Pitino Breaks it Down
After playing the Blue Demons this weekend in a scrimmage Coach Richard Pitino put out a blog talking about how the scrimmage went and where his team is at. Based on his responses it looks like the team is happy with where they are so far.
“It is an exciting time for our basketball program as our first game is just around the corner,” said Pitino on Monday. “These scrimmages (vs DePaul) are always a decent indicator of where we are at and what we need to work on. We took a lot of positives out of it.
“Overall, we aren't where we need to be but I am really excited about this team’s potential. We will play much more inside to out this year than last year. Guys played very hard and with a great spirit.
“My message to them before the game was to celebrate each other’s success. They certainly did that. 22 assists was great, 19 turnovers not so much.”
Positives. After the odd twitter post from Akeem Springs last week, his brother being all over twitter, and then the situation being quieted a day later, Springs came out and was fantastic against the Blue Demons.
“Akeem was 7 for 13 from 3!” said Pitino. “The best part about it was he took very good shots. Akeem does a lot of little things. Played extremely hard on both ends.”
Nate Mason had 12 assists and only one turnover in the scrimmage. Stats of a true lead guard and Pitino was very excited: “I want (Nate) approaching every game like he's the best point guard in the Big Ten. He certainly looked that way. He was aggressive and showed great leadership.”
Dupree McBrayer played both guard spots and led the team with a team high seven deflections. Pitino was also very excited about McBrayer: “Love his versatility. (Dupree) is extremely active defensively. He is playing with supreme confidence.”
Jordan Murphy worked his way to the foul line 11 times and Pitino really liked his inside-out ball movement “Jordan started passing the ball out of the post very well in the second half,” said Pitino.
Freshman Amir Coffey was a big standout in his first live action against an opponent. “His 13 points and 7 rebounds was terrific,” Pitino said of Coffey. “(He) has to cut down on turnovers. Five deflections. Very active on the defensive end. A lot of positives.”
Fellow freshman Eric Curry also continues to get strong reviews. “Outstanding performance for Eric,” said Pitino. “Only negative was fouls. Really good passer out of the post.”
More of the Same. Reggie Lynch had six fouls in 15 minutes, Jordan Murphy was said to be “a little frustrated with foul trouble”. These are the two that have dealt with a lot of foul issues. Add in that Eric Curry had five fouls and picking up fouls inside seems to fall into the same category as shooting in that it’s a big worry for this team.
With so much foul trouble Bakary Konate came off the bench and played good minutes and that will happen if Reggie, Jordan, and maybe Curry are regularly in foul trouble. Bakary played well Pitino said.
“Bakary was very productive. Rebounded the ball well. Always plays hard.’
Wings Ahmad Gilbert and Michael Hurt will be getting much of the time that Davonte Fitzgerald may have received. Both received good comments although it doesn’t sound like Gilbert saw much time.
“Ahmad played solid defense in the first half,” Pitino said. “Didn't play a whole lot. Love his competitive spirit. Michael is a smart player, underrated toughness. Needs to shoot the three when open. (Has) the ultimate green light.”
Needs Work. Lynch played limited minutes as this is some of his first game action since February. “(Reggie) played limited minutes due to just getting back from an injury,” said Pitino. It’s going to take some time to get Reggie in shape and adjusted. He will get there. Just has to consistently practice.”
With junior big Gaston Diedhiou it continues to be about his mishaps on the defensive end likely in positioning. “Gaston has to cut down on defensive mistakes when he gets in there,” said Pitino
Notes from Pitino
· “I’m really excited to host the second annual Coaches vs. Cancer Tipoff Dinner this Sunday night at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis. Last year we raised close to $60,000 towards the fight against cancer and we hope to have an even bigger total this year. Those interested in taking part can register at http://www.coachesvscancerminnesota.org” - Pitino
· Gopher radio analyst Spencer Tollackson and his wife had a baby over the weeked.
· Pitino will speak at a 5:30 p.m. pre-game pep rally before the Louisiana Lafayette game. You can register by visiting http://www.goldendunkers.com/gopher-pep-rally-registration.
· Sophomore guard Stephon Sharp did not play in the scrimmage because of a knee injury that is described as day to day. Walk-ons Darin Haugh and Brady Rudrud did not play likely because of coaches decision.