Last spring, Montrezl Harrell went back and forth with decisions about his future.
He could have joined the heralded 2014 NBA Draft class, where he likely would have been a first-round pick, but he turned down the shot at millions of dollars to instead play another season at Louisville under Rick Pitino. Harrell announced his decision on April 14 via Twitter.
Pitino was likely ecstatic to get the big man back for at least another season.
But Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino wasn’t as enthused.
When the Gophers men’s basketball squad steps onto the court inside the Coast Guard’s Air Station Borinquen on Friday night, the team faces the daunting task of stopping No. 8 Louisville’s potent offense.
Louisville’s attack ranked eighth in the NCAA last season and produced more than 82 points per contest.
This could be trouble for Minnesota, which has looked inconsistent defensively in both its intrasquad scrimmage and in its exhibition contest.
Minnesota topped Minnesota-Duluth in Thursday night’s exhibition victory.
Before the Gophers pulled off their full-court press with about 13 minutes remaining in a 95-68 exhibition victory against Minnesota-Duluth on Thursday night, they flashed the defensive intensity coach Richard Pitino wants them to play with.
“It’s what we want,” Pitino said. “We didn’t get as many steals as I would like, but I thought we were really aggressive. We were trapping; we were pressing.”
DeAndre Mathieu and Andre Hollins pestered opposing guards all over the floor.
Daquein McNeil slouched in a chair on Williams Arena’s floor, clutching a basketball in his hands, nonchalantly staring at the floor.
When a reporter walked over to ask him questions, the sophomore guard glanced up with a “Who, me?” look on his face. Surrounded by the team’s stars, DeAndre Mathieu and Andre Hollins, McNeil was surprised someone wanted to talk to him.
Richard Pitino is trying to establish a stronger post presence this year.
Tubby Smith didn’t hide the fact that he wanted a new practice facility during his six-year tenure as the University of Minnesota’s men’s basketball coach, and now more than a year into Richard Pitino’s time at the helm, the facility still hasn’t been built.
But that hasn’t stopped the men’s basketball coach from working to improve his team’s practice conditions.