Pitino Explains the Harrell “Captain” Situation

Photo: Tim Haag/CardinalSportsZone.com
Photo: Tim Haag/CardinalSportsZone.com

When there is a week off in between Louisville basketball games, any kind of story will turn into a big deal. This time it is the fact that junior Montrezl Harrell is no longer a captain on the team. When I first heard that news, it really wasn’t a big deal to me because I couldn’t have told you who the captains were anyway. In my book, the captains are Wayne Blackshear and Terry Rozier. So my first reaction to the news that Montrezl was no longer a captain was basically “Oh, he WAS a captain?”

On his weekly radio show on WHAS, Rick Pitino went into detail about why Harrell isn’t a captain anymore. He said it was actually Montrezl who asked to have that title stripped from him.

“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.’”

More from Pitino: “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.’”

“We want him blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, scoring points off the offensive glass, scoring points off 16-foot jump shots, outrunning people on the break, and posting up, that’s who we want him to play like,” Pitino said. “We want him to play like Kenneth Faried, that’s what he was as a freshman and sophomore, and he had great years. Now he did have 20 points in the first half at Wake Forest (two weeks ago), but I would rather see him post up, get offensive rebounds and run the break, than shoot three-point shots.”

Next game for the Cards is Sunday at 4 p.m. at Pittsburgh. Let’s get there with no more little stories. Sometimes, no news is good news.

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