Montrezl Harrell’s post-Louisville career off to a weird start

Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Even if things are a big deal, I usually downplay them and talk about why they aren’t. If everyone else gets riled up about a story, that is usually when I back away from it and just move on, to be different I guess. So I am not one to see something little and blow it out of proportion. But there has been something lately that just strikes me as “weird” I guess. The difference in Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell since the NBA Draft and the way that Rick Pitino has talked about each one has been very noticeable.

What we do know is that Terry Rozier was drafted 16th and Harrell went 32nd. Heading into the draft, we probably all thought those draft spots would be reversed. I was playing basketball during the draft and people kept checking their phones in between games to be updated on the draft. When someone said that Terry Rozier went 16th, everyone asked “Where did Trez go?” It was just assumed that Trez would go before Terry. Nevertheless, he went in the second round.

If you have listened to any Coach Pitino interviews since the draft, you may have picked up on some things. He spoke with Mike Rutherford on “Ramsey and Rutherford” on Tuesday afternoon. Here is apart of that interview:

Your reaction to Terry Rozier, Montrezl Harrell and where they went in the draft?

Well in speaking to the general managers and the scouts — I had about 25 conversations with both guys. Speaking about Terry first, what they love is the fact that he went to the combine and said, “I’m playing and I’m kicking everybody’s butt.” They like his wingspan, but more than anything else they love his attitude. They think he’s all about team, all about winning.

His athleticism is outstanding, his three-point shooting is not great, but I told them it wasn’t great. I said it’s a work in progress. He can shoot the mid-range shot, hits the college three-pointer, gets to the foul line, rebounds — but they love his attitude. I spoke to Danny Ainge on two separate occasions. I didn’t know where they were gonna draft. I knew he was in play at, I believe they had 28, he was in play at 27, 26, 21 — so it was great that they loved him enough to draft him at 16.

Montrezl is another person who — I didn’t even know who his agent was. I found out after the draft that it was LeBron’s agent. Never spoke with him. Terry’s agent asked me to call about 15 general managers and I did. Montrezl, what they asked me about was his rebounding. I said, “his rebounding’s good, why do you ask that question?” They said that they like 1 rebound every 3 minutes, and he didn’t get that. I tried to tell them that he came back to work on his midrange jumper, his perimeter game, and he spent more time his junior year on the perimeter which is why his rebounding numbers weren’t quite as good as well as his shot blocking numbers weren’t quite as good, in their minds.

Have you talked to those guys since last Thursday?

Well I texted both of them, and I did speak with Terry on the night after he went 16 — after he jumped in the pool, I did speak with him personally. He’s very excited. I told him not to brag about me too much in Boston because I’m not their favorite, so we had some laughs over that too.

So Rozier’s agent asked Pitino to call about 15 general managers leading up to the draft. I would say that that probably helped Rozier. I mean, it couldn’t have hurt, right? And Pitino didn’t even know who Harrell’s agent was until AFTER the draft? Maybe if he had asked Pitino to talk to general managers, he wouldn’t have slipped to the second round. Pitino could have answered some questions that teams may have had about him.

And then the next part may not sound like a big deal, especially in this day of texting. But Pitino says he texted both guys and did speak with Rozier. He doesn’t even mention talking to Montrezl. I believe in this interview with Terry Meiners, he says same thing, that he has spoken with Terry and he texted Montrezl. Again, maybe not a huge deal because texting is more popular than speaking on the phone these days, but it is just another example of how these guys have been different lately (or just that it is more noticeable lately).

Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? I don’t know. I don’t usually do things like that, so I wouldn’t think so. It has just been somewhat odd to me lately listening to Pitino talk about each player, and feeling like Montrezl is distant, while Terry is not at all. In the meantime, Wayne Blackshear will go about his business and play with the Spurs this summer. You won’t hear troubling things about him. He will just do his job and play ball. Some things never change.

We will see how this all plays out over time. But I can just see one of these guys talking great about Louisville and always coming back, while the other distances himself. Time will tell. Until then…

Go Cards!

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