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

Gophers postgame: Rick Pitino talks to Gophers team after Austin Hollins notches 1,000

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: December 11, 2013 - 12:14 AM

Read my story on Austin Hollins' impressive night en route to eclipsing 1,000 career points here.

When Richard Pitino came out on the court before the Gophers' 75-59 win over South Dakota State, he noticed something a little more different than usual: hecklers.

It was his father, and two of his brothers, wrapped in maroon-and-gold scarves, there to surprise him.

"When I walked on the court and I saw [my dad] and I saw my idiot brother yelling at me or something, so I noticed all of them over there," the younger Pitino said with a smile. "It was great – a lot of fun ... I’m glad we got the win in front of him. I brag about this place so much that I wanted him to see it, so I’m happy he got a chance to come see it."

Pitino sat behind the bench with his son's wife, Jill, while the brothers sat one bleacher over. The father, who spoke to Big Ten Network at halftime, praising the Gophers program, visited Florida International for a couple of games last year. The veteran coach has a house in Miami.

"He looked good in maroon and gold," the son joked. "I think maybe if one of our guys gets a job, we’ll just slide him right in as an assistant coach. I did three years with him, he’s got to pay me back."

While he was in town, Pitino was able to witness a little bit of Gophers history -- with Austin Hollins reaching the 1,000-point plateau with an outstanding performance.

After the game, the Louisville coach -- who personally congratulated Hollins -- spoke to the team as a whole, his message echoing amongst the players.

"He told us we had the ability to be a Final Four team if we just think we’re a Final Four team," DeAndre Mathieu said. "Just go out there every day and get better on defense."

Asked whether he winced at his father pumping up the pressure on a rebuilding team with Final Four talk, the younger Pitino shrugged and noted he sees promise in the fundamental nature of the team, which is growing steadily.

"I think what he’s saying, and I said this to our team – two years ago when I was an assistant coach and we went to Final Four at Louisville, we started two walk-ons," Pitino said. "By no means am I saying we’re a Final Four team, but what we had on that team was great chemistry, great substance, we were very humble and we went on a run. If we don’t lose those things and obviously continue to get better, we could do the same. We’ve just got to believe it.

"I think one of the thing about our guys – and he said it to the team, the difference between our guys and his guys, they believe they’re all lottery picks and they believe they’re going to win the national championship. I’m not sure a guy in our locker room believes that just yet. But that comes with confidence, that comes with hard work, which we’re trying to build right now."

Other notes from tonight's win:

  • Austin Hollins' masterful 20-point, 14-rebound, three-assist, zero-turnover game got all the attention -- and rightfully so. The senior guard notched 1,000 career points in style. (Read all about it in my story above.) But Elliott Eliason quietly had a great game of his own, coming off an injured ankle and grabbing 12 rebounds to go with 10 points. Overall, the Gophers out-rebounded SDSU, 40-30.
  • The Gophers had a second consecutive slow start, before Hollins sparked the team. A lot of that, Pitino said, has had to do with the slower schedule. He doesn't appear to be concerned about a rising trend. "I think it’s situational," he said. "I think we’ve all looked at the calendar and we’re a little concerned with this time period – that’s just natural. We were playing in Maui, then we played Florida State at home. We knew we were going to come down from that a little bit. Their focus was really good this game. I don’t think they let up with their mentality at all.
  • One game after having a negative assist-to-turnover ratio (with 16 turnovers and 15 assists against New Orleans), the Gophers righted their ball handling, recording 21 assists to seven turnovers.
  • Andre Hollins was 13 shy of the 1,000 mark before the game and didn't quite make it, finishing with eight points. The guard is still searching for his shot right now. He heads into next Friday's game against Nebraska-Omaha five short of the milestone. He noted tonight, it would have been cool to do it heading into his 21st birthday, which is tomorrow.
  • Pitino said he plans to talk to his dad about Louisville eventually playing at Minnesota, saying it was something the elder Pitino was open to. He also joked "We can’t place twice in one year we can only play once, so we’re playing next year." The tentative plan is that the Gophers and Louisville will meet on a military base in Puerto Rico in November of 2014.
  • Mathieu on seeing the elder Pitino at the Barn: "It shocked me when he walked in, because he had on the maroon sweater and the scarf and everything. I was like Aw, man, that’s crazy. That’s really Rick Pitino in the building."


Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56


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