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Pitino promises fast, fun style of play; impact might be made more with individual improvement


FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2012 file photo, Florida International coach Richard Pitino applauds his team's effort during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Louisville, Ky. Minnesota is in advanced discussions with Richard Pitino, the son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, to take over for Tubby Smith. Two people with knowledge of the discussions say Pitino engaged in negotiations with Minnesota officials on Wednesday, April 3, 2013. The people requested anonymity because the deal has not been formally completed. In his lone season at Florida International, Pitino led the Panthers to an 18-14 record, the school's first winning season in 13 years. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File) (The Associated Press)

Richard Pitino has promised a fast style at Minnesota that will be fun for fans to watch and for the Gophers to play.

The 30-year-old Pitino was hired last week to take over for Tubby Smith. Smith's goal was to employ an aggressive defense and a fast-breaking offense, too, so Pitino's philosophy isn't a significant change for the program. His ability to succeed will hinge on being able to get his players to be able to follow through on it.

Smith's teams often stagnated in Big Ten play against tough, pack-the-paint defenses. Prodding individual development will also be an important task at Minnesota for Pitino. Many of the Gophers didn't show consistent freshman-to-senior improvement under Smith.