Big Ten men’s basketball media day is underway and Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell stepped to the podium at 9:50 a.m. ET. He seemed the most comfortable up there that he ever has in his fourth season giving these addresses at media day. He was poised, confident and exhibited his usual enthusiasm. Here are is a summary of what he had to say:
- Pikiell began with a classy gesture of welcoming new Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, as well as new coaches Fred Hoiberg and Juwan Howard to the league.
- He also congratulated Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer, as it was announced on Tuesday that she is receiving the John Wooden Legends of Coaching award after this season.
- He talked up all the positives with the program, discussing the practice facility, the recent, Spain trip, the University’s academics, and his team.
- Pikiell beamed with pride mentioning the team achieved the highest GPA in program history last season.
- Regarding this season Pikiell said. “Heightened expectations too on the banks and I like that”
- He was asked about freshman point guard Paul Mulcahy and expectations for him this season. Pikiell talked up that he was the first New Jersey high school player to average a triple double in 27 years. He went on to talked up entire backcourt before emphasizing how important it is to get NJ recruits and great character kids, which he said Mulcahy fits that mold.
- Pikiell was asked about momentum heading into this season and the Omoruyi transfer. He spoke about his excitement for this team and how its taken time to build a such a versatile roster. He expounded on the frontcourt and said “I feel we are really good” about the team. He explained they are deeper and can now play differently. Pikiell stated this team has “more solutions to the problems the league poses”. He loves the team chemistry and said that “we hope to ring the bells and do something great.” He ended the question stressing that he wants his players and the fans “to enjoy the journey”.
- The last question was about finishing 13th in assists per game in the Big Ten last season. Pikiell talked up Jacob Young as a distributor and improved depth at point guard with him, Mulcahy and Baker too in how being able to play off the ball more will help his game. Mentioned Ron Harper Jr. and Caleb McConnell as capable in leading the break off of defensive rebounds, as well as the team being improved as a whole with passing.
I’ll have more coverage from Big Ten Media Day this afternoon. Here is the video of Pikiell’s entire press conference: