This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Some final thoughts on Gophers' new head coach Richard Pitino

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches Updated: April 6, 2013 - 5:15 PM

I just finished my Sunday story (which will be online later tonight) -- and so it officially marks the end of the coaching search for me.

Quite the experience. Now I have a few leftover thoughts from the whirlwind.

Many of you have been asking what I think of the new coach, Richard Pitino. As of now, I have a lot of the same information you have: I’ve watched and heard him at the press conference, but I haven’t met him one-on-one yet. I’ve spoken to a lot of people that are close with him, and shared a lot of their thoughts with you as well. I’ve looked deeper into his past, read about his accomplishments, considered his age and experience; all the things that most of you probably did as soon as his name came up.

Of course, the real judgment – from everyone – will come next season, when we start to see how he executes the transition from FIU and the Sun Belt to the Gophers and the Big Ten.

But for now, my thought is this:

This is exactly what Minnesota needs right now. The Gophers are not only getting a fresh set of eyes on a program that has had trouble breaking out of the sticky trend of early success and late flops recently, they are getting someone who has the reputation of being full of energy -- a tireless worker, a relentless recruiter and someone who admittedly “live[s], breathe[s], eat[s], sleep[s] basketball.”

He has a good pedigree. He seems to have good instincts. He knows how to make an impression.

I can’t tell you whether Pitino will actually succeed in bringing the Gophers to the next level, whether he’ll be able to turn them into a perennial competitor in the Big Ten. I can’t guarantee you that he’ll win 20 games every season, as Tubby Smith did in five of his six years at Minnesota. I can’t promise he won’t disappoint, or that he’ll be the guy that Norwood Teague hopes he’ll be and that the fans are breathlessly awaiting for him to be.

But I do belive this: If Pitino ultimately fails – and I’m not talking about immediately because next year could be tough no matter what – it won’t be because he didn’t give it his all.

That Pitino will give it his all -- that is what I don't doubt.

As the University of Minnesota, then, how do you not go that direction? Fans of every program want to believe that their school is such that every great coach would love to come and be a part of it. It doesn't always work that way. Minnesota doesn’t have the same tradition and history as some schools do. It certainly doesn’t have the facilities and the perks. The recruiting ground, while improving, stil doesn't have the reputation for an overflow of talent. And yet still, even in arguably the toughest league in America, there is incredible pressure -- and a quick trigger if you don’t produce.

Guys like Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens, as I’ve been saying all along, were pipe dreams. Coming to Minnesota doesn't make any sense.

But a guy like Pitino – someone whose stock is still low, but ceiling is high – is the best kind of hire Minnesota could hope to make, in my opinion. There are plenty of characteristics with him (his work ethic, his immediate background, his experience, his mentors, his obvious maturity, his intellect) that make it likely that he will do well.

If it doesn’t pan out, well, the concept was still smart. The buyout (and salary) is smaller than it would have been with any coach that has been sitting in a head job for longer. If it does work out, the Gophers look like geniuses.

In the end, it was a risky move. But it was the kind of risk a smart businessman should take, every time.


We had a great package in today’s paper. Here’s all of our work:

*My story on Pitino being introduced to Minnesota.
*Video with myself and Jason Gonzalez, breaking down the press conference and what was said.
*Notes from yesterday.
*Joe Christensen: Players welcome the up-tempo style Pitino brings.
*Michael Rand: more details about Pitino’s salary.
*Chip Scoggins: Recruiting is key for Pitino.
*Sid Hartman: After days of complaints, suddenly he likes Pitino. How about that?
*Gonzalez: “Big Three” are on Pitino’s radar.
*Reaction to Pitino in Minnesota.


Some leftover quotes:

From former NBA veteran Walter McCarty, who played for Rick Pitino in Kentucky and with the Celtics, and then was an assistant coach with Richard Pitino (under Rick) at Louisville:

On seeing the “coach” in Pitino early: “When you’re around basketball so much – I can’t say that we knew that he was going to be a special coach or that we knew he was going to do this, but you could tell Richard was the one out of all the boys who really took to basketball. His brothers were big sports fans and loved the game, but not in the manner that Richard loves it. You could with Richard -- he knows the and he wants to be a coach. Follow in his dad’s footsteps.”

On Pitino’s work ethic: “He prepared like his father. Richard outworked anyone in the office. He was there before everybody. He left after everybody. He was on the phone. He was just always working and I think that’s one of the biggest [characteristics] he took from his father. He just outworked everybody and he was very prepared. And I think that’s what makes him stand out.”

On Richard growing up in his father’s shadow: “If Richard was going to be a coach, he was going to have to be either really good or really bad because he was going to always be compared to his father. And I think Richard understood that if he was going to be good – he was going to be great.

“He had to go out and show everybody – this is not because my dad. I’m not this good because of my dad … I’ve taken a lot from my dad, but I’m here because I deserve to be here and I’ve earned it.”

On Pitino’s maturity: “He’s not your average 30-year-old. He’s always been mature for his age as far as just seeing him progress out of college … He’s going to be able to get it done. He takes his job very seriously, he takes his craft very seriously. Those kids at the university – that program – will be the top priority.”

Leftover player quotes:

Andre Hollins:

“I was really impressed with the meeting he had with us today before the press conference and during the press conference. … It’s definitely exciting – getting up and down, I mean, I think that’s when I play my best basketball, pressuring people. Just being aggressive – that aggressive style. I really like that. He brings the presence of Billy Donovan and his father, so he’s learned from the best.”

“I’ve always played for coaches that have been significantly older than I am. I think he’s going to be able to relate to us a little bit more because he knows, he’s just 10 years older than me. So it will be cool.”

Rodney Williams:

“For those guys to have trust in him right away – I think that will be the toughest thing. But with his background and who he’s been under, I know those guys will buy in right away. He obviously knows his stuff and even though he’s only been head coach for a year, the guys he’s been under, I know he’s learned a lot.”

Austin Hollins:

“He really wants that hard-nosed defense, up the court. And then on offense, we’re just going to run and gun. And a lot of pick and rolls, getting up and down and getting a lot of shots up.”

“I think the sky is the limit. Our goals don’t change – we want to make the NCAA tournament again, of course, we want to go farther than we did. We want to win the Big Ten championship.”


Chicago 11:30 AM
Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Golden State 111 FINAL
Orlando 96
Brooklyn 99 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Portland 105 FINAL
Charlotte 97
Washington 87 FINAL
Cleveland 113
LA Clippers 104 FINAL
Detroit 98
New York 102 FINAL
Dallas 109
Toronto 126 FINAL
Atlanta 115
Milwaukee 103 FINAL
Minnesota 86
Sacramento 89 FINAL
Houston 102
Utah 82 FINAL
Oklahoma City 97
Indiana 100 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Denver 112 FINAL
Phoenix 120
Memphis 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 93
Winnipeg 2 FINAL
Buffalo 1
Washington 2 FINAL(OT)
NY Islanders 3
Philadelphia 2 FINAL
Detroit 5
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
Florida 1
Toronto 3 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Minnesota 0
Chicago 3 FINAL
Colorado 2
Calgary 2 FINAL
San Jose 0
Robert Morris 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 61
Rochester College 35 FINAL
Eastern Mich 68
Marist 68 FINAL
Fresno State 64
Butler 74 FINAL
North Carolina 66
Liberty 50 FINAL
Morgan State 51
Denver 57 FINAL
Belmont 78
American Univ 64 FINAL
Hampton 60
Sacred Heart 72 FINAL
James Madison 79
Northeastern 54 FINAL
Massachusetts 79
Samford 71 FINAL
Kennesaw St 84
Coastal Carolina 61
Hawaii 75 FINAL
East Carolina 73
Missouri 74 FINAL
Chaminade 60
Oklahoma 75
North Florida 72 FINAL
Elon 65
Oral Roberts 69 FINAL
Milwaukee 66
Chicago State 61 FINAL
Western Carolina 66
Purdue 87 FINAL
BYU 85
Furman 54 FINAL
Duke 93
San Francisco 72 FINAL
Evansville 79
Wisconsin 72 FINAL
UAB 43
Davidson 95 FINAL
UCF 69
Albany 75 FINAL
Colgate 71
Longwood 66 FINAL
George Washington 91
Delaware State 76 FINAL
Iona 126
Trinity Baptist 57 FINAL
Jacksonville 69
Cleveland State 33 FINAL
Louisville 45
St Johns 70 FINAL
Minnesota 61
PSU-Harrisburg 42 FINAL
Navy 67
Richmond 72 FINAL
NC State 84
Grambling St 54 FINAL
Notre Dame 81
Georgia State 83 FINAL
Oakland 78
Campbell 64 FINAL
Ohio State 91
Goucher 43 FINAL
Towson 97
Bryant 47 FINAL
Vermont 73
Miami-Ohio 63 FINAL
Virginia Tech 78
Mount St Marys 49 FINAL
Wake Forest 83
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Yale 82
Youngstown St 66
Canisius 60 FINAL
Cornell 67
Va Military 72 FINAL
West Virginia 103
Lehigh 86 FINAL
DePaul 74
UC Riverside 62 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 66
Morehead State 77 FINAL
Marshall 68
Miss Valley St 52 FINAL
North Texas 67
UNC-Asheville 75 FINAL
South Carolina 89
Tenn Tech 65 FINAL
SE Louisiana 86
Texas Southern 59 FINAL
SMU 72
Radford 50 FINAL
TCU 74
TX-Pan American 48 FINAL
Utah 85
Wayne St-NE 69 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Kansas State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 70
Northern Ill 49 FINAL
Iowa 70
Fla Gulf Coast 45 FINAL
Green Bay 59
Carroll (MT) 52 FINAL
Montana 75
Florida A&M 33 FINAL
New Mexico St 78
Auburn 71 FINAL
Oregon State 69
Eastern Ky 73 FINAL
Southern Utah 64
Stetson 41 FINAL
Wyoming 65
Northern Ky 60 FINAL
Eastern Wash 81
Utah Valley U 60 FINAL
Idaho State 57
Florida 65 FINAL
Georgetown 66
Northwestern 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 61
Georgia 76 FINAL
Gonzaga 88
Cal Poly 52 FINAL
California 72
Utah State 70 FINAL
UC Davis 77
Arizona 61 FINAL
San Diego St 59
Alabama State 68 FINAL
North Dakota 75
Portland State 63 FINAL
CS-Northridge 55
Tulsa 58 FINAL
Oklahoma State 73
Pacific 71 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 62
Missouri State 61 FINAL
Colorado State 76
Ohio U 24 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 21
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Kennesaw St 74 FINAL
Seton Hall 77
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 55
Illinois-Chicago 40 FINAL
Northwestern 61
UT Martin 75 FINAL
Samford 79
Niagara 63 FINAL
Binghamton 52
Radford 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 72
East Tenn St 69 FINAL
Indiana 97
North Dakota 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 52
Marshall 49 FINAL
Cornell 58
Oral Roberts 43 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 54
LSU 0 Postponed
Texas-El Paso 0
Boise State 59 FINAL
Yale 53
Evansville 39 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 83
(4) Tennessee 63 FINAL
Chattanooga 67
Delaware State 64 FINAL
Mount St Marys 73
Bradley 74 FINAL
Columbia 81
Providence 56 FINAL
Dayton 72
Presbyterian 43 FINAL
Xavier 45
Albany 64 FINAL
Canisius 59
VA Commonwealth 48 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Alabama A&M 44 FINAL
Alabama 75
Colgate 35 FINAL
(22) Georgia 66
Memphis 75 FINAL
Southern Ill 82
Oakland 64 FINAL
(16) Michigan State 79
Utah Valley U 49 FINAL
UC Davis 59
Butler 62 FINAL
BYU 81
TX-Pan American 45 FINAL
(6) Texas 72
McNeese State 27 FINAL
(7) Texas A&M 93
Milwaukee 80 FINAL
Marquette 85
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
TX-Arlington 80
Jackson State 70 FINAL
Chicago State 60
Indiana State 74 FINAL
South Alabama 53
Kansas State 0 Postponed
Santa Clara 0
Long Beach St 69 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 60
Iona 49 FINAL
Kansas 90
Fresno Pacific 60 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 82


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