Pitino talks newcomers; Zach Price leaving

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino met with the media on Tuesday afternoon, showing off the new commemorative Marker's Mark bottle that will go on sale later this week with his face on the side. He also updated the media on the status of his current and incoming players and Cardinal Authority was there.

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino met with the media on Tuesday to show off the new Maker's Mark commemorative bottle with his image on the side that will go on sale later this week.

But after he dipped a few bottles in wax, the talk quickly turned to basketball. Pitino is just two months removed from guiding the school to its third NCAA national title with a win over Michigan.

Pitino confirmed three of the four newcomers – Akoy Agau, Chris Jones and Anton Gill – are already on campus and enrolled in classes. He said the fourth member of the class – Terry Rozier – "is coming later this week."

"We're excited about those guys," he said.

Pitino noted that Omaha, Neb., forward Akoy Agau was "28 pounds" lighter than when he played at the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic.

"Akoy, from what you people telling me, was way out of shape Derby Classic," Pitino said. "I told him that he would be in for the shock of his life if he didn't come in better shape. He looks great."

Pitino was also asked about recent mentions on Twitter by junior-to-be center Zach Price that he may be leaving the team. Price later confirmed on Twitter that he was leaving school and "it was a pleasure playing for this university."

"It didn't stir me up," Pitino said when he heard the potential news that Price may be transferring. "You can't hold on to everybody. If he does leave, we wish him well. We wish him great success."

Pitino said he missed some summer classes and had only talked to Price through text, noting the former Jeffersontown High School standout was "out in Los Angeles," noting that was "probably an indication" he was not returning.

The 6-foot-10 Price appeared in 16 games as a sophomore and started seven. He averaged 1.3 points and 1.4 rebounds a game.

Pitino said Luke Hancock and Montrezl Harrell would get great competition trying out for USA Basketball teams this month and also said Russ Smith was likely to "join a touring team that will go to Spain."

"They're all getting ready for an exciting summer," he said.

The Cardinals will soon be starting the time where the NCAA allows 30 practices in 42 days and Pitino said that will be key for his teams conditioning.

"We can start a little earlier now, but we try and not wear them out in the summer time," he said. "It's more about getting their body fat down and getting them in shape. I like them working on fundamentals and shooting.

"I don't like my guys playing pickup basketball."


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