Rick Pitino’s Comments After the Pittsburgh Win

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

Opening Statement

“I am really, really excited about this game tonight because we had a surprise at the beginning of the game, that Wayne Blackshear couldn’t play and then Quentin Snider had to come in and give us a good performance and he did. So I am really, really happy. Obviously, I am kind of amazed that Montrezl Harrell could play the entire game without a break and play as hard as that. His motor is kind of incredible, but the only bad thing is we are shooting 50 percent which is good execution, the other team is not, but we did not get a steal in the first half. The reason our press is not as successful is that we are not trapping. We are letting them clear us out and in the second half we went after them, and our 4’s and 5’s made a lot of key plays. So we are playing good defense, our offense executed well, but we got a big lift tonight from guys that don’t normally play, I thought Quentin (Snider) did an excellent job.”

On Wayne Blackshear’s injury

“He has a hip pointer that we thought would be okay and it wasn’t.”

On Quentin Snider

“He is playing great offense, a very confident offensive basketball player. Tonight we needed him because Chris (Jones) was not on his game, he was forcing things too much and we had to go with him (Quentin).”

On not making a 3 pointer

It’s the first time since 1992 that we didn’t make a three, but who needs the three when you get layups and back-door’s and post-ups. So we did something a little bit different on our post-ups, we come off that high power screen that you see, the high middle screen, and instead of waiting on the baseline for the dunk, we ducked them in and we got a lot off of that which was very good – and our guards did a terrific job of getting it. I think you see what a special player Terry Rozier is because when the play breaks down and things don’t go well, he, like (Dwyane) Wade his idol, he can get his shot off any which way and almost every 15 to 17 foot shot he takes, you think it’s going in, terrific game by him.

Did losing Blackshear early in the game take the team out of rhythm?

“I don’t think so. I think that we were shooting a high percentage and we could get our press up, but we didn’t trap. We were playing good defense, I think we were all surprised by it, because we thought he’d be fine. We’re also shooting free throws terrific, and that’s a big factor as well.”

What he says to Rozier if he is missing his shot 

“I really don’t concern myself with offense if a guy’s missing his shot. All I told him in the timeout is don’t let your offense dictate how you rebound and how you play defense. I said because you can make the next six shots in a row, so don’t let it dictate, and he didn’t. I thought Chinanu (Onuaku) played very well, I thought his stats, he had four points, but I thought he ducked in, I thought he was very active. We’re trying to get our guys to throw the 5-man the ball, and they are. They’re at least looking for it. And that makes us a better half-court offensive team.”

On the younger guys growing up

“It’s very tough to sweep a good basketball team. In the pros, you play the Atlanta Hawks, you beat them at home, you’ve got to go down there the next night, and you’re losing. Very tough to sweep a team, especially so close, because they make changes that are very good, we had to make changes, and they play a terrific game with this style. They hit a lot of midrange jump shots, they’re very strong. But we were strong on the backboard tonight, and I think you can all see the potential in Anas (Mahmoud). You can see it, how long he is, how agile. Now he has good hands, I know he dropped the ball, but he’s trying to make the next play rather than run the ball into his hands. But he’s going to be a very good player someday.”

Do any of Montrezl’s moves surprise him? 

“You know, I just think he’s…I don’t know the word that I’m searching for. I just think, even when he gets double-teamed, he can get to places you shouldn’t go and still get to the rim. You know he can go behind the backboard, come back in, and still be above the rim. He’s got tremendous length and with his wingspan and everybody can see how much he’s improved his 16, 17-foot shot. The good thing is he’s not taking threes, he’s taking that shot, which he’s going to make.”

More on Quentin Snider playing better

“He’s playing great in practice. The reason Quentin’s not playing better is I don’t play him. He’s not doing anything wrong. And it’s only because those two guys defensively are great at containing. Tonight, I just wasn’t happy with Chris, so I went with Q (Quentin). So you know how much confidence I have. We’re in a war and I bench our starting point guard and I go with Quentin, so you know how much confidence I have in him.”

On the run in the second half

“We just got after it with our pressure. And if you speed Pittsburgh up, it helps you. We couldn’t …even though we had a lead in the first half, you had no steals, you’re shooting a high percentage and you’re letting them get out on the break. The weakest part of the start of the half was they’re not even in a fast break and we’re not seeing the ball. So that’s a lot of times young guys who haven’t played. But I liked the way Chinanu (Onuaku) played. I like the way our freshman just carried us, didn’t hurt us at all. And Quentin (Snider) really helped us.

On Chris Jones sitting out

I don’t want to comment on Chris. I really don’t. Because I’ll say something negative, and I don’t want to say anything negative about our players. He had a bad night. All around.

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