Pitino sees major improvement
University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said at ACC Media Day on Wednesday in Charlotte that one of the things he likes most about this year's team is how hard they have worked in the offseason.
Pitino mentioned a number of guys, including Quentin Snider and Donovan Mitchell for their tireless offseason work.
"I really enjoy seeing guys get better," Pitino said. "When I see guys like Quentin Snider and Donovan Mitchell work so hard on their jump shots and show the improvement that we've seen, that's really pleasing to the eye.
"That's what I love. Really for me, that's what it's all about."
Mitchell is Eddie Haskell?
Pitino was asked about the personality of sophomore Donovan Mitchell and said he used to call him Eddie Haskell.
"He said who is that?" Pitino recalled. "I said he's a guy on 'Leave it to Beaver' and he asked what does he do and I told him you are like him because you come across as a con-man. You are too good to be true.
"But he's really like that. He's just an incredible kid."
Pitino said when Mitchell came on his official visit he would hold the door open for his mother and noted that are so many cases that he does "something that most kids his age wouldn't think to do."
"He's just a super kid," Pitino said.
See ya, matchup zone
Pitino said he still loves the match up zone his team has been playing in recent years. But he noted this season the Cardinals' staff felt like they had to scrap if for a man-to-man defense.
And the reason? Youth.
"It's been great to us," he said. "But this team is so inexperienced. With the schedule that we are playing, I don't have the time to put it in. It takes too long to teach and to perfect. So, we'll play a different style."
Pitino was asked about adapting his style after so much success.
"We're doing what we think will help us win," he said.
High hopes for Johnson
Pitino and several of his teammates have expressed a lot of high hopes for junior forward Jaylen Johnson.
The 6-foot-9 Johnson has himself in the best shape of his time at U of L and is expected to be one of the key cogs for the Cardinals in the middle. He's had double-doubles in the two scrimmage games.
"I expect him to have a double-double every game," point guard Quentin Snider said.
Added Mitchell: "He's in better shape and is so much better."
Pitino said he needs Johnson to understand he must stay on the low block to help this team.
"Every forward wants to be like Kevin Durant," Pitino said. "Nobody wants to be like Charles Oakley anymore. I remind Jaylen every day about guys like Tristan Thompson and Kenneth Faried and how they are doing financially."
Quote of the week
Pitino talking about the difficulty of the schedule:
"With the schedule we have, I just hope we make the tournament. We'll have one of the top two or three toughest schedules."