Pioneer Press: Rick Pitino: ‘Really special’ Gophers basketball season on horizon


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Nov 11, 2008
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per Chad:

Rick Pitino, the Hall of Fame basketball coach at the University of Louisville, has spent time in recent months texting with players on his son Richard’s basketball team.

The messages aren’t long, Rick said in a phone interview Monday, just quick advice or motivational quotes.

He does so because he sees potential for the Gophers men’s basketball team to improve on a turnaround season that culminated in the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013. With his son at the helm, the Gophers went from 8-23 in 2015-16 to 24-10 last season, and Rick thinks they can be even better in 2017-18.

“If these players are worth anything, they’ve got to be extremely motivated to take it to the next level,” Rick said. “I believe those guys are that type of people. They’ve got size, they’ve got quickness, they now have more depth on the bench.

“It was new to them to make the NCAA tournament, so they should be champing at the bit to make this year even more special. I personally believe they will.”

Rick said he’s looking forward to seeing improvement from center Reggie Lynch of Edina and soon-to-be sophomore Amir Coffey of Hopkins.

“He’s loaded with talent and skills, and he’s only going to get better and better,” he said of Coffey. “The sky is the limit to his potential.”

For now, though, Richard and the Gophers are enter the summer with the understanding that expectations are raised.

“He knows right now what to do to take the next step,” Rick said of his son. “Now the players have to realize how much fun it was last year, and how this year could be something really, really special.”

Go Gophers!!


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Jan 21, 2010
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One proud and very intelligent father. He has seen enough games in person to be objective.
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