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 Pitino thoughts from the Golden Gopher road trip

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches Updated: June 6, 2013 - 12:44 PM

For those of you who aren't aware, the University of Minnesota athletic department recently planned a series of tours across the state to connect with fans and fundraise, the most recent stint of which was just completed on Tuesday.

Since everyone can't get out and travel along with the Golden Gophers crew (myself included), I thought I'd help share some of what new coach Richard Pitino had to say on Monday in Byron -- recorded thanks to colleague Joe Christensen, who was in attendance.

Full audio of his short talk is here.

A lot of what was said was predictable. Pitino smartly lauded Minnesota fans as unique, saying:

"These things mean a lot for me because I didn't grow up here and I haven't spent a lot of time in the state. So for me to be able to meet all you people is really really important -- for me to understand how important this whole athletic program and all of these programs are to you guys. That's the unique thing. I tell everybody this everywhere I go -- this place is so unique from where I worked in Louisville or at the University of Florida. And the reason is, there's no division of fan bases in this state."

He called Norwood Teague the "best athletic director in the country," he gave a shout out to his staff, and he pumped his fast-paced, fun-to-watch style.

The most interesting, however, was listening to how he characterized the players in going through the roster.

It's clear by listening to Pitino that he has a very amiable sense of humor. Before delving into comments on the individual players, the coach paused saying "I haven't checked my phone, someone may have transferred or whatever it may be, failed out."

Here's just a little bit of what he said about each player:

Austin Hollins -- "I think he's going to have a great year. I think he had a really good year last year. I'm excited about him. I think he's going to be a very, very good player for us and he'll be a major impact guy for us."

Maverick Ahanmisi -- "I won't try to pronounce his last name. Mav is a guy that will play a couple positions for us. The great thing about Mav is he can shoot the basketball and that's extremely, extremely important for how we want to play."

Malik Smith -- "He's a one-year kid for us who was at FIU, there's these new rules, you can bring in a guy for one year and then you get rid of him -- it's great, I wish we could do that with all of them, but we won't. Malik is a great kid, he knows our system, he knows our style, he's probably as good of shooter in the country from the 3-point line."

Deandre Mathieu -- "Lightning fast. You guys will love watching him. He will probably drive me crazy but he's entertaining."

Elliott Eliason -- Currently studying abroad with Andre Hollins as part of the Carlson Business School. "I have a competition with him that I can do more pushups than him and I'm positive that I can do it right now. We did it the other day, I beat him 5 to 4 (joking) and he's going to continue to improve. I think Elliott is going to be a great player for us, he just has no muscle on him."

Andre Hollins -- "I think Andre is the epitome of a student-athlete. He's not just about basketball. ... He's going to be successful whether or not it's on the court or in the business world at some point in his life. He's a special, special kid and a really good player."

Oto Osenieks -- "He will play a little bit at the forward spot for us, the 4, the 3, whatever it may be."

Mo Walker -- "He's lost 20 pounds since I took the job and he's probably got to lose about 30 more. And we don't start until October, so we're going to get there eventually."

Wally Ellenson -- "He is in the nationals for the high jump -- that's top-15 in the country. ... I had no idea he was even good at it, and he's shown he's as good as anyone out there. So you never know, he could surprise somebody and win it all. He's surprised us to this day, so hopefully he can surprise me on the court as well."

Daquein McNeil -- "He is a guy that I think is a guy I think is going to be very good down the road. He's got potential, he can play multiple positions, fit really well with our style.

Charles Buggs -- "Another guy that I think you're really going to see some good things out of, he's just got to put on some weight."

Overall: "I like our roster -- it could change. We've got another scholarship, who knows where that will go or what we'll do with it. The key with every coaching change is to bring in the right fit. You can't just give away a scholarship just to fill a spot."

*Pitino wouldn't go into roles specifically because he said the team hasn't done any 5-of-5 scrimmages yet.

*Pitino elaborated on his style of play, comparing it to his dad's system at Louisville: "We're going to put a premium on conditioning, we're going to put a premium on playing a lot of guys. My practices will be not very long because if you go that fast, you can't go really long. We'll shoot a lot of threes, certainly, and I told somebody the other day, the reason you shoot a lot of threes is because there are no fours, if there were, we'd shoot fours. It's more than two."


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
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