Note: the tip time of tonight's home game vs. Rutgers has been changed from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
After the Gophers first game since senior Carlos Morris was dismissed, Minnesota coach Richard Pitino sounded mostly pleased with how the remaining rotation has shaken out.
But as expected, the biggest shift of weight appears to land on freshman Kevin Dorsey and there will tweaks to mend as he adjusts to more playing time as well as a new position.
With Morris, the Gophers' backup shooting guard, gone, the 6-foot freshman will be expected to fill in at that spot more regularly as well as back up point guard as he's done all year.
"I think the only thing that threw us out of whack a little bit was Kevin at the 2," Pitino said on Monday.
The trouble, the coach surmised, was from Dorsey still learning the specifics of plays at that position, having only first stepped in at shooting guard -- a position Pitino originally said he'd never play the undersized guard at -- on Jan. 30, when Morris was absent while attending the funeral of a family friend.
Dorsey played well that night, putting up a new career-high 21 points and pushing the pace that put Minnesota within breathing distance of an upset. In the 68-63 upset win over No. 6 Maryland on Thursday, Dorsey finished with seven points and three rebounds in 29 minutes. Pitino said his freshman was unsure of the correct at times.
Monday, Pitino continued to get Dorsey comfortable at his new position in practice ahead of Minnesota's game against Rutgers (7:30 p.m., BTN).
"We've got to continue to get him reps in practice at those plays and he'll be fine," he said. "I don't think from a basketball standpoint, Kevin at the 2 hurt us at all, it was just an offensive execution standpoint."
The King's Speech.
Thursday, after the Gophers completed their upset, senior Joey King went on camera with Big Ten and opened up a vein -- an emotional postgame speech that has since gone viral (watch it here). That night, Pitino said the moment made him want to cry as well. On Monday, he added a few more of his thoughts on his veteran's message:
"I don't think as a coaching staff we felt real good about ourselves the last couple months when you lose like that," he said. "But that was one where you say 'OK, maybe we're doing some things right.' It was nice for all of us. It's nice for a kid from Minnesota who grew up wanting to play for the Gophers, wanting to play for the state, playing for all the right reasons. It was the most selfless speech I've heard from a college kid. You don't normally get that. He's a special kid. He only cares about winning. He could care less about his stats ... [He said] 'Everybody knows our team, we'll be good NEXT YEAR.' That's tough for a senior to admit that and kind of embrace that and it was really nice. I'm glad he's getting recognized for it because I think people get on him -- why, I don't know because all he does is care about being great for this state and this university."