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March 28, 2013

Luke Hancock

Rick Pitino

Peyton Siva


THE MODERATOR:テつ We are joined by the University of Louisville student‑athletes, Peyton Siva, Luke Hancock.

Q.テつ Peyton, the Oregon players were just in here, and they were asked what their advantage is against you, since there's been so much emphasis on your full‑court pressure.テつ The answer was that their half‑court offense is very difficult.テつ I wonder if you could speak to that, what particular problems that presents.
PEYTON SIVA:テつ They're a great team.テつ They won their conference tournament.テつ They're playing really well right now.テつ Both their guards are playing tremendous.テつ Ever since their other guard came back, I think they're about 7‑2 right now, and they're playing great.
The half‑court offense, they move the ball really well.テつ They're shooting lights out, and they were 8 for 11 against St. Louis.テつ For any team, that's going to pose a matchup problem for anybody.
We have to contain the 3‑point line, contain the offensive glass, and I think we'll be okay.

Q.テつ Peyton, since the Notre Dame game, can you remember a stretch where you guys have played as well as you played right now?
PEYTON SIVA:テつ Last year, when we made our run last year.テつ But I think around this time‑‑ Coach P really gets this team to play really well around this time of March, and right now we're just trying to continue to keep on the roll.テつ Everybody's really focusing in.テつ Everybody's really taking the scouting really serious.
And I think the main thing for us this year is our bench is playing a lot better, and with Kevin Ware, Luke, Montrezl, and Steve Van Treese.テつ Once the starters go out, we miss nothing when they come in.テつ And a lot of times we usually take the lead when they come in and the starters go out.
That's been our big thing this year, and that's really been helping us a lot, is our depth.

Q.テつ Luke, following up on that question, can you talk about that mentality that even though you may not be starting, you know under Coach Pitino you're still going to get considerable minutes and you need to be ready?テつ Is that an adjustment when you come from someplace where maybe you were the starter?テつ Can you just talk about that?
LUKE HANCOCK:テつ I guess it's a little adjustment, but honestly I set out for a whole year, so coming back it was kind of‑‑ everything was kind of new and different.
So like you said, it doesn't mean anything to Coach Pitino who starts and who plays.テつ Everybody's going to get their minutes.テつ Just got to go out there and play defense.テつ I think everybody's kind of gotten into a roll lately.テつ It's working for us.

Q.テつ For both players, Coach Pitino made a comment last week about this team not playing for the NBA draft lottery but playing for Louisville.テつ Was curious, just given how much emphasis is on the NBA, how that has become a part of the culture of this team and how many players on the team have NBA aspirations.
PEYTON SIVA:テつ I think for the most part everybody has dreams of playing in the NBA.テつ We wouldn't be playing basketball if we didn't.テつ But for right now, our goal, our main goal, is to make it to Atlanta and continue to win out.
As far as the NBA comes, it will be there.テつ If we make it or not, we're still going to play hard on the court no matter what.テつ We're living in the present.テつ We're not living for the future.テつ Coach P, he continues to tell us if we continue to play well together as a team, then everybody will get noticed.
For us, we just kind of continue to stay within our team.テつ And with the NBA, a lot of people talk about it, it creates egos, because a lot of people talk about this person going to the NBA, this person going to the NBA, then they think they're better than the rest.テつ And for our team, everybody stays within each other, everybody stays humble and grounded and try not to think about it too much.テつ When that time comes, when it presents itself, then I think a lot of people will be ready for it.テつ As of now, we're playing for each other and playing for the team.

Q.テつ This is for both Luke and Peyton.テつ What is it like when you first get to Louisville, learning this defense?テつ How long does it take?テつ And can you imagine trying to prepare for it in a matter of days?テつ The Oregon guys were talk being about putting an extra guy on the floor to simulate it or try to practice for it.
LUKE HANCOCK:テつ Takes a long time.テつ I had a whole year to sit out and watch, and I still came back this year and struggled early, really picking up the defense and where you should rotate, where you shouldn't rotate, what you should really be doing.
It's still ongoing.テつ Nobody's perfect, and Coach Pitino has never had a perfect player.テつ So it's an ongoing process.テつ I think even some four‑year guys make mistakes.テつ But it's your effort and making the rotations and things like that, just trying to get it done when you can.
PEYTON SIVA:テつ For the most part with our press is when you come in, you don't really know a lot.テつ You're in high school, you don't really play that type of defense.テつ So it takes time to get adjusted.テつ Even now as a four‑year starter I still have to get used to other players on the court because they're constantly changing.
As far as with me and Russ, I know where he's going to be, so I'm able to gamble a little bit more.テつ Whereas somebody like Kevin, when he first came in, I couldn't gamble as much.
You've got to read your teammates and know where the rotation is and know where Coach expects you to be at.テつ Sometimes you can take a gamble; sometimes you can't.テつ It takes a lot of team chemistry and takes a lot of practice.

Q.テつ Luke, at this point in the season, most teams are shortening their rotation.テつ I think you guys played nine players at least 15 minutes against Colorado State.テつ How has that evolved and how well are guys accepting fewer minutes and sharing the ball?
LUKE HANCOCK:テつ Kind of like Peyton said, we don't really anticipate too much of a fall‑off when starters come out and other guys come in.テつ We feel like we're a strong nine‑deep and all those guys can play.
So I think winning games is most important to us right now, and if somebody has to drop five minutes so somebody else can get in there and really get after it, I don't think anybody really cares.テつ We're worried about winning and focused on the next game.

Q.テつ Can you respond to the same question, just about the rotation and using so many guys, so many minutes.
PEYTON SIVA:テつ Kind of like Luke said, I don't think we have a fall‑off between our nine, ten deep.テつ I feel like those guys can start for any other team in the nation, and it's just a great thing for us to have that depth.テつ Just because we're bringing in new bodies constantly, constantly.
And with Coach, he wants everybody to go out there and just play hard.テつ And these guys are really going out there, playing hard and giving it all.テつ It gives a lot of us a breather, me, Russ, Gorgui and everybody.テつ We just have a good rotation right now.テつ Everybody's coming in, playing hard.テつ Everybody's coming out, cheering teammates on.
That's where it goes back to ego.テつ A lot of people might come out, be sad or sulking.テつ But with this team, if you come out, you cheer for the next person just as much as if you're in the game.テつ That's something really special about this team.

Q.テつ For either player, can you talk about Oregon's Kazemi?テつ I think he has 33 rebounds in the first two games.テつ How big a key that's going to be to keep him to a reasonable number on the boards and how you would go about that?
PEYTON SIVA:テつ He's doing great right now.テつ He's one of our main focuses, keeping him off the glass.テつ One of the big things against Colorado State was keeping them off the glass and keeping Iverson and Hornung off the glass.
Kazemi, he's energized.テつ He came at the beginning of the year and now he's starting and playing really well.テつ He's got 33 rebounds in the last couple games.テつ So that's going to be a tough task.テつ But I think our guys are up to it.テつ And if we continue to play how we've been playing, I think we can do it.
But it's not going to be easy, and as long as we continue to stick with our game plan, continue to box out, I think we'll be okay.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Fellas, thanks.
Okay.テつ We have Coach Pitino with us, and we'll just ask the coach to make an opening statement and then we'll take questions.
COACH PITINO:テつ It's been a long time since played in a tournament where you could take two buses, and last year we went to Portland and then to Phoenix.テつ So it's a big change for us and we're excited to be in Indianapolis, which is about two hours down the road, which is great.

Q.テつ Coach, I wonder how you describe Arsalan Kazemi's work on the boards and how you keep him off the boards.
COACH PITINO:テつ It allows them, because you watch them on film and he's battling two or three guys, and then three of their guys are starting out on the break and he's battling three guys and he always comes up with the ball and ignites the fast break.
So he's obviously got great length, terrific hands.テつ He's 42 years of age, so he's very experienced.テつ You know, he's just a terrific basketball player, and he's got great hands.テつ And then he puts it on the floor really well.テつ He'll rebound the basketball and go lane to lane, which is another attribute he has.

Q.テつ Rick, can you talk about your bench and how over the years you've been a coach who's played a lot of players and developed great bench strength.テつ What are the keys to doing that?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, I think that if you're going to apply full‑court pressure, you can't do it unless you use your scholarships.テつ I think you have to play your bench if you're going to apply a lot of pressure, if you're going to run the break.
So we've always done that.テつ And it's essential to playing good defense to have great confidence in your bench.テつ It really doesn't matter.テつ Even when we put in Stephan Van Treese for Gorgui, that is obviouslya difference in offensive talent, but we don't lose very much from a statistical standpoint.テつ Montrezl Harrell to Chane.テつ We don't lose much.テつ Kevin Ware in for one of the guards, we don't lose much.テつ Luke Hancock, we don't lose much.
So it's a nice thing to have when you don't lose much when you substitute.

Q.テつ Tony Woods said in the locker room a few minutes ago for a couple months, in his mind, he was a Louisville Cardinal.テつ I wonder your impressions of him as a player and now what do you think he means to that program, where Dana said they had such a huge need and he obviously filled it?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, he's very long.テつ He's very aggressive inside.テつ He's got great length.テつ He just adds‑‑ they have great size, and he adds to that.テつ Very good basketball player, certainly, and he's improved his offensive skills from when I saw him a few years ago to now.テつ So he's worked very hard at his game.

Q.テつ Curious if you've considered all the possibility of getting the call from Naismith Hall potentially with a team in the Final Four again, if you've thought about that at all?
COACH PITINO:テつ Not for two seconds until you brought it up.テつ I didn't even know it was being voted on.

Q.テつ Rick, there used to be this theory that you had to have three pros, three future pros to win the NCAA title.テつ If you look at the two teams before Kentucky, that doesn't necessarily hold true.テつ Why is that not as true as it used to be and how many players on your roster do you think will have NBA careers?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, used to be true when I was in the pros that you had to have three All Stars to win an NBA championship.テつ Obviously, it's been done.テつ I think the Houston Rockets did it with only two.テつ So it's not a hard‑and‑fast formula.
I think Gorgui Dieng is going to make a roster.テつ I think Peyton Siva is going to make a roster.テつ I think Russ Smith will make a roster.テつ Then depending upon how much the other guys improve down the road.テつ So whether we do or don't, I'm not sure.テつ I don't really think about that too much right now.
I just think that the game has changed, and it's not necessarily for the worse or better.テつ If you go back to the greatest teacher in the history of‑‑ I think of any sport to me was John Wooden.テつ But you can look at his roster and say okay, now, you got Kareem, you got Walton, you got all these guys from Gail Goodrich on, and you can say:テつ You know what?テつ Back when it first started, only took three games to get to a Final Four.テつ If you looked at a roster as they start to mature, you expect them to win a championship.
Then the North Carolina and the Kentucky teams, you watch them grow.テつ Today, it's not the case.テつ It doesn't necessarily make it worse.テつ It adds more excitement to it, because you see it just in the seeding.テつ How could now, as you look at that Oregon team, as I'm breaking down ten tapes, how could they possibly be a 12 seed?
Well, they got hot at the right time.テつ They've got terrific talent.テつ They're extremely well coached, and they're a 12 seed.テつ So it's fun today, because you have no clue to who's going to win.

Q.テつ Dana Altman was in here earlier kind of marveling over the fact that during this 12‑game run you guys have had, he said, you've only had one game which you won the game by under ten points, according to him.テつ I'm curious if, as pleased as you are with this dominance in this run, if you have any concern about your team being in a close game for the first‑‑ you know, tomorrow night for the first time in a long time, how they'll react, that type of thing.
COACH PITINO: テつI think this will be a very close game.テつ Their talent's exceptional, they rebound great, they're great defensively.テつ Anytime you can beat St. Louis, a hot team, by 20 points, hold them to 44 and have them totally out of their game, you know you're playing against a great team.
That being said, we were getting our butts kicked by Syracuse in the first half at Madison Square Garden and we just came out and played terrific in the second half.
So we expect to be in a close game every time out.テつ If you speak to our team, I had them convinced that North Carolina A&T was‑‑ they brought Jesse Jackson in because they thought they were winning.テつ I had them convinced of that.
So we play every game with great respect.テつ They're a humble group, and we've just been able to pull away at the end of some games.

Q.テつ Rick, last week Larry said that he couldn't simulate the speed of your guys, especially in a matter of a couple days, and Dana was saying pretty much the same thing.テつ How much of an advantage does it give you this time of year, not just the press, but the fact that teams don't see a lot of it with the quick turnaround times during the tournament?
COACH PITINO:テつ It's interesting, Travis Ford came to our practice, and he did not give us a scouting report at all, although I asked him a lot of questions, along with four other coaches about them.
He said the same thing.テつ He said:テつ Coach, when you watch Oregon on film, you can't simulate their speed in the open court or how physical they are.テつ That was his major point to me.
And somebody asked the question:テつ Why?テつ Why can't you do it on film?テつ I watch some high school players on film and I think they're really much better than they are because you can't tell the competition.
For example, if we were playing Georgetown right now and you watched our film of the game, very low scoring game, you really couldn't tell that we're that quick or they're that quick because of the way the game was played.
Now, if you're watching UCLA and Oregon, which I did watch, you can tell how fast both teams are, and you can judge their speed accordingly.テつ So it all depends.テつ Sometimes you just can't break it down on film how quick or how fast a team may be.

Q.テつ Coach, a little off topic.テつ Frank Vogel, head coach of the Pacers, talks about you glowingly.テつ He's got some wonderful stories about when he started his career with you in Lexington.テつ What might you remember about that back then?テつ And if you've been able to follow his career, your thoughts on what he's been able to do with the Pacers?
COACH PITINO:テつ I follow every game, every box score.テつ I've had over 25 assistant coaches go on to coach in college and professionals, and they're great friends of mine.テつ And I love following every one of them.
But Frank's a special case, because he wrote me a letter and said he followed me from the Five‑Star Basketball Camp, and he'd like to come work for me.テつ He was a high school kid at the time.テつ Started out as a manager.テつ And I said, Frank, you're better off trying at Rutgers.テつ Get a Metropolitan area.テつ He spoke like me and with an accent.テつ I said, These Kentucky people, it's a little different here.テつ You're going to be in 98 percent Kentuckians and you may be a duck out of water.
And he wrote me back, said, Coach, that's not why I want to come.テつ I want to come and obviously continue with the style that you're playing and so on.テつ And he moved up from a manager to a GA to a video guy, traveled with me with the Celtics.
And now I look back on that letter today, he's doing an unbelievable job with the Indiana Pacers.テつ Couldn't be more proud, couldn't be more happy for Frank and his family, because he's not only become a great coach, but he's a terrific person.
So I'm real, real excited and happy for him and follow every box score.

Q.テつ If you'll bear with me on a question on the other game.テつ You have two coaches who are very accomplished in March, as you have been.テつ From your perspective, what do you admire most about both Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo?
COACH PITINO:テつ Longevity of excellence. テつThey're both very different, but they're both very similar.テつ Both guys, when you have to play them, they bring certain qualities to the table at the defensive end, from a toughness standpoint, that you have to really be ready.
It's not so much difficult to prepare from an X‑and‑O standpoint.テつ It's difficult to prepare from a toughness standpoint.テつ Their teams always exude great toughness at the defensive end.テつ They are never out of games.テつ They're always in game.テつ And I have so much respect for both guys because of their longevity of excellence.
They just never let up in how hard they work, and even with Mike, I'm really a little happy for him that he gave up the Olympic gig, because I don't know how he did it.テつ After a full season, to go in and do that, then to prepare for another season and to do it at such a high level was amazing to me, that he could keep on doing that.
So they're both standard bearers for what we as coaches should follow from a blueprint standpoint of the way they carry their program with great integrity, and no rules violations, to the way they graduate their players, to the way they care for their players.テつ They're standard bearers in what our coaching profession is all about.

Q.テつ How much more have you seen Wayne Blackshear commit to the defensive end?テつ What's he doing well in that area, and also has his shoulder injury held him back at times offensively?
COACH PITINO:テつ I think he's over the shoulder injury now.テつ It held him back in the beginning.テつ Wayne is like Chane a little bit.テつ In high school, they were bigger, stronger, more physical than the people they're competing against.テつ Now they go to college where people are just as strong, just as quick, just as long.テつ Now is where the skill level has to improve.テつ And the ball handling, the shooting.テつ Wayne has improved a great deal in the shooting area.テつ Now he's got to become a better ball handler.
He is, I think, a good defensive player.テつ He's a tough young man.テつ So he just needs a lot of skill development to match his strength, and that comes, like it has with Gorgui Dieng or Russ Smith or anybody else, it comes with practice.
Defense, he's always been fine.テつ Defense has never been a problem with Wayne.

Q.テつ Going back to the other coaches question, with the three of yourself, Coach Izzo, and Coach K, and then you add in Coach Altman, there's a sense, from an outsider's standpoint, one of these things is not like the other.テつ And can you kind of address where Coach Altman fits in with yourself and Coach K and Coach Izzo?
COACH PITINO:テつ I don't know about myself.テつ But he's every bit as good as any coach that I'll coach against.テつ I think one of the things I really love about being in this business a long time, I coached against Frank McGuire in his last game at home at South Carolina.テつ I was able to coach against Coach Smith at North Carolina, was able to spend a lot of time with Coach Wooden.テつ Coached against Bob Knight many times.
So for me, it's been a tremendous treat.テつ Have not coached against Dana.テつ But always have watched his teams at Creighton.テつ There are so many great coaches in our game today.テつ When I first broke in, you made mention those guys, they stuck out.
Today, there are so many great coaches in this game.テつ You look at Brad Stevens and you look at Shaka Smart, and now you look at Andy Enfield, and then you go to the mid level and you look at Billy the Kid, and he's not a kid anymore.テつ And there are just so many great coaches in this game today because technology and the way it's used today has allowed all of us to learn so much about other styles.
And I stay up all night just to watch professional sideline out‑of‑bounds plays with coaches, NBA coaches call timeout, and they run great stuff not only to get the ball in, but to get a 3, to get a back‑door play.テつ And technology has allowed us to basically be in their library around the clock and taught us so much.

Q.テつ You mentioned longevity.テつ What is the number one key ingredient to that and how important is being able to adapt to a changing game, changing personalities in the locker room, things like that?
COACH PITINO:テつ I don't think‑‑ I remember being at Michael Jordan's basketball camp, and Bob Knight came in to speak.テつ And he said something that I thought was so true, so astute.テつ He said the kids never really changed when I was coaching.テつ The parents changed.
And to me, that's so true today.テつ The kids have not changed.テつ This team I'm coaching right now reminds me so much of the first team I coached at UK, and the '87 team I coached at Providence in terms of what type of special young men they are.
But what's changed dramatically are the parents have changed.テつ Not as much discipline in their lives.テつ A lot of love, but not as much discipline.テつ Not as much the word "no" to them.テつ Not as much focusing on certain things.テつ And I don't mean that's bad parenting.テつ It's just the way it is today.
And that being said, I think it's our job as coaches to say "no" more often, to make sure there's a lot of discipline in their lives, to make sure that it's not about just today.テつ There is tomorrow.テつ And there is a future.テつ It's not just about today.テつ The world's not coming to an end today if you have a bad night.
So it's just the culture has changed a little bit, but the kids are fantastic.テつ My last three years in coaching, I never thought I could have as much fun as my first two years at Kentucky or my two years at Providence.テつ And these three years‑‑ and it's not just because of a Final Four last year, because we got knocked out in the first round three years ago.
So I'm just having a blast.テつ The kids are just loving, loving individuals and just great to be around.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thanks, Coach.テつ We'll see you tomorrow night.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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