Yesterday was Minnesota basketball media day, which presented the opportunity for us scribe types to meet many of the newcomers in person for the first time as well as catch up with the returners, whom we haven't heard much from since April.
In case you missed it, here is my story in today's paper on the four critical seniors trying to seize their new roles.
There will be plenty of other tidbits to come. In the meantime, ten questions, answered:
Q: What comments do you hear most from other players about your game?
DeAndre Mathieu: I get the speed thing a lot, I'm fast. It's mostly my teammates telling me I'm fast. We'll be in a drill or something and they've got to press. I'll beat the whole press and they'll be like man, you're too fast. They'll tell coach P [Richard Pitino] 'He's too fast, I don't know what to do.' I take that as a compliment, but I don't just want to be known for my speed, I want to bring different things to the table.
Q: Among you and your teammates, you gets the crown for video game king?
Mo Walker: It depends on the game. I have to give myself the credit for NBA 2K.
For Madden and FIFA, DeAndre Mathieu probably has those titles.
Q: How has the new team been bonding? How important is that part?
Andre Hollins: I like the culture here -- it's great, the camaraderie. The seniors, the older players, when the younger players come in they kind of take them under their wing and just bond with them. That's been going on every since I stepped foot on campus.
Q: You put on 20 pounds this summer. Has it been hard to keep on that weight?
Carlos Morris: I'm eating like five or six meals a day. You have to weigh in every day. So if I haven't been eating like I'm supposed to, I'm going to get in trouble ... you don't want [strength and conditioning coach] Shaun Brown mad at you. He's just the coolest guy, and when he gets mad at you, it's just like 'Aw, man.'
Q: What do you think about Minnesota Nice?
Josh Martin: I didn't think it was true when I was in Seattle because I heard about it. When I got here I was like 'There ain't no way people are going to be that kind.' But it was true. Aggressively kind is right. You go in a gas station, people want to pay for your gas!
Q: What has been the biggest on-court adjustment for you in coming to Minnesota?
Bakary Konate: I think it's the speed. The game goes too fast and there is a lot more contact compared to Spain experience.
Q: Who do you think fans might be surprised by this year?
Elliott Eliason: Day Day and Carlos might surprise. I don't think [fans] saw Day Day much and Carlos is a new guy, but I think they could do great things.
Q: What kind of advice have you given your new roommate, Josh Martin?
Joey King: When it comes to school, just taking care of business because you know you're not going to want to be doing that homework on a 3 a.m. plane ride on the way back from a win.
Q: How many dunks since you've been here?
Josh Martin: It's in the double digits, maybe almost in the triples, I don't know. I try to have contests with my teammates but they don't want no work (laughs)
Q: What game are you most excited for this season?
Mo Walker: I'd be lying if I didn't say Louisville. We all want to win for coach. It's a big game for him, it's a big game for us and it starts off our season. So it will be good to compete against one of the top-10 teams in the country.
**The team has a new walk-on on the roster: Darin Haugh. The 5-foot-10 junior guard hails from Prior Lake and went to high school with Joey King at Eastview. He transferred Bethany Lutheran College this year.
**Mathieu had a deep cut over his left eye on Tuesday, complete with seven stitches. "It's my second [injury]," the point guard said. "I got a concussion last week and then I just got this yesterday. Joey and Josh were going for a rebound, Joey went up with one arm and swung the other one I just happened to be there."
Have there been a lot of rough and tumble casualties in practice so far? Mathieu laughed. "It seems like they all keep happening to me," he said. The Knoxville native, of course, has a reputation for throwing his body around the court.
**The new locker room at Williams Arena is nearly complete. Pitino tweeted an updated picture last night.
**Want more media day? If you missed the live stream on BTN2go yesterday, you can watch the replay here.
**I plan on doing a new aMAILiaBAG early next week some time, so start with the questions now and I'll begin compiling them. Email me at email@example.com or tweet me @AmeliaRayno.