The Big Ten's annual media day was held this year on October 15th and all the Big Ten coaches and selected players were able to give their thoughts on the upcoming season and their respective teams. It's a very exciting event and signals the official start to the college basketball season.
BTPowerhouse will be posting the various transcripts of each coach's statements to the press. Including below is the transcript from Minnesota's Richard Pitino
Richard Pitino On Big Ten Media Day
COACH PITINO: Well, excited, obviously, like everybody else, to roll up here. Like our team. It's a young team. Ithink the biggest thing moving forward is just getting them to understand that we're not going to be a young team all year. So it kind of stops today and we've got a lot of great opportunities for them to play and to do a lot of things on the court by learning on the court. So I know they're excited about it. I'm excited to really get rolling.
Q. Coach, can you just talk about the importance of the trip to Spain and how much that meant or your team this year.
COACH PITINO: I think the biggest thing, I don't know how much carryover basketball-wise, but what I think was good was for young guys to understand how we operate just on a day-to-day basis, how we conduct ourselves at the hotel, how we warm up, how we act in timeout, locker room. All those things that, if we don't have to address, now we can kind of get down to fundamental basics. It's good. Because like when you have four freshmen and all four are going to play, that's important, you know, to get all that stuff out of the way and really just lock in on the next opponent, next practice. So it was good. And the guys had fun. The chemistry part of it was huge as well.
Q. At times last year you expressed doubt, I guess, in Carlos Morris and in big moments you didn't trust him. I think you said that a few times.
COACH PITINO: No way I said that. Publicly I said that? I thought it, but I never said it.
Q. Do you have more trust for him this year in those kind of situations, both on offense and defense?
COACH PITINO: I really doubt I said I didn't trust him. What I would say is his shot selection was -- maybe that's what you're referring to. His shot selection was not always great. But he made a big one at Michigan State. He is cutting down on those shots, I think, which has been good. He's growing. You know, he was technically a freshman. He was a junior college player. So he learned a lot from last year, and I think he's primed to really improve. He's cutting down the mistakes. I think he had a good solid year, and I hope he will have a much better year this year.
Q. Coach, Mo Walker, you lost three guys. How are the young men progressing and coming to terms with that? How do you think that that affects?
COACH PITINO: Well, Bakary Konaté was progressing a lot and then he has a stress fracture in his foot. So he's been out last week and he'll be out three more weeks. It certainly hurt his growth. But I think it's a good opportunity for a bad stone to kind of step forward and improve and get more opportunities, get more reps in practice. Another thing we're going to have to look at is playing small in the front court with Joey King, Jordan Murphy, who is a freshman. So it gives those guys opportunities. So hopefully, it's something where Bakary heals because I do think that Bakary has a chance to be a very good big guy in this league for the next three years. And you know, Gaston is progressing. I think the biggest thing with Bakary and gas is foul trouble. If they can stay out of foul trouble and find a way to stay on the court, I think they'll be very productive.
Q. Coach, I'm wondering how the transition to all the new rule changes have been so far in practice. And in general, especially with the new 30-second shot clock, do you feel like that's going to change the way that coaches actually game plan and styles that we see?
COACH PITINO: For us, we don't go too deep into the clock a lot offensively. I've talked to a couple coaches. We do this 2-2-1 press that I think a lot of coaches will probably implement to slow you down -- we try to speed you up --but to slow you down a little bit so you can get in the half court; you don't have as much time. I don't think 30 seconds is substantially different. You know, some of the rules I think we're all trying to figure out right now. We had refs come to practice last practice and spoke to our team. And one thing for us, we pressure a lot, and no 5-second call, that's different for us. Arm barring the post is something that's different and new. So I think everybody's got a little bit of an adjustment period. I don't think 30 seconds is going to change a whole lot. I really don't.
Q. Coach, you said you're not going to use the "young team" excuse all season, but how important is it for a young group in a conference that is as talented as this one to get their feet under them?
COACH PITINO: We had an "old team" last year, and I didn't think it was easy either. I think it's just difficult regardless of what you're doing. They're going to have to grow on the fly. What's good for them is they're going to have to play right away. It's not like they're going to play in spots and not be a pro. Hopefully by the time Big Ten rolls around, they'll be ready. But I'm not going to use it as an excuse. We're not going to talk about it a whole lot. It's where we're at as a team. It's where we're at as a program. We've got a lot of young guys. Some guys are great potential. So it is a veteran's league so they've got to grow up quick.
Q. Richard, why would you say you don't think those extra 5 seconds are a difference but you do think more coaches will be moving to the 2-2-1?
COACH PITINO: I think that they will think that slowing it up, slowing it down, I guess, will be beneficial. I just don't know if it's substantially different. I don't know how many teams in our conference are playing that deep into the clock. Some do it different than others. Maybe just for us, I don't see it being a difference because you know, we shoot pretty quickly. I mean, sometimes too quick. But I just don't know if it's -- I have not sensed from the flow of our practices and our games that it has. Maybe once we get rolling, it will be a little bit different. Hopefully, teams aren't quick shooting. You know, biggest thing everybody wants is that NBA model. Well, LeBron James makes tough shots. So hopefully doesn't speed them up too much. But I just -- I don't think it's changed a whole lot of our flow. Maybe it's just our style of play. I'm not sure.
Read all of BTPowerhouse's preview coverage for the 2015-16 Big Ten season here.