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Rick Pitino Press Conference Highlights


--Had planned on attending the Marshall County Hoopfest tonight to do some recruiting, but the weather changed those plans.

--It's still not as bad here as it is for Richard in Minnesota. I was talking to him the other day and the low was minus 14 and the high was 1.

--We're going to play good competition from this point on, and it starts tomorrow with Louisiana-Lafayette. If you want to know how good they are, all you need to do is look at the 19 NBA scouts coming in tomorrow. They're not coming in to see us, they're coming in to see their two guys.

--Lafayette is extremely long and talented. They're going to be a great challenge for us, and we need it.

--Lafayette does a great job of taking advantage of the new rules and driving straight to the basket. They're great in transition and they'll be a great test for us since we've struggled so much on defense recently.

--The film from Tuesday night wasn't actually as bad as I thought it'd be. Sometimes I think it's just tough to play with a 20-25 point lead. You let your guard down a little bit, and that's what we did in the second half.

--Part of our problem on defense is not having Gorgui back there to erase mistakes. The bigger problem is we're not rotating well. With the new rules, guys are going to get beat off the dribble more, we just have to do a better job of rotating when that happens.

--We had a great practice yesterday. We're starting to communicate better. We know we're going to have to defend better to beat the teams we have coming up.

--In my opinion, Russ is the premier player in college basketball. i know other guys are getting a lot of attention, and they deserve it, but to me, until you dethrone Louisville, Russ Smith is the premier player in college basketball. He's earned it on the court with two years of Final Four play and Big East championships. If I was voting for the Wooden Award, I'd give it to Russ Smith right now. Am I biased? Absolutely. But to me, you have to dethrone him before you can talk about other people.

--Montrezl has been very disappointing in moving his feet and blocking shots this year. We've asked him to assume a new role and he's still working on it.

--Whatever you ask Russ to do, he masters it. The only thing I want to see more of from Russ is not passing up scoring opportunities when he's 1-on-1. You don't want him to lose that, because he's going to score in that situation 80% of the time.

--We're going up against a team tomorrow that is every bit our equal athletically. They have two legitimate pro prospects, but it's not just those guys, they're just a good basketball team.

--This basketball team is not the most cerebral group. The effort's great. It's the rotations that are not great. Our bigs are not blocking shots, and they need to block shots with the new rules.

--Teddy Bridgewater has had a great career at Louisville, and those two plays last night couldn't have been a regular season capper. It was incredible.

--Lafayette has pro talent, which is something we haven't seen from teams like Hofstra and Cornell and Fairfield. Offensively, they're a very potent team, so this should be a very fun game.

--We played a great game against Southern Miss and I thought we'd take that performance and take off, and we did not. We don't have a very mature team. They're more focused on talking trash than getting better. That's the stuff you expect to see in AAU ball, not when you're attempting to defend a national championship. They're really good guys, they're just not a mature group.

--We had the best practice of the season yesterday. They knew I was displeased with the game Tuesday. They communicated really well during practice yesterday.

--I've tried to calm down and stop using bad language in recent years, which is why I didn't go into the locker room Tuesday. Then Kevin Keatts goes in there and goes absolutely ballistic, using language that made me blush. I told him he needed to go to church for five straight days.

--Peyton's not coming back, neither is Gorgui, so we don't have that maturity. I thought Luke would have taken more control of this basketball team, but I think that hasn't happened yet because he's been hurt.

--I think we're a pretty good offensive basketball team, but we're still so incomplete right now. We'll know more tomorrow.

--We've got to get more from Wayne Blackshear. He can't be a ghost on the backboard. We need him to get rebounds and we need him to get steals. Wayne's one of the nicest young men I've ever had the privilege of coaching, but he's got to change his personality and get mean when he steps over that line.