REDWOOD FALLS -- Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino spoke at an event here today as part of the athletic department's 16-stop road trip around the state.
Pitino touched on a number of topics, including news that junior guard Joe Coleman received a release from his scholarship so that he can transfer.
Pitino said he met with Coleman a few days ago and indicated that Coleman had been considering transferring for a few weeks.
"Joe is a great kid," Pitino said. "I didn’t want him to leave. I wanted him to stay. I thought he would have been a nice piece to what we’re doing. But I think Joe had thought about it over the last couple of weeks about potentially getting a change in scenery. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a really good kid. He deserves a lot of success."
Here is Pitino on a few of his players, including a few one-liners that he delivered to the estimated crowd of 400 who attended the luncheon:
-- On juco point guard Dre Mathieu: "He’s about as quick of a guard as you’re going to see in the Big Ten. He’s lightning fast. He’s probably only 5-10 but he can windmill dunk and do some things that are unbelievable. He’ll be fun to watch."
-- On center Elliott Eliason: "He won’t be able to play until he beats me in a pushup competition. We’ve got to get him in shape, but I actually do think that he’s going to have a great year. I believe it and he needs to believe it. Once he gets in great shape, he’s going to be a difference-maker for us."
-- On center Mo Walker: "He’s lost 20 pounds, which is great. The old expression, that’s a deck chair off the Titanic as they say. He’s got to lose about 40 more and he will. He’s been awesome. He’s been committed. He’s staying here [this summer] instead of going home, which shows a lot about him. He wants to do it. He’s changed his diet."
-- On redshirt freshman Charles Buggs: "He could be the guy who makes the biggest jump."