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Rick Pitino Says Montrezl Harrell Stripped Himself Of Captain Status

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Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

It's day two of Captain Controversy 2015 in Louisville, and we now have an answer as to what exactly went down here.

On his weekly radio show with Paul Rogers Wednesday night, Rick Pitino revealed that it was Montrezl Harrell himself who proposed the idea of Wayne Blackshear becoming the team's lone captain.

According to Pitino, he was having to consistently get on Harrell for being too hard on the younger players, which was hurting their confidence. Eventually he had to tell Harrell that he alone needed to be "the bad guy," at which point Harrell came up with the idea of having Blackshear be the team's lone captain.

This is an issue which Pitino actually mentioned in his press conference before Louisville's exhibition game against Bellarmine. At that time he said that Harrell too often tried to lead by intimidation, a method which might not be the best on a team with so many new players.

Pitino later reiterated that no one on the team views this as a big deal, and that Trez is still without question a team leader. He also expressed some annoyance at having to address this issue at all.

Eric Crawford has the full quotes:

"I had a problem with Montrezl," Pitino said. "I said, ‘Listen, Montrezl, you can't get on these guys the way you're doing. You're killing their confidence.' His response was, ‘These guys don't work hard enough, don't listen well enough and unless they develop we're not going to be a great team at the end of the year. I said, ‘That may be true Montrezl, but you've got to let me be the bad guy.' After calling him in for the fourth time, he said, ‘Listen coach, Wayne's the good guy, I'm the tough guy, let him be captain, I'm still going to be a leader, so we don't have to go through this all the time.' So I said, ‘If that's the way you feel that's fine.'"

Calling the situation "absolutely no big deal," Pitino said he'd advised Harrell not to say anything about it publicly, for fear that it would turn into something bigger than he believed it was. But Harrell brought it up after U of L's loss to Duke on Saturday, and speculation over the reason has been going on since.

Pitino described Harrell as "an ultra competitor" and said, "he gets very upset when guys don't play. But he has to realize that some of these guys are just physically weak. They can't guard him. They can't play and don't play as hard, not because they don't want to, it's just they're physically weak and it's just going to take some time."

He said Harrell's teammates don't have a problem with him.

"Everybody respects Montrezl because he works so hard," Pitino said. "Now a few of them fear him a little bit, but that's no different from what Kyle Kuric had with (Terrence Williams) or some what some of the young guards go through with the older guards. So they have a great relationship. He's just very hard on them. I've said it in front of the team on two separate occasions, ‘You captains need to be upbeat and positive.'"