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Rick Pitino/Kevin Ware Press Conference Notes


Rick Pitino

--Thinks this story is getting more national attention than a basic ACL tear or something because of the emotion everyone saw from Kevin and his teammates, as well as Kevin's selflessness after the injury.

--Wichita State is a fantastic basketball team that is playing really well. They are a terrific defensive team. There are four teams left that are playing terrific basketball, and they all four have an equal chance to win a national championship.

--A few years ago we went with the "Louisville first" brand, and I don't think anything has ever embodied that motto than what we've seen with Kevin's injury and also the way his teammates have responded.

--Just having Kevin around and being able to joke with him has allowed all of us to exhale a little bit.

--I think the coolest thing that has happened to Kevin has been Michelle Obama reaching out to him. When I heard that I told Kevin, "you're the coolest person in Louisville." The President is pretty cool, but Michelle Obama, that's big time.

--There were times during this run when we brought Kevin Ware into the game and we gained more than we lost. So losing him really hurts.

--Tim Henderson is not Kevin Ware. He's going to come in and play some minutes and do a good job, but there's no substitution for Kevin Ware. The only way we can make up for his absence is for everybody else to make better. So I've told Wayne I need more out of him and I've told Chane I need more of him.

--Kevin has gone from a quiet, unsure man to a very mature man. In the last month he's come out of his shell and taken on a leadership role. And this experience will help him grow. He's already risen to a level that I've seen very few players who would be able to do.

--Wishes we didn't have a raised floor, but doesn't think it had anything to do with Kevin's injury.

--We've been rotating the three walk-ons (for dressing). But with Kevin out, we're gonna have to go with Dark Slime, even though it's not his time to go.

--He was so excited watching the women play last night. He was jumping on the bed. Tom Jurich is on such a roll right now. If anyone has a horse in the Derby they should go and touch Tom because he is one lucky son of a gun.

--Wichita State is not a nine seed and they're not a Cinderella. We more than have our hands full with this team.

--At this stage, it's all about offensive and defensive execution, because everybody wants to win a championship.

--If you watch tape you could not possibly take Wichita State lightly. We know that this is a team that could beat us and we know that we're going to play our best game to beat them. They're not squeaking out victories right now, they're pounding teams.

--I love this group of guys, but I've really loved the last three the same way. That group two years ago was special, but no one gave them any credit because they ran into Kenneth Faried. I think all of you now will agree that guy is pretty good.

--The morning after his injury, Kevin Ware sent him to Hooters because he wanted chicken wings at 10:30 in the morning.

--We're going to need an A game from our guys to beat Wichita State, and you know that.

--We told the guys after the Notre Dame loss that we wanted to win the last seven games of the regular season and that we wanted to win the Big East Tournament. But we weren't going to cut down the nets after that or after going to the Final Four. We want to see if we can cut down some nets now. If not, we just missed out on a couple of nets.

Kevin Ware

--When I first felt the injury I thought I'd just sprained my ankle. The I saw Coach P's face and it looked like his eyes were about to pop out of his head. Then I looked down and it was just instant shock.

--"I really, really want to thank Luke, because Luke jumped right on the scene like the captain he is."

--I have a deep love for Luke because he's been a leader since he's got here and he's always gonna be there for you. He came over to me and said a prayer, and I knew I could either cry or try to hold it in and be tough to inspire my teammates. I chose to hold it in and I guess it worked because we beat Duke by 22.

--He won't watch the video of the injury.

--I saw Russ right after the injury and it looked like he saw a ghost. And then I saw Chane crying, and he's probably the toughest guy on the team.

--I'm not a guy who really likes a lot of attention, but I do appreciate the fact that people are saying that I've been an inspiration. I'm not a media guy, coach will tell you I'm one of the quietest guys on the team, but I really, really appreciate all the support.

--I got a pitbull puppy that I named "Scar." We've got a connection already, we're pretty much best friends. I knew I was going to be off my feet for a while and I needed something to entertain me. Wayne and Zach picked him up and brought him to see me in this little Ware jersey and he was looking at me and I was looking at him, and it was real emotional.

--Since I've come back from my suspension I've just been paying attention to my teammates more. Russ and Peyton are two of the best guards in the country so it makes sense to watch them closely and learn from them. I've tried to adopt some of Russ' aggression.

--I appreciate all the support I've been getting, but I've been telling all my friends that we've still got a job to do. I'm not going to be hanging with friends in Atlanta, I'm going to be with my team trying to get the job done like I would be if I was healthy.

--We cry and whine a lot in the offseason, but you really see how much the conditioning pays off at this point in the season. All these teams we've been playing have been getting so tired. We just wear teams down. Everything we do here is for a reason.

--The attention has surprised me, because this has just been me being me. I would have done the same thing even if the lights hadn't been on, to be honest. I would have been thinking about the team regardless.