In late June Coach Pitino updated his GopherSports blog with some early summer thoughts, particularly on the newcomers. He posted more yesterday with some thoughts on the returners. Here are some of the highlights and my thoughts. You can read the post on newcomers here and returners here.
When discussing the returning players Pitino highlights what a few of them really need to continue to improve on. None of these were anything we didn't already know. Carlos Morris and Charles Buggs need to improve shot selection, Joey King needs to rebound better, Nate Mason needs to be better from the foul line and Bakary Konate needs to defend without fouling.
I did particularly like these comments on Mason though.
Has to avoid the sophomore slump. Can’t buy into any hype about last season. I hope he remembers that he wasn’t voted on the all-freshman team. Has to use that as motivation. He has the ability to be an all-conference guard if he continues to improve.
The kid is very good and needs to stay motivated. He steps into a role as one of they key guys for this team because he is talented and because of the departures of our starting backcourt.
Carlos Morris seems to be motivated for his senior season and is working hard this summer. If he really improves his shot selection and becomes a more consistent player on both ends of the floor, then the outlook for this team begins to improve a bit.
In the paint we still know nothing and it all hinges on what we get out Konate and Diedhiou. I can't think of a time when we had such an unknown like this heading into the season.
Expect that Kevin Dorsey will play a lot from day 1.
DeAndre Mathieu speed. Can go by anyone. Tough, physical defender. Needs to work on defending without fouling. Has shown me in a few workouts he's a better shooter than I anticipated. He should make an immediate impact.
And I would put money on Jordan Murphy getting the second most minutes out of these four freshmen. In addition to the comments below, Pitino makes a point to say how impressed he is with Murphy's leadership for such a young guy. I think we are gonna like this kid.
Powerful, explosive athlete. At times has some Rodney Williams in him when he dunks the ball. Should be an elite defender and rebounder. Has long arms and can be a matchup problem on both ends. He's 228 this morning and moves great.
Sounds like Gilbert and McBrayer need to add some strength and weight, but both can score and both are going to have to play this year.
Other Notes from the blog entries
- All five graduated seniors actually graduated. Good for them, well done.
- Close to solidifying a marquee home-and-home series that will alternate home/away opposite when we are home/away for Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
- They are allowed 10 practices leading up to their trip to Spain on August 10th. With such a young team that trip and those extra practices should be hugely beneficial.
- Next three weeks are all about recruiting for the staff.
I'll leave you with this quote...
My message to them is don't forget about our 6-12 Big Ten record. Remember it, learn from it, and never let it happen again.