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Rick Pitino Checks In With A Summer Update


It's the time of year where Louisville fans can spend days discussing one sentence of insider information, and thankfully Rick Pitino was willing to toss us some bait Tuesday evening.

Pitino appeared on The Terry Meiners Show and discussed the development of his new freshmen, his joy over Wayne Blackshear's summer thus far, and the recent engagement of his daughter to a Kentucky grad.


--We just finished practice. This is a much different team in terms of talent than we've had in years past. We're doing more fundamental instruction with this group.

--Terry Rozier came back in awesome shape. Montrezl came back in awesome shape. Anton Gill is in tremendous shape. But the guy who came back the most changed, who said "I'm tired of this" is Wayne Blackshear. He said he was tired of mediocrity and he's been working out twice a day since school ended. He is the biggest surprise and the biggest change.

--I don't want to get too excited about Wayne because we're not even into July yet, but he's done everything I wanted and more since the end of last season/

--The Big Egyptian, Anas, he is extremely skilled for a 7-foot person, but he is extremely weak physically. He can shoot it, he can dribble it, he can pass it, but he's 187-pounds. We're gonna have to decide if he's physically strong enough and tough enough to play as a freshman. He could be a redshirt.

--Chinanu is a lot like Terrence Jennings in terms of his length and body. He's not in shape, and he's probably never been in shape. Once he gets his conditioning down, he'll be doing things he never thought he could do. We're excited about him.

--A lot of high school kids are just bigger than everyone else, and so they don't need to be in great shape. Akoy went through that last year, and he's come back in great shape. There's always a big difference from freshman year to sophomore year, and he's in terrific shape.

--Chris Jones went away for a month and-a-half, and he was on the Vinny Tatum summer diet. He's not in the best shape, but he'll get in good shape pretty quickly.

--We're basically going back into the old Big East, where every single night is going to be a dog fight.

--We've got four backcourt players that can compete with any backcourt in the nation. Chris Jones and Terry Rozier are going to be as good a backcourt as there is in America. They're going to be backed up by Quentin Snider -- who is freshman ready, he knows how to play -- and Anton Gill. Those four guys can flat out play.

--Shaqquan Aaron will play multiple positions.

--We have The Big Egyptian and The Big Norwegian -- they don't get names until they prove themselves.

--Humility and focus are our two buzz words again.

--Minnesota will be like a 13 or 14-point favorite over us in the opening game.

--Our 5 spot is a musical chairs spot, but we're hoping that Mangok will be ready to hold it down as the starter.

--Didn't know the Kentucky game was going to be the Hall of Fame game until the news broke this week. Everyone keeps asking me about it, and I have no idea.

--We went to Italy for vacation and my daughter Jacqueline got engaged. I've been fortunate enough to travel around the world, and Lake Como is the most romantic, beautiful spot in the world. She got engaged there and it was a beautiful night.

--Her fiance did come to me and ask for her hand in marriage beforehand. He graduated from the University of Kentucky, so I said I needed some time to think about it. He's a wonderful young man, but we have another mixed marriage on the horizon, like so many others in the state.

--Kenny Klein is right next to me, and he's saying that we made the Kentucky game the Hall of Fame game because of the great tradition of the two programs and the attention that the game could bring. We did the same thing with the Memphis game in 2011.