Gophers coach Richard Pitino admits he has fun “shaming” players on his basketball team that don’t go hard enough in practice, so he came up with an idea to motivate them.
From the first practice of the 2018-19 season this fall, Minnesota’s players can earn a jersey that reads “I Practice Harder Than You.” It was Pitino’s way of rewarding who finishes ahead in plus-minus statistics charted throughout practice.
“I’m really big on shaming the rest of the players,” Pitino joked at Sunday’s media day. “We keep a running total. It’s on the TV in the locker room, as well as the film room. I give them extra water breaks and things like that within reason that you’re allowed to do.”
Pitino said players who finish in the bottom four on that list get extra conditioning at the end of practice. Senior captain Jordan Murphy and junior Amir Coffey were shown on Twitter wearing the jerseys last week. They’ve consistently outworked their teammates in practice this month.
“It’s been Amir and Murph basically have gotten them all,” Pitino said. “[Vanderbilt transfer] Payton [Willis] has gotten one as well. I won’t tell you who the bottom four guys are, but those are pretty consistent.”
McBrayer, Curry out
Senior guard Dupree McBrayer and redshirt sophomore Eric Curry were ruled out of Sunday’s Maroon and Gold scrimmage, Pitino said.
McBrayer, a captain from Queen, N.Y., missed the Gophers media day for a family emergency. Sources told the Star Tribune that he has been with his ailing mother.
Curry, who tore multiple ligaments and his meniscus last year, was fully cleared in the Oct. 20 scrimmage at Creighton. He’s recovered from a calf strain earlier this fall, but Pitino said Curry would sit out Sunday after some knee swelling.
“I don’t think it’s anything serious,” Pitino said about Curry. “He was good for most of practice, but we’re going to hold him out because of swelling.”
No update on Carr
The Gophers are still hopeful Pittsburgh transfer Marcus Carr will have his waiver accepted by the NCAA to play this season, but they’re still waiting for an answer.
Carr is requesting he should be eligible because Pitt coach Kevin Stallings was fired in the spring. The sophomore point guard from Ontario said Sunday he’s preparing himself just in case the waiver is denied.
“It’s definitely been an emotional ride every day trying to figure out what’s going to happen,” Carr said. “I’m just always staying prepared. Even if I wasn’t playing I’d still be going just as hard in practice to make sure these guys will be successful this season.”