Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino is looking forward to brighter days ahead, but that doesn't mean he views at his first season at the U of M as a disappointment.
Despite missing the NCAA tournament, Pitino wrote in a blog post Monday at GopherSports.com that his team met expectations.
Did this year meet expectations? That is the most commonly asked question that I have received since our NIT championship. The answer would be 100 percent yes. As a coach your hope is that your guys compete and get better every day. I can honestly say 99 percent of our practices and individual instruction sessions were a success. The guys brought it every day and that's all you can ask.
The Gophers won the National Invitation Tournament championship, finishing the season with 25 wins. Along the way, Minnesota played a top 10 strength of schedule, which Pitino said "next year's schedule will be more difficult than this year's."
Pitino handed out unofficial team awards, too. He gave the Most Valuable Player nod to point guard DeAndre Mathieu.
"Nobody was more consistent from top to bottom than Dre," Pitino wrote of Mathieu. "Incredible where he has come from to get to where he is now. He certainly deserves all the credit. He will also have to stay hungry because he will have a bigger reputation next season."
- Most Improved: Mo Walker
- Best Defender: Austin Hollins
- Hardest Worker: Austin Hollins (Pitino called this an "easy pick")
- Best Attitude: Maverick Ahanmisi
- Sacrifice Award: Oto Osenieks