home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 11, 2018

Richard Pitino

Madison Square Garden - New York, New York

THE MODERATOR: We are joined now at the podium by Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino. Pitino begins his fifth season at head coach of the Golden Gophers. Minnesota returns four starters and seven letter winners from last year's squad.

Coach, we'll begin with your opening statement.

RICHARD PITINO: Excited to be here. Big Ten Media Day is always the highlight of my year, so I'm fired up about them.

Anyone picking up on that (laughter)? Questions.

Q. Talk about the next step for Jordan Murphy and his development. His senior year, a lot of expectations for him and the program.
RICHARD PITINO: You know, I think for Jordan, obviously from a team-wise where he wants to go, obviously NCAA Tournament, back to the top of the Big Ten. But personally for him, I know he wants to play in the NBA. I told him, I said, You've got the numbers, you have shown that you can produce at our level, at a very high level. Now it comes down to, can you show them how hard you play every single possession, from a rebounding standpoint, be like Kenneth Faried, every situation that you can do, try to get that rebound. Obviously Dennis Rodman would be the one you always think about. But just continue to do what you do.

You are who you are and you've gotten to where you've gotten because you haven't gotten away from that. Don't get away from what you're really, really good at.

Q. Asking you about Isaiah, talk about his off-season, what he's worked on, what you think he might be able to develop and contribute more to this season.
RICHARD PITINO: Yeah, he's been really good. He's grown a lot on the court. With all freshmen, it's habits. For him, as difficult as all the injuries were, it thrusted him into meaningful minutes. Now it's just a matter of terminology, understanding offensively, defensively, never taking a play off, just understanding the difference between high school and college, AAU and college.

I think he's had a terrific summer, terrific fall, and he's got a great opportunity in front of him.

Q. In the last couple years you've had some ups and downs, injuries, off-the-court things. What have you learned about yourself as a coach, how do you think these last couple years have helped shape you as you try to level it off a little bit, consistently stay in the top half of the conference?
RICHARD PITINO: I'm a lot better when we have a healthy roster as a coach. I think that at the end of the day when you're building a program, to get stability, it takes some time. I will think I thought we were there last year. I thought that my fourth year, being two years ago, was an important year for us to show progress. Obviously we did that.

I thought last year was going to allow us to really, really build some great momentum with the new facility, with two really good seasons in a row, hopefully theoretical.

We can't allow last year to derail that momentum. But for me, I'm 36 years old. I read something the other day that this is my 15th year of being a coach in Division I. I'm very, very lucky to be a part of that, be a part of some really good teams.

But you get better. Experience is something that when you're young, you think it's irrelevant. It's not irrelevant. You can only learn so much until you actually do it. So I've had a lot of really good experiences in Minnesota and hope to build off them.

Q. You added Brock Stull this year, you have Rob Jeter, Akeem a couple years ago. What do you see from Coach Jeter and Brock this year?
RICHARD PITINO: Coach Jeter has been great. Obviously he had a really good run at Milwaukee. Surprised that he was let go. I think a lot of people were. I got to know him a little bit. He came in and beat us. I had a lot of respect for him a couple years ago. Everybody beat us. I tell him that all the time, so don't get too excited.

But he sees the big picture very well. That's what you get when you hire former head coaches who have done it. He's done it for a long time. He obviously was an assistant coach under Bo Ryan. He knows how to win in this league. He knows how to recruit the area. He's a really good person. He's been a terrific addition to our staff.

As for Brock Stull, he's getting in shape. He was not with us till about September, early September, because he was doing his academics. It's hard when a guy is in Milwaukee, you can't work with him. He's probably not over at Milwaukee every day working out because that staff and that team has probably moved on. It's going to take some time, like it did with Akeem.

I expect Brock to be ready to go. He's a smart player and he's produced at a high level.

Q. Not sure if you've been around the league long enough to when it was 16 games, then 18, now to 20. Your thoughts about going to the 20-game schedule? Those two games replace mid-major games that you would have played in your own arena where you probably were going to go 2-0, and now it could be 0-2, 1-1. Do you like the idea that you're playing major conference teams?
RICHARD PITINO: I do like it, yeah. I think it's good for everybody. I think Commissioner Delany has brought it up a couple times, we've got to figure out from a college basketball standpoint how to capture our fans in November and December.

For us, to be able to get quality opponents in your building, it's important to us early because our fan base loves it. More importantly, though, last year from studying what the NCAA Tournament was looking at, they're looking at how many good wins you have. They're not looking at who you lose to. That really isn't relevant anymore. I mean, certainly we don't want to lose, but if you can stack up as many quality quad one, quad two wins as you can, it's good for everybody.

I think it's great. I think a lot of the Power 5 or Power 6 conferences will go to that. Big East probably can't. For us, I think it's really, really smart. I think it's a good idea.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you so much.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297