Justin Gaard on KFAN

MaxyJR1

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His second segment hit on Pitino today and he acknowledged he is biased because of his job. However I think he did a great job explaining why the Minnesota basketball community needs to look in the mirror a bit and get with the times.

Recruiting: Listed the number in state recruits Fleck has gotten each year. Says Fleck lives and breathes recruiting and still kids leave. Basically Minnesotans feel entitled that all MN kids should get their first offer from MN.


Transfers are here to stay. 1000 kids transferred (3 per team) last year. Even Fleck gets it and is “living in the portal”. So realize the next basketball coach will too get transfers

Luck: Pitino has had some bad luck and that skews win percentage. He had the best team since 1997 and off the court issues took it down. Injuries have taken this season down.

He got two top MN kids to stay and they both left early to NBA, and that’s hardly talked about.

Just yesterday. Wisconsin starts 3 Minnesotans and got handled by Illinois. Marquette starts two Minnesotans and is under .500 in the Big East and got throttled yesterday.
He understands change is coming and understands it, but people need to realize that a new coach will work many of the same ways.
 

forever a gopher

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With Gaard in the position he has, he really can’t bad-mouth the team or it’s current coach. I’m sure his tune will change somewhat when they can Pitino and he has a new guy to suck up to.

So was he advocating that Pitino should stay? 8 years isn’t long enough sample size? Good grief some people have an absolute fear of the unknown or some complex like we don’t deserve nice things. Could we hire a new coach and make things worse? Sure, it’s possible. However, according to the standings in the majority of Pitinos seasons at the helm, it can’t get much worse. I’ll roll the dice and Gaard can scurry back into his hole.
 

UpAndUnder43

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Thanks for the recap. Interesting tidbits in there.

Agreed that Minnesotans feel entitled. A lot of the kids who have left went somewhere like Duke, or have had kinda ho hum careers. Is anyone really longing for Davison, Wahl or Reuvers? I am not. Wright would have been great, Terry and Travis went to Stanford (solid school) and Suggs is on the nations #1 team.

I’d like more kids to stay home but I really just want a properly constructed roster. I want gameplanning and wins. Pitino didn’t provide enough of that so far in his tenure.
 

UpAndUnder43

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With Gaard in the position he has, he really can’t bad-mouth the team or it’s current coach. I’m sure his tune will change somewhat when they can Pitino and he has a new guy to suck up to.

So was he advocating that Pitino should stay? 8 years isn’t long enough sample size? Good grief some people have an absolute fear of the unknown or some complex like we don’t deserve nice things. Could we hire a new coach and make things worse? Sure, it’s possible. However, according to the standings in the majority of Pitinos seasons at the helm, it can’t get much worse. I’ll roll the dice and Gaard can scurry back into his hole.
OP literally says “He understands change is coming and understands it” so clearly he wasn’t advocating that he should stay. What Gaard said is accurate. You just don’t want to believe it.
 

tikited

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Thanks for the recap. Interesting tidbits in there.

Agreed that Minnesotans feel entitled. A lot of the kids who have left went somewhere like Duke, or have had kinda ho hum careers. Is anyone really longing for Davison, Wahl or Reuvers? I am not. Wright would have been great, Terry and Travis went to Stanford (solid school) and Suggs is on the nations #1 team.

I’d like more kids to stay home but I really just want a properly constructed roster. I want gameplanning and wins. Pitino didn’t provide enough of that so far in his tenure.
Pitino simply failed here. And it's getting worse. The conference record is all you need to know imo.
 


forever a gopher

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Thanks for the recap. Interesting tidbits in there.

Agreed that Minnesotans feel entitled. A lot of the kids who have left went somewhere like Duke, or have had kinda ho hum careers. Is anyone really longing for Davison, Wahl or Reuvers? I am not. Wright would have been great, Terry and Travis went to Stanford (solid school) and Suggs is on the nations #1 team.

I’d like more kids to stay home but I really just want a properly constructed roster. I want gameplanning and wins. Pitino didn’t provide enough of that so far in his tenure.
The MN kids thing would be nice, but it’s not some panacea. I don’t think many think it is. Not too many people are expecting all the Suggs level players to stay home. If he were getting high caliber players from elsewhere, nobody would care. But he isn’t. So the MN kid thing is just another failing we can point to during the Pitino era.
 

salzie

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I don't think JG said was entirely wrong, new coach will face many of same challenges pitino did

Hopefully they can meet them better

It was year 7 before I started thinking pitino should go, my expectations of MN basketball are not high


Make the tournament and win game more than once a decade, and make run at b1g title every so often
 

short ornery norwegian

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with all due respect to Maxy, he took the most favorable approach to Gaard's rant.

As I heard it, Gaard said that fans who criticize Pitino over in-state recruiting are "lazy" and "uninformed."

My reading of Gaard's manifesto:

it's not fair to criticize Pitino for his in-state recruiting, because nobody gets all of their state's top recruits.

The Gopher coach is never going to get the 5* super-recruits. But they still have to try and recruit them, which takes time and attention away from other recruits.

It's not fair to criticize Pitino for not having depth, because nobody has depth anymore due to the transfer portal.

It's not fair to criticize Pitino for relying on transfers, because everyone relies on transfers.

People are not giving Pitino credit for developing Oturu and Coffey into NBA players.

People are not acknowledging that the team was hurt by Oturu and Coffey leaving early for the NBA. (yes, this seems to be a contradiction....)


In short, according to Gaard, almost all of the criticism of Pitino is misguided.

Of course, Gaard didn't talk about in-game coaching. for some reason...........
 

forever a gopher

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OP literally says “He understands change is coming and understands it” so clearly he wasn’t advocating that he should stay. What Gaard said is accurate. You just don’t want to believe it.
Ok, but he is speaking in hyperbole intentionally so he doesn’t have to bad mouth the current coach. I would be the first to say I hoped Fleck could land more of the local kids than he has. By most accounts, Fleck has done a reasonably good job of connecting with local coaches, and planting the seed. It may not bear fruit right away, but at least it gives them a shot. By many accounts, Pitino has a frosty relationship with AAU and some local programs. Fleck has also signed good players in place of those MN kids he didn’t land, so it’s not nearly as big of a deal. Pitino hasn’t done nearly enough of that.

I’m no Wisky fan, but to point to one loss against the number 5 team in the country as to how those MN kids aren’t cutting it is silly. They’ve owned this state in recruiting way better than we have. And of course, they’ve been monumentally better over those years. I’m not saying players like Davison and Wahl would make this team elite, but that’s very convenient cherry picking of data.
 



MRJ

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With all respect, none of that matters if he shows he can coach and win.

Top Minnesota recruits will be more interested if the team is successful. That's just the way it works. He didn't get many and a big reason is because he wasn't successful. A lot of them threw him a bone because it was the local school, but in the end, his results spoke for themselves and it was therefore an easy decision to go elsewhere. Getting top local kids is always going to be tough with bluebloods sniffing around. It's even harder when the local team is totally irrelevant nationally.

As it relates to transfers, he was literally filling up his roster with them due to not having won many significant recruiting battles. And the the transfers he did get haven't changed the on-court product much, if at all. If those transfers had suddenly lifted the program into contention, there would be no complaints whatsoever. As it is, they haven't and didn't. So getting transfers isn't the issue. Not being competitive with the transfers is the problem. Win more than 25 games every year and finish in the top 25 yearly and nobody cares about transfers or where the recruits come from.

As to that "best team since 1997" squad, he brought in Reggie Lynch, who was a transfer, local product and sexual predator. That's not bad luck. He was one of your guys. The "whoopsie, we recruited a sexual predator" angle is fine, but doesn't fully explain the full context of that season. After Lynch was booted, the squad completely tanked. If they truly were the "best team since 1997", they should have been able to absorb that loss and stay relevant. Instead, it was a complete free-fall.

As to the Wisconsin and Marquette angle, I'm not sure why it matters how many Minnesotans started for them and that they got throttled. Almost every team in the country loses several games a year. With the Gophers, they get throttled on the regular whether there are Minnesotans on the roster or not, so I don't understand the point. Is he inferring there isn't that much instate talent? It didn't matter he didn't get those kids because they aren't very good anyway? Honestly, I don't get it.

Which leads me to this; Pitino's undoing has nothing to do with the Minnesota basketball community as a whole. It has to do with him not getting it done on the court, period. If the team is successful, all that complaining becomes a moot point and he has a better shot at getting more top in-state talent. As it is, he didn't and therefore hasn't.

Trust me, people won't care one bit about any of that if the next coach starts winning consistently. Pitino never came close, even under the best of circumstances and Gaard knows that, which is why he took the entire issue in another direction, preaching to the Minnesota basketball community.
 

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It really helps your coaching if you’ve actually played at reasonable level (high school minimally, college preferred, professional a plus). You can tell pitino has a limited understanding due to limited playing experience.

I want a coach that has actually played. Is that so hard to find?
 


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I don't expect the next coach to come in and get a Suggs or Holmgren in year one but I do expect a coach that establishes a system and upward trajectory that can eventually entice the state's best to stay home.
 
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GopherGangsta

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JG is a biased hack....He has a personal relationship with Pitino and has defended him even when it was impossible to......Remember he once said that the U was lucky to have Kill and that was the best we could hope for....How did that turn out JG?
 



Face The Facts

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I have no delusions that a new coach is going to keep all Minnesota kids.
I also have no belief that keeping all Minnesota kids would make us much better.
I also have no delusion that we are some historic program. Out so called heyday was in a time when NCAA infractions were looming with Musselman.

I do think it is possible however to at some point compete for a top 4 Big Ten spot and a sweet sixteen every 10 years of so.
 

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I don’t think most people would care as much about Minnesota players leaving if we were consistently winning. He has had some bad luck but not enough to excuse 54-94 conference record. That’s why he will be let go
 

scools12

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Gaard didn’t want to go into speculation about potential hires for a new coach because he still has the coach’s show to do with Pitino and didn’t think it would be fair to Pitino to do that.

Gaard made some good points about the bad luck and injuries that have plagued Pitino during his tenure. Probably too much of this he used to explain the horrendous conference record but acknowledged Pitino has made mistakes and there are legit reasons to be critical of him.

Overall I got the impression Gaard would prefer Pitino not be fired based on the number of things that have happened beyond his control but understands the business side of why Pitino will be fired and Gaard didn’t attempt to argue against that.
 


MaxyJR1

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with all due respect to Maxy, he took the most favorable approach to Gaard's rant.

As I heard it, Gaard said that fans who criticize Pitino over in-state recruiting are "lazy" and "uninformed."

My reading of Gaard's manifesto:

it's not fair to criticize Pitino for his in-state recruiting, because nobody gets all of their state's top recruits.

The Gopher coach is never going to get the 5* super-recruits. But they still have to try and recruit them, which takes time and attention away from other recruits.

It's not fair to criticize Pitino for not having depth, because nobody has depth anymore due to the transfer portal.

It's not fair to criticize Pitino for relying on transfers, because everyone relies on transfers.

People are not giving Pitino credit for developing Oturu and Coffey into NBA players.

People are not acknowledging that the team was hurt by Oturu and Coffey leaving early for the NBA. (yes, this seems to be a contradiction....)


In short, according to Gaard, almost all of the criticism of Pitino is misguided.

Of course, Gaard didn't talk about in-game coaching. for some reason...........
I agree and Gaard said if people want to discuss in game coaching he will be more than happy to have those discussions. I took it as X’s and O’s And culture might be his justification for letting Pitino go.
 


SanDiegoGopherFan

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I get what he is trying to say, but he's also spinning this.

Yes, that one season where Lynch and I forget who else went down, THAT sucked, mainly because of when it happened.

This year, his team was healthy up until 2 weeks ago. He said the other day "when we are healthy we are good" BS. He just could not coach his team to be a good road team:

Aside from the IL game:

L at WI 59-71 (full strength)
L at MI 57-82 (full strength)
L at IA 71-86 (full strength)
L at Maryland 49-63 (strength)
L at IN 72-82 (Gabe out)

After the last IL lost, the last 4 games are against the worst teams in the league (besides the gophers)

So no, I don't agree injuries played a role in anything this year. He had a healthy squad, if he wants to blame the IN loss to Gabe being out, then RP built a very very POOR bench if his teams are so fragile they can't survive loosing one starter (that was having a poor shooting year)
 



leib0039

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I hate the too many injury argument, to me that only points to the lack of depth he had and to his poor roster construction.
Illinois is without the potential player of the year in all of CBB and went 2-0 this week including at Wisconsin. Injuries suck sure, but if any injury cripples your team to the point you can't beat the 2 worst programs in the conference than that's coaching and roster building, 2 things that are 100% on Pitino
 

UpAndUnder43

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Ok, but he is speaking in hyperbole intentionally so he doesn’t have to bad mouth the current coach. I would be the first to say I hoped Fleck could land more of the local kids than he has. By most accounts, Fleck has done a reasonably good job of connecting with local coaches, and planting the seed. It may not bear fruit right away, but at least it gives them a shot. By many accounts, Pitino has a frosty relationship with AAU and some local programs. Fleck has also signed good players in place of those MN kids he didn’t land, so it’s not nearly as big of a deal. Pitino hasn’t done nearly enough of that.

I’m no Wisky fan, but to point to one loss against the number 5 team in the country as to how those MN kids aren’t cutting it is silly. They’ve owned this state in recruiting way better than we have. And of course, they’ve been monumentally better over those years. I’m not saying players like Davison and Wahl would make this team elite, but that’s very convenient cherry picking of data.

It isn’t one loss. Reuvers has been terrible this year. He’d get shredded constantly on this board if he was playing how he is for the gophers. Look at his stats.
 


Roland Brooks

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I get what he is trying to say, but he's also spinning this.

Yes, that one season where Lynch and I forget who else went down, THAT sucked, mainly because of when it happened.

This year, his team was healthy up until 2 weeks ago. He said the other day "when we are healthy we are good" BS. He just could not coach his team to be a good road team:

Aside from the IL game:

L at WI 59-71 (full strength)
L at MI 57-82 (full strength)
L at IA 71-86 (full strength)
L at Maryland 49-63 (strength)
L at IN 72-82 (Gabe out)

After the last IL lost, the last 4 games are against the worst teams in the league (besides the gophers)

So no, I don't agree injuries played a role in anything this year. He had a healthy squad, if he wants to blame the IN loss to Gabe being out, then RP built a very very POOR bench if his teams are so fragile they can't survive loosing one starter (that was having a poor shooting year)
McBrayer leg injury missed the game against Miami both teams highly ranked at the time
 

tmvander

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Personally i like JG...he's a gopher fan and often voices it...i think he is biased with the coaches (especially pitino) but I'm ok with that...it's nice to have a positive spin on things, especially gopher related, from the media once and while.

From a gopherhole perspective, which is where most diehards are, 90% won't blame pitino for the in state recruiting...there are some here though that expect every in state guy to stay and blame the coach if they don't. The casual fans are probably more on that spectrum as well.

At the end of the day many aren't thinking new coach because kids are playing elsewhere they're thinking new coach because we suuuuuuuck. Do they go hand and hand? Maybe but no coach out there was keeping everyone home.
 




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