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  • May 16, 2013 - 6:19 PM

TALKERS Join the chatter on our blogs at startribune.com/sports

Amelia Rayno: New Gophers guard Malik Smith talks about Pitino, adjustment

Malik Smith, a 6-2, 170-pound guard originally from Boston, Mass. verbally committed to the U on Wednesday morning. Smith played for Richard Pitino last season at Florida International, where the senior-to-be averaged 14.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists a game. Smith is Pitino’s third commit (all guards) at Minnesota. Here is Smith on a number of subjects:

Q I know you had several other schools interested in you. Was it a tough decision to choose Minnesota in the end?

A It wasn’t tough at all. When I think about playing with coach Pitino again, it seemed like an easy transition coming from FIU and already playing in the system and already knowing the tendencies and him seeing my tendencies. So once I knew he was interested, I pretty much knew I was going to go.

Q What originally drew you to playing for him?

A He’s a demanding coach, he’s going to get the best out of you. His system works with anybody. ... It’s very up-tempo, fast-paced, a lot of pressing, a lot of shots and it’s proven to work. ... I’m sure he knows what he’s doing and I think he’ll do it again and turn things around at Minnesota.

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