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Rick Pitino ACC coaches teleconference transcript

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

You can listen to the entire teleconference here

Opening Statement

We're coming off a nice road win. Georgia Tech played a great game, and we were lucky to pull it out at the end. Very fortunate to come away with a road win, which is very difficult to get in the ACC this year.

On Louisville's offensive rebounding success

I think it's obviously that Chinanu Onuaku is having a great year. We have great length inside, and certainly that helps. It's nothing in particular that makes us a good offensive rebounding team except for the desire of the player, and certainly our guys have been doing a good job in that area.

Are there things teams can do to improve their rebounding if they don't have that height or length?

Well, obviously you've got to box out well. Certain things do things well. It's a matter of getting high percentage shots that allows you to create good offensive rebounding position as well. If you take bad shots, you're not going to be a good offensive rebounding team.

On Nanu's improved free-throw shooting

I think any time you try something new -- and as dramatic as an underhanded free-throw may be -- it's just getting comfortable and getting used to it. Repetition is the key to success, and he's worked on it. I'd like to put a couple of my other guys through it as well. But he's doing a much better job with it. With the underhanded free-throw you get a lot more breaks because of the reverse rotation on the basketball. He's getting used to it and doing a nice job with it.

On the low deflection count against Georgia Tech

In the past, our point guards -- from Russ Smith, Peyton Siva, Chris Jones, Terry Rozier -- were big-time deflection guys and big-time steals guys. We were always one or two in the conference in steals and one of the top teams in the country in steals. Quentin Snider's not that way, so it's just a matter of different personnel. Now we are a better shot-blocking team.

Did Luke Hancock's success impact your decision to take Damion Lee from the same conference?

You know, it really had nothing to do with the league. It had more to do with personal references and what the young man's all about. We had a great recommendation on Luke Hancock from Jim Larranaga and Chris Caputo, the assistant coach. And the same thing's true of people that we respect, coaches from that league, who had a great deal of success for Damion Lee -- the type of person that he is, the type of player he is. So it really had nothing to do with the league, it was more the type of person and the type of athlete he is.

More on getting to know Damion

You know you get very lucky because of the maturity level of the young man. When you go from riding a lot of busses to games to flying now, it's a different level in the way you travel and playing in front of 22,000 people -- the young men are very, very appreciative for what they have. They realize it's only for one year. They've been very well coached at Drexel, and at George Mason with Luke Hancock prior to that. So they've had some great coaching, great fundamentals, and really you don't have to concern yourself with that, you just have to introduce them to a new system. They're very humble people. If I get one or two a year, I would love it. It's probably not conceivable, but we've been very lucky with Luke and now Damion, and Trey Lewis as well.

On Anas' breakout game

Well he's been playing very well in practice. With Mangok Mathiang out, sometimes I'm concerned about using him a lot at power forward -- which is his normal position -- because we use him a lot at backup center. But Nanu Onuaku has not been getting into foul trouble so we've been able to play them together, and they play very well together. But we also have Matz Stockman as a backup, but when Mangok comes back, Anas will be playing more at the power forward as well. They both have great length. It gives us great shot blockers and good rebounders.

You didn't get much out of Mahmoud last year, but you probably didn't expect to

Well he came in at 180 pounds, so you don't expect to get a whole lot out of him when that's the case. He's still very thin at 215. I don't think you'll see great consistency out of him until he gets up to 230, 235 ... and he'll still be thin then. But at least he'll have a decent body on him. He's never going to have a thick lower body, but he's very agile, very intelligent, blocks shots and has good low post moves. He's developed a very good low post game. I don't think he played too much low post in high school, and now he's learning it and getting very good with both hands.