Rick Pitino met with the media on Wednesday afternoon to give a summer update on the team. It’s only July, and there wasn’t any breaking news, but it sure was nice to hear Coach talk some hoops and about this year’s team! I expected it to be about a 20 minute press conference, but it ended up being just over 45! You can click here to watch the video of the press conference from CourierJournal.com. Below, I will give you the key notes from it…
The new Pelican…
-Pitino started out by talking about Russ Smith. He said that Russ wasn’t pleased with dropping to the 2nd round in the NBA Draft, and wanted to prove people wrong. Instead, Pitino said he should prove people right, and that’s the people that believe in him.
-Also with Russ, he got a guaranteed contract from the Pelicans. That is huge news, as second round picks have to make the team and are not guaranteed a spot just by getting drafted.
I’m not going to say Anas Osama is my favorite Louisville Cardinal……but then again I’m not saying he isn’t either.
With this years draft over CBS’s Gary Parrish predicted next years Draft Lottery. To the surprise of some (Maybe) he had our Montrezl Harrell going at #5:
5. Montrezl Harrell (Louisville)
Harrell’s return to Louisville was arguably the biggest surprise among all decisions made by underclassmen because he would’ve likely been a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The goal, clearly, is to spend another season developing in college and improve his so-called stock. If he does those things, yes, this 6-8 super-athletic forward can go in the top five.
I think some are under estimating just how good Trez could be this year for the Cards. When the decision was announced that Montrezl would return to Louisville it immediately put the Cards in the Final Four conversation. Let me put it like this, there will not be another team in American College Basketball with a more dominate PF than the Cards will have next season. So Cards fans enjoy every dunk, every scream, every big time hustle play, and every “OH MY” moment this season because it is almost certain to be the last for Trez in a Cardinals uniform. #L1C4
Sporting News has been releasing their top 10 College Basketball players at each position. Today they arrived at the Power Forward position and our own Montrezl Harrell came in at #1.
Size: 6-8, 235 pounds
Stats: 14.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg
“There was Montrezl Harrell before Chane Behanan was booted, and there was the guy who picked up the Cardinals’ frontcourt and carried the team to dual American championships afterward. Harrell improved his scoring average by more than four points a game once the power forward position became his, including an overpowering 21-point effort at Cincinnati that essentially kept the Cards alive in the league race.
Harrell’s decision to return to college basketball was among the more surprising of any potential draft candidate, but he can continue to grow as a prospect by becoming a consistent jumpshooting threat and improved technical defender”
There is no doubt that Trez has EXTREMELY high expectations coming into the year but if there has ever been anyone that can handle it, it’s him.
Check out this video done by BallIsLife.com of Montrezl Harrell and Anton Gill getting some work in back in their home state of North Carolina. Now I know they aren’t exactly going up against Duke or North Carolina players in this video, but there are still things you can be impressed with.
The adjustment from high school to college basketball takes longer for some than others, and I really think Anton Gill could surprise some people this year and make a name for himself. He has now had a full season and will have this off-season to improve and get better in Pitino’s system. In the video, he throws down some nasty dunks and shows good ball handling.
Then you watch Trez and the only thing I could think of was HE REALLY CAME BACK!!!
Today USA today posted their list of the 5 returning players with the “Weightiest Expectations”. Our man Montrezl Harrell was not only on that list but came in at #1:
1. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville: Perhaps the most shocking decision of any player who bypassed the NBA to return to school, Harrell makes the Cardinals a preseason top 10 team. The loss of Russ Smith will hurt Louisville offensively but keeping a talented big man like Harrell is essential for remaining a contender. One reason is Harrell’s defensive skillset. But the 6-8 junior forward has a steadily improving offense, averaging 14 points and 8.4 rebounds last season while shooting 60% from the floor.
As the article said Trez’s decision was probably the biggest shocker of the off season and the NBA’s loss was defiantly the Cards gain. That decision will come with a price though, all eyes will be on Trez this season and honestly I believe that is exactly how he likes it. Can Trez lead the Cards to Indy? Will Trez get 20 and 20 in the Dean Dome? Just how high will Trez be drafted next year? These question will be answered soon enough but WOW this is going to be a fun ride!
Last night former UNC star and current Milwaukee Bucks Center John Henson tweeted this:
We all know Montrezl Harrell is an absolute animal on the court but this tweet has to make us think one thing. Will Trez actually shatter a backboard during a game this season?
Let me just say folks if the answer to that last question is yes, Trez will move ahead of all former UofL stars as my favorite of all time! Oh and I will pound my chest and scream after EVERYTHING I do for at least 3 weeks. It’s going to be a fun season :)
This is the Cardinal week in review 4/14/14:
First off, this is the first week without 55 in several months but we had a ton of news. We did see our first edition of 4YourInfo by Daryl though. From TrezL to the road sweep of then #7 Houston, here is the week in review.
MontrezL HarreLL has decided to come back for his Junior year. That makes us happy. Wayne Blackshear wiLL NOT leave and both wiLL be captains for next season. I beLieve once Chris announces his intentions that he wiLL aLso be named captain. Here’s every dunk from trezL this year…P.S. I know aLL the L’s don’t need to be capitaLized but who’s gonna stop meL?
Read what Steve had to say here
Tonight at 8pm on ESPN2, then from 9-10:30 on ESPNU the 2014 WNBA Draft will be held. Shoni Schimmel was one of only 12 people to be invited to the draft meaning she should be a first rounder. All Seniors from this class are eligible for the draft.
Someone finally did it. They made the video that shows every dunk that Montrezl Harrell threw down from this past season. It even includes the Red-White scrimmages! There were 112 total dunks, 96 of them official. This is from “TheLouisvilleShow” on youtube.
In case you missed it, or just want to see it again, here is the “One Shining Moment” video that was played after UConn won the National Championship on Monday night.
This week…..on 55…..
We talk Season Finale. Great season by Shoni as the Women’s Basketball run came to an end. Another era ended. We asked you what your Top 25 moments were of this season and you tweeted them to us. In a 2 week time frame that has felt like the worst time frame in our lives, was there a bright spot? Were there 2? Were there 3? (Shoni may agree) The Year Of The Cardinal may have some to an end but it’s not the end. It also wasn’t the only streak that ended this weekend. So here we go, here are the 55 most ridiculous things I have heard, had to debate, or just thought about this past week. This …..is the season finale of……55.
Here we go……….
1) On Tuesday night, the amazing career of Shoni Schimmel and the unforgettable season of the University of Louisville Women’s basketball team came to an end when they lost to Maryland 76-73 at home in the KFC YUM! Center. Shoni scored 31 points and added 5 steals and 4 assists while playing the entire 40 minutes. After a slow start to the 2nd half, Shoni erupted with back to back 3’s in the final 30 seconds and had a chance to tie it with one of the best drawn up and executed plays I have seen in my life. It didn’t go in. Asia Taylor added 12 points, 6 assists and 8 rebounds. Antonita Slaughter scored 16. Thank you Seniors for the great ride and thank you Shoni as I am sure that your jersey will hang from the rafters one day, and this next picture that I’ve used several times this season will forever remind CardNation of what you are all about.
3) If only there was something Shoni could do within those next few days to lift her spirits and the spirits of CardNation…..
4) Oh Yeah
6) Shoni beat all of the ladies to win the women’s title, then beat men’s winner Brady Heslip to win the overall championship. Great day had by all…well except Oddysey
8) As @Slaughter_4 said……You mad?
10) Moving forward
11) On Thursday I asked you guys to send me your 2013-14 moment of the year so I could include them in this season finale. I got a lot of responses and I can’t include the duplicates but here are your top moments of the year.
Well this video is just awesome. Great job by Evan Westendorf.
Coach Rick Pitino met with the media on Monday afternoon for about 30 minutes to have his final press conference of the season. He wrapped up the season and also talked about next season a little bit.
He talks about Montrezl Harrell and the decision he has to make. He pretty much called out Wayne Blackshear by saying that he is the only player that he has had in the last four years that hasn’t made substantial improvement.
Mike Rutherford (Card Chronicle) did a great job of highlighting the main things that Pitino said. The video of the full press conference is below.
This week…..on 55…..We come to an end of an era. No more Luuuuuuuuuuuuke, Russ, Wichita or Van Beast. No more of this 4 year version of Boom. We will miss you and cherish this class like no other. We did get another NCAA title this week and the girls of boom are still rolling so there’s that. So here we go, here are the 55 most ridiculous things I have heard, had to debate, or just thought about this past week. This …..is….55.
1) On Friday night, which seems like a week ago, UL Men’s basketball team lost to a team none of us like….
2) This happened though….
4) Yeah I know scoreboard…
6) All jokes aside….Thank you to the following guys
7) Russ Smith
9) Tim Henderson
11) Seriously, from the bottom of our hearts…Thank you!
12) I also expect this guy to leave:
13) If he leaves I wanna thank you too Montrezl “MegaTrezl” Harrell for bringing massive monster dunks back to the school synonymous for dunking
It is obvious that our team will look much different next year. Losing such key components like Russ, Luke, Montrezl, and SVT will do that to a team. Pitino expects Montrezl to enter the NBA Draft, and I don’t think that will come as a surprise to any of us. Here is a look at what next year’s roster will probably look like. (After typing out the roster and actually looking at it, that whole “looking much different” part is a huge understatement, wow.)
I have been up since early this morning and in the grand scheme of things, I haven’t gotten one thing done today. I have only listened to local sports talk radio and been on social media keeping up with everything UofL-UK for tonight. But isn’t that what I am supposed to be doing today? I suppose it’s finally time to come up with my prediction post, so here we go…
First of all, the December 28th game at Rupp means nothing to me. For one, it was at Rupp. Russ Smith and Luke Hancock shot a combined 10-31 that game. Speaking of Luke, he wasn’t even starting at the time, Wayne Blackshear was. Mangok Mathiang started and played 22 minutes. Chane Behanan played 20 minutes and played that game knowing he was about to be kicked off of the team. Does any of that sound like the Louisville Cardinals that you have seen recently? We are a completely different team, and yes UK is a little different as well, so that is why the last game doesn’t mean much to me. Actually if I do take anything away from it, I am glad that UK doesn’t have a revenge factor for this game. So they can have that game at Rupp, I’ll take this one tonight.
Jeff Borzello of cbssports.com took the 16 teams that are left in the NCAA Tournament and ranked the starters from 80 to 1. Borzello says that “It’s not based on potential, NBA prospects, or purely college numbers. It basically comes down to, if I need a player for the next two games or four games, which guy am I taking?” Let’s take a look at how he ranks the starters for both Louisville and Kentucky.
75. Stephen Van Treese, Louisville: Without Chane Behanan, Van Treese has had to play a bigger role down low. He’s averaging 9.3 rebounds in his last six games.
48. Chris Jones, Louisville: Jones came to Louisville with plenty of hype, but he’s been inconsistent at times this season. He needs to pressure the Kentucky guards.
34. Luke Hancock, Louisville: Hancock is Mr. March for the Cardinals. He was the Most Outstanding Player at last year’s Final Four and is averaging 18.5 ppg in the 2014 tourney.
14. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville: Harrell’s emergence down the stretch took the Cardinals to a different level. He has racked up six double-doubles in his last 10 games.
2. Russ Smith, Louisville: Smith has been a little too out of control in the tournament, with 13 turnovers — but Louisville needs him to a menace at both ends of the floor.
Louisville and Kentucky will meet on Friday night in the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis, IN. We all know that already. When the brackets came out, everyone knew this had a realistic chance of happening. And now here we are, just a few days away from Indianapolis not knowing what they got themselves into when they said they would host another Regional.
The Cards and Cats took two different paths to get to this point. Louisville played against a team that resembles them and knew their every move, and they escaped at the end. Then they battled St. Louis in a defensive game and scored enough points to pull away late. Kentucky played a very bad Kansas State team that will probably be playing at the YMCA next week. Then they played the undefeated Wichita State shockers in a very exciting game that was back and forth and they won at the end.
Two teams heading to the Sweet 16. Two of the most storied programs in all of college basketball. Two very different reactions about winning an NCAA Tournament game in the Round of 32.
Everyone take a deep breath. The Cards survived and advanced. We will be playing on Saturday for a chance to go to the Sweet 16. This game will be put behind us and it won’t matter. Here are my initial thoughts just a few minutes after the buzzer…
*I thought Wayne Blackshear played a GREAT second half. While everyone else was struggling, he kept hustling and getting offensive rebounds and put backs. He kept us hanging around until the other guys took over at the end.
*Luuuuuuuuuuke! What can you say? The Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four last year showed up in the clutch and hit two huge threes. Louisville shot 4-13 from three point land, and those two along with Russ’ near the end make up 3 of them.
*Luke also had that big steal on the inbounds play and got fouled to go to the free throw line. I thought all game while people were playing out of control, Luke remained calm and still played his game.
*The body language for about 39 minutes was terrible. We hadn’t seen that from this team in quite some time. Montrezl yelled at Russ. Luke ran back in transition and was the only one back and when Manhattan scored, he looked back as if to say “Anyone else want to play defense with me?” After any foul call against us, our guys looked disgusted and would complain and it just didn’t look like the team that finished the season on such a high note.
PRESS RELEASE VIA ESPN
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rick Pitino switched from coach to lobbyist the moment his Louisville Cardinals won their third straight conference tournament title.
Of course, Pitino thinks the defending national champs deserve a No. 1 seed, even if he knows they likely won’t get one.
Montrezl Harrell had 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, and fifth-ranked Louisville beat No. 21 Connecticut 71-61 Saturday for the inaugural American Athletic Conference title in the Cardinals’ lone season in the league.
Pitino said he’s extremely biased.
“But I’m very impressed with our guys,” Pitino said. “What they’ve done to win a regular season, conference tournament the way we have done it, in the fashion we have done it fits the eye test. I can’t talk about the strength of the league. If you want to blame anybody, blame football. Don’t blame us.”
The Cardinals (29-5) clinched their 40th NCAA tournament berth in style with their 19th overall tournament title. They took the last two in the Big East and added the American to go with their share of the regular-season title with Cincinnati. They will play next season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“To win a regular-season championship and a tournament championship back-to-back is not easy. You have to have special players, and these two epitomize exactly that,” Pitino said, praising Russ Smith and Harrell.
Smith, named the tournament’s most outstanding player, scored 19 points. He also had five steals to move into a tie for Louisville’s career record with 254. Chris Jones added 11 points.
Smith said he thought a year ago that he had done almost everything a college athlete can, but he wanted to enjoy being a senior on campus and work on his game. Now he has another title to enjoy.
“I have a lot of fun being at Louisville,” Smith said.
UConn (26-8) came in looking for an eighth tournament title to go with seven from the Big East. It was barred from postseason play a year ago, but is a virtual lock to return to the NCAA tournament this year.
The Huskies left Memphis with a third loss this season to Louisville — all by double digits.
“Louisville’s playing great basketball,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “They won the championship last year, they went to the Final Four the year before. They got pretty much their whole team back, an experienced bunch, they play hard and well coached. But this tournament is wide open. It’s a one-game elimination. Somebody can get hot, and hopefully that team will be us.”
Ollie also looked ahead to a conference that will be losing Louisville and Rutgers and adding teams like Tulsa. He said UConn plans to continue being at the top of the American.
“This conference is going to be great,” Ollie said.
UConn outscored Louisville 32-28 in the paint, but the Cardinals turned the Huskies’ 13 turnovers into 13 points. Louisville also outrebounded the Huskies 38-33 and enjoyed a 14-6 advantage on second-chance points.
Louisville routed UConn 81-48 a week ago on the Cardinals’ home court. But the Huskies were a confident bunch heading into the final, coming off victories over No. 19 Memphis in the quarterfinals and No. 13 Cincinnati in the semis.
The Cardinals grabbed an early lead and controlled the action for much of the game. Harrell scored 10 points in the first half and was a blur at times, blocking Brimah twice on one possession. He also swooped in for a dunk off a Smith assist that looked more like a layup that just missed the basket short.
UConn stayed within six of the Cardinals down the stretch, but Louisville finished the half on a 10-2 run that included 3s by Terry Rozier and Luke Hancock. Smith also had a steal and a pass ahead to Rozier for a fast-break layup that gave the Cardinals their biggest lead yet at 37-23 going into the break.
“We just didn’t find our rhythm,” Napier said. “They did play good defense. Once we got into the middle, guys had open shots, and we just couldn’t knock them down.”
The Huskies tried to take advantage of Louisville’s shooting woes to open the second half.
The Cardinals missed their first five shots, but Harrell had big three-point play for a 45-28 lead. Louisville went up by as much as 20 a couple times, the last at 52-32.