The Rick’s Last Talk . . . For This Season

Actually Rick Pitino was quite upbeat in his last press conference of the season Tuesday following U of L’s disappointing loss to Michigan State in the Elite Eight.

To me, his most telling comment — maybe because it affirms my opinion of this teamĀ  — is that this year’s edition of the Cards was “one of the most overachieving teams I’ve coached.

“It took a lot of hard work and effort to achieve what we did. If you would have said 16-2 in the conference, I would have said ‘No way.’”

He opened the media session with generous and heartfelt appreciation of the women’s team, coach Jeff Walz and an acknowledgment of what Tom Jurich has done at U of L.

As for the Michigan State, he said Tom Izzo and Tom Crean did a great job of exploiting U of L’s weaknesses. “They took away the low post, made it a grind ‘em game.

“Our press was not a factor. We were only 1-9. We gave up too many offensive rebounds. They took away our strengths.”

Though I’m not sure exactly sure what he was trying to say, he mentioned that next year’s team will be lower maintenance. “This year’s group was high maintenance. We needed to constantly teach them the values of life. Having meetings for more than ten minutes was tough.”

As for next season, he indicated success will depend on how much the freshman develop?

“We’re losing a lot of defense and rebounding.

“Samardo needs to learn how to play power forward. Needs to work on his foot speed.

“Reggie Delk is going to be OK. He’ll play a much bigger role next year with TWill gone.

“Peyton Siva has great leadership potential. He’ll be like Andre McGee on defense, but he’s very explosive on offense.”

He talked, as he has before, about branding Louisville basketball so recruits talk about us. “We started winning soon after I got here. But it took awhile to build a brand. Louisville has arrived on the national scene and will be on the national scene for a long time.”

When asked about his future, he said, “Nobody has interest in me. I’m too damn old. I’ve got a unique situation here at Louisville. It’s fun.”

– Seedy K

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