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


March 22, 2012

Chane Behanan

Gorgui Dieng

Rick Pitino


Louisville – 57
Michigan State - 44

COACH PITINO:  Well, our guys prepared really hard this week for this game.  We talked about what we wanted to accomplish with this tournament.  We're proud of them.
The whole focus ‑‑ we watched Ohio State and Michigan State game and it was as rough a basketball game as I've seen since I've been a coach.  And our guys were very, very impressed with Michigan State.  And we had three goals coming into this:  One was to stop the three; two was to try and outrebound them, which is a daunting task; and then three, we wanted to protect Gorgui with our life.
We felt that if we could keep Gorgui in the game we could beat them.  And everybody had to guard the middle, contain the basketball and keep Gorgui from getting in foul trouble.  And he played a brilliant game.  Chane played a brilliant game.  These guys are complete warriors.  I don't know what Chane was getting disappointed about missing free throws, because without him we don't win this game.  He was a man‑child in the second half.

Q.  Can you talk about when you made that three, and what was going through your head?
GORGUI DIENG:  I was just wide open and I took the shot.  I know he never ‑‑ I never see him to get someone to take a shot when he's wide open.  He gets mad sometimes when we take the shot.  I was wide open and I took it and it went in.

Q.  Can you just talk about, a lot was made about Michigan State's front court and their rebounding ability and everything.  Did you take that as a personal challenge kind of like when you guys played Cincinnati that second time after Yancy Gates got the better of you in the preseason.  Did you kind of take it personal?
GORGUI DIENG:  When we came here we know we're going to face ‑‑ this game ‑‑ it could have been nice, it could have been a very nice game.  We knew we were going to come to a war.  We need to be tougher than them to win this game.  And when they also have free control their big men, and stay out of foul trouble, they're going to help us win this game.  And we try our best.  We listen what coach want us to do.  And win this game.

Q.  I think for a lot of us to follow your story it's been a pretty amazing journey, it wasn't that long ago you were still in Senegal.  Do you have time to appreciate where you've come and how far you've come?
GORGUI DIENG:  I mean I just ‑‑ a lot of kids back home want to have that chance I have today.  I came to this country into good hands.  And this guy, he always think like how I can get this kid better.  And he worked me so hard.
My freshman year I was complaining a lot.  I said he worked me so hard, I'm tired, my legs hurt.  I thank him for that, he changed my whole mentality.  He made me tougher and he teach me how this game can do in your life.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about you guys being able to control Draymond and keep him from dominating the game?
CHANE BEHANAN:  Our whole focus wasn't on Draymond, just on the team itself.  We did talk about Draymond, how we had to limit his touches and try to stay in front of him.  He's a heck of a player.  Once we did that, I think we took control of the game.  He started getting fouls and we just ran up and down the court and tried to tire him out, try to do our best we can to put a body on him.  I think it was good, we got the W.

Q.  Can you give us the cliff notes version on how you got Gorgui, I know he's a prep school?
COACH PITINO:  Well, we had a young man commit to us named Coleman.  And I went to see with Walter McCarty, to see him play.  And I said to Walter, I said, Walt, I like the big guy better.  He said, do you really, coach?  And I said, yes, he's just weak.  I said his potential is unbelievable.  Good footwork, he's long.  He said I'll get him, coach.
Walter and Gorgui struck up a good relationship.  Gorgui came in in December, he spoke very little English.  He came back in February and spoke great English, better than some of the rest of the guys on my team.
Kids from Africa are extremely bright.  They all speak multiple languages.  They're very humble, very hungry.  And Gorgui was just weak.  He came into this country 187 pounds.  And it was a tough freshman year, because when I called him in for meetings he said it's my goal to make the NBA some day.  I said Gorgui, you're going to have to improve a lot because I've coached eight years in the NBA, so you're going to have to bear with me, I'm going to drive you like you've never been driven before.  He said what do you mean by "drive"?  And I said you're going to see.
And at the end of his freshman year he survived.  And I said, now every goal you said to me, we've got to go after it, we've got to get you better.  And our whole thing each year ‑‑ when we had failed this year it's when Gorgui has gone to the bench.  And we wanted to protect Gorgui with our life tonight and we did a great job of that.

Q.  There was a stretch in the second half, I think you guys were up six and Draymond had a pretty good look and a drive in the lane.  Gorgui dropped it and you go down and get the turnover and all of a sudden it's a ten‑point game.  Did that stretch stand out to you?  It seemed like if it was a tight game it turned a little in your favor.
COACH PITINO:  You know what our press does a lot of times?  It just wears people out.  We didn't really want to trap them.  We wanted to run and jump to get to the legs.  And for us to have Draymond bring the ball up was great.  We said just turn them, just turn them, just turn them, because then he wouldn't have as much energy as he would other times.
Certain people we try to create steals or traps or rotate.  Tonight we just tried to get into our zone, wear them out and neutralize the backboard.  Because this is a team that's plus eight.  And our guys, we felt we could win.
But when they watched the Ohio State game, I immediately felt very uncomfortable showing that at the end, because we watched the whole game, because they were so strong and tough that I immediately showed them the Indiana game at IU, so they realized that Michigan State ‑‑ that was a great basketball game.  And we immediately had to get their confidence going again.
We talked about all the things we wanted to do.  And our guys, we knew this game was going to be low scoring because they are the second ‑‑ we're both tied for the second‑best field goal in the nation.  And the defense usually doesn't break.  It's the offense that does.

Q.  Gorgui played 40 minutes, was that the plan going in?  Having coached NBA players, how satisfying is it for you to coach someone that hungry to improve their life?
COACH PITINO:  Well, I saw Kim Bohuny from the NBA office, I knew from my NBA days, she goes over there a lot.  I said Kim, can you get me anymore Africans?  Tell me where they are, I'll go over there.  I don't care.  Congo, Senegal, wherever it is, I'll go.
I love Gorgui so much.  Because we're not a humble society, athletes today.  The Africans are so humble and so hungry.  It's just so much fun coaching him because it's a throwback.
This team reminds me so much of my '87 Providence team because they're so humble and so hungry.  I've got a bunch of texts going into this, it's our 25th anniversary, and the guys said, is Miami on?  I gave them the choice of New Orleans, Miami or the Kentucky Derby to celebrate our 25th reunion.  And they took Miami.  They texted me, and said, are we still on for the date?  I said let me check with Billy the Kid and then we're on.
I told my team before the game tonight, here it is 25 years and it's still like they're my best friends in life.  I said, you're two games away from having a 25th reunion yourself.  And nobody ever forgets a Final Four team.  So that was our speech before the game.

Q.  When Gorgui made the three, you were both ear‑to‑ear smiles.  Was that an unspoken moment between coach and player?
COACH PITINO:  About a week ago in practice after it was over he kept shooting threes.  I said, it looks pretty good, Gorgui.  He said next year I'm shooting a lot of 3's.  I said, no problem, as long as you make them.  When he made it, I said, I thought it was next year.  He just smiled.  It was great.
I tell all the guys:  You're open, shoot it.  I think that had a lot to do with Jared Swopshire, who's not shooting a high percentage, and Peyton Siva.  We're not the best offensive shooting team.  But we shot 52 percent in the second half against a great team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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