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Rick Pitino on Montrezl Harrell’s relationship with Louisville freshmen: ‘he is at least speaking to them now’

In preparation for his team’s Sweet 16 matchup against North Carolina State, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino spoke a bit about this season’s challenges of working six freshmen into his core rotation. Pitino told The Jim Rome Show it hasn’t been the easiest job blending the young players with his upperclassmen, who want to win now, especially when one veteran doesn’t have greatest patience.

“These type of freshmen just have to be nurtured, have to be developed, they have to evolve into basketball players,” Pitino said. “Our upper classmen like Montrezl Harrell, they don’t have any sympathy for these guys. Montrezl is the type of guy ‘if you’re not ready to bring it then just get out of the gym.’ I just keep telling Montrezl that’s just not the way it is with these guys.”

Coach Pitino says Harrell struggles with the concept of anyone coming to college not fully prepared, mentally and physically, like he was as a freshman.

“He came in as a freshman, played really hard every position, he doesn’t tolerate anyone who doesn’t play hard. But, he was physically capable of playing hard; these guys when they’re that light and that thin they couldn’t play as hard as him as a freshman.” said Pitino. “Some of these guys don’t have what he had as a freshman and his tolerance and patience aren’t the greatest.”

Although the Hall of Fame coach said Harrell is a great leader, but just with a different approach.

“He leads by tenacity, he leads by intensity and great passion,” said Pitino.

As for if any of his season long preaching has softened Harrell, the two-time national champion thinks maybe a bit.

“He’s learned and he is at least speaking to them now,” said Pitino.

  • Rick Pitino
  • Mar 25th 2015

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