Pitino Talks Lineup/Roster Changes with the Courier-Journal

Photo: USA Today
Photo: USA Today

Rick Pitino held an impromptu Q & A (question & answer…you’re welcome) on Friday night with Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal. I will post just a little bit of that and then give you the link to read the rest.

Q: You said you were considering a change at center. Have you thought about going small?

Pitino: Well, we’ve done that before with Kyle Kuric. The only thing when you go small is it’s probably (freshman forward Jaylen Johnson) and Montrezl (Harrell). If you go small — you know, (freshman wing Shaqquan Aaron) and (sophomore guard Anton Gill) aren’t playing very well. I’ve gone long enough with Anton, trying my best to be patient … I’ve gotten to the point that I’ll go with David Levitch.

There is a lot to digest in that answer. “I’ve gone long enough with Anton” is what sticks out to me the most. There always seem to be guys that just can’t last their full 4 years at UofL for Pitino. Is Anton the next to transfer out? I never did want to rush to guess that before because I didn’t want it to seem like I was ready to just give someone the boot. But if Pitino truly has gotten to where David Levitch will consistently play over Gill, then you would think that Gill has better options somewhere else, right?

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

Since his outburst of 14 points at Florida State on February 28, Gill is 0-5 and has not scored a point in 31 minutes of action. He is averaging 2.5 points for the whole season, and if you look at his entire game log, there are so many scoreless games or very low-scoring games. Gill isn’t supposed to be a big rebounder or assist guy. He is supposed to be a “scorer.” Whether that be shooting or driving to the basket, he is supposed to score a lot, even if his defense isn’t there. If he isn’t scoring, he isn’t really contributing.

After saying all of that, this could just be motivation by Pitino and he could start every game for the rest of his career for all we know. #PitinoSpeak

The other part of that statement talks about the possibility of Jaylen Johnson and Montrezl Harrell playing at the same time. I am on board with seeing how that works. Whenever Jaylen Johnson has gotten a couple minutes of action, I like the little glimpses of potential I have seen. In the last two games, he has had a good drive to the basket. He missed both, but I still liked to see the aggressiveness.

Although he was clearly in the game to give Montrezl a breather, he didn’t just get the ball and get rid of it right away. He tried to make a move and be a threat on offense. I liked seeing that out of the freshman. I would like to see what he can do with more minutes.

In saying that, in regards to lineup changes, let’s get more Anas Mahmoud in the game. Right? Yes, he is thin. But I really don’t remember seeing him get so physically dominated in a game that he was a liability. Maybe he does in practice and that is all Pitino needs to see. But maybe Anas is just a gamer. Lights come on, the muscle comes out for Anas.

Click here to read the full Q & A on the Courier-Journal’s website.

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