By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - Arriving in town for a 9:00AM press conference Friday morning, Richard Pitino likely had his full day booked solid. Presser at 9:00, TV interviews at 10:00, schmoozing with boosters at 11:00. But before he started his day, Pitino made a point to sit down and meet with his players Friday morning and share a bit of what they might expect.
The entire men's basketball team was on hand Friday morning for Pitino's press conference at Williams Arena. Afterwards, the players branched out offering themselves up for on site interviews and telephone interviews with the local media.
While his teammates met the media on site, Gophers point guard Andre Hollins hopped on the telephone and called in to chime in with KFAN and the Paul Allen Show.
"We met with [Coach Pitino] about 40 minutes before his press conference," Hollins told KFAN. "He was kind of just giving us his vision for things about what he's going to bring to the program...to be specific he said that he's going to have Louisville's defense and Florida's offense."
Hollins, a sophomore, showed a particular keenness towards running the ball up the court in the Gophers' fast break offense and said he was looking forward to Pitino implementing a similar style of play at Minnesota.
"It's fun running up and down [the floor]," Hollins added. "The game has evolved so that it's more up and down. Think about all the Final Four teams, it's a lot of up and down except Syracuse, but they still get up and down. The game's just, it's changing and I figure he's bringing a fresh approach to it."
Hollins, a Tubby Smith recruit, also commented on what it has been like for him and his teammates the past week and change as they saw their coach get let go and then followed the rumor mill with the rest of us during the search for Smith's replacement.
"It was just weird," Hollins explained. "It was like we were at home and our parents just leave and we get new parents. It was just weird, we were in limbo but I think Norwood Teague made a great hire."
When asked if there was ever any thought to leave town after Tubby was let go, Hollins answered with a firm no.
"We're all, pretty much, we're staying. It'd be kind of weird and crazy to up and go. Once I make a commitment to somewhere, I don't just up and leave...We have to move on, move forward and get better."
Meeting the press on the floor of Williams arena, junior forward Austin Hollins also chimed in on the new coaching hire.
On the fast paced system - "I think everyone likes to play up and down...we're going to be pressing, forcing turnovers...running up and down on offense with a little freedom is going to be good I think."
On meeting Pitino Friday morning - "He really gave us a positive vibe. He's coming in and he has a solid plan that he really wants to enforce. He knows what he wants to do and I think all of the guys are on board with that."
On learning that Tubby had been fired - "Yeah I was surprised. I think everyone was surprised. You never know what's going to happen. Although we were surprised, I was saying earlier, It's part of the business. We have a solid foundation and the new coach will take over and we're going to learn his system and thrive in it."
Aj Mansour covers the Twins, Vikings, & Gopher Football for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions on this post or others in the designated section below...