are, because you can't really gauge how good you are until you see yourself against outside competition.

--Happy Osborne'e Kentucky Wesleyan teams have always played us tough, and this game will be especially intriguing because we aren't sure what type of stuff they're going to run.

--Luke Hancock had his last MRI Monday morning and his injury has nearly healed. He won't play in this game, but he'll be back practicing by the end of the week.

--Montrezl Harrell has been the hardest worker and the most vocal leader in practice so far, and that's why he was named a tri-captain. He's a totally different person than he was a season ago. He's not only more vocal now, but I've seen as much improvement in him from freshman to sophomore year as any player I've ever coached.

--Trez brings it every play, and there are very few players like that today.

--Endorsed Happy Osborne when he was originally a candidate for the Kentucky Wesleyan job.

--Tim Henderson was starting for a while in practice, but he's been out a little while with a badly jammed finger. Not sure if he's going to play in the game Tuesday night.

--We're going to play this like a regular game, because we have to get ready for Charleston. The Red-White scrimmages are over.

--Anytime you win three conference tournament titles and go to three Final Fours in three years, I think it's right to call it a mini-dynasty. No one has done that since UCLA in 1967. Now is that probable? No, but that's still our goal.

--There are a lot of talented teams out there this season. I think there are probably 15 teams out there that could win it all.

--We're about a week or two behind in our preseason preparation because of all the guys we've been missing. We haven't had Kevin Ware, Luke Hancock or Chane Behanan, and Russ Smith has missed a lot of time with little nagging injuries.

--Chris Jones was in a walking boot, but they do that whenever you have any little injury. He's fine and will play in the game Tuesday.

--Kevin Ware has been doing individual instruction for the first time the last two days and will probably practice for the first time by the end of this week. He's been looking good. I don't think the mental aspect is going to bother Kevin that much, and he's ready to get out there. His leg is healed, it's as good as my leg or your leg.

--Mangok is a lot like Gorgui was as a freshman, but I keep telling him we're looking to replace Gorgui the junior, not Gorgui the freshman. We're hoping Mangok and Van Treese can be a solid combination at the five.

--Stephan Van Treese has really improved. His jump shot is a lot better and I'm making him run on the treadmill every time he passes up a shot. He hasn't had to run that much.

--It's so great for Akoy Agau to go against Montrezl Harrell in practice because he's getting his ass kicked every day and it's making him a better player. It's just like Kyle Kuric when he had to go against T-Will every day.

--These guys are fierce competitors, and sometimes we have to get them to tone it down so they don't foul.

--Thought about redshirting Tim Henderson at one point, but he wanted to go out with Luke and Stephan, because they go out together every night.

--Every pro scout that has come in to see Russ has remarked about how much he's changed. We've had a pro scout almost every day in practice, and that's helped him limit some of the ridiculous things he used to do. The scouts love Montrezl.

--Nobody questions Russ Smith's ability, they question his ability to make the right decision when he's in the game as a reserve at the next level. He just has to cut down on his bad shots, keep making his good shots, and keep being the winner that he is.

--Montrezl Harrell is extremely improved, but the only thing that is worrisome is that he's not going up against any competition in practice.

--Terry Rozier is a great player to coach. He's the only guy on the team who has brought a professional effort every day, and that includes Montrezl.

--This team is a little high-maintenance because they're so competitive.

--Our basketball IQ will go way up when Luke Hancock comes back because he knows the game better than anyone on the team. Peyton and Gorgui were that way too, but we haven't had that so far this year.

--I have no idea when Chane is coming back, but I'm really, really pleased with what he's been doing because he's changing his life for the better. There were things that he needed to fix and he's doing that. There are a lot of positives coming out of this. He's always been good for the team, but these changes are going to be good for him. I'm totally pleased with everything that's going on in his life right now.

Montrezl Harrell


--Found out that he'd been named a captain before practice yesterday. Was a little bit surprised when he first found out just because there are a number of older guys on the team.

--It's an honor for me because there are guys who have been here longer than me who could have been named captain. Everybody wants to be a leader at some point in their career.

--The biggest key to improving his jump shot has been balance. He's so much more confident in his jump shot than he was last year. Not expecting to shoot a lot more than last year, but he's not going to pass up a lot of the open looks he had as a freshman.

--I'll take a three if it's open, but I'm definitely not going to be out there hunting for threes.