Asked what he did to improve over the summer, Samardo Samuels talked about improving his quickness, eating healthier and working on his rebounding. He mentioned how helpful new assistant Ralph Willard is, how he’s teaching the players to be more patient, as well as rebounding techniques. Samuels: “I love this team. Coach Willard is making me better.”
Kyle Kuric, who looked to me to be the most improved player on the court, asserted himself early in the Media Day scrimmage. He talked about how “it’s a lot easier” this year, knowing what he is supposed to be doing. He feels offensive rebounding is his strong suit. He also mentioned how he’s kind of taken fellow Hoosier Stephan Van Treese under his wing, “OFF the court.”
Walk On redshirt transfer Chris Smith explained his circuitous route to the Cards. He played last year at Manhattan, but wanted to transfer, “looking at a lot of schools.” He played in high school with Samardo, so he called him and Samuels put in a word with the coaches. Then Smith’s dad called Eric Scott with whom they have some connection. Then he sent some tapes to Walter McCarty, who, without really consulting Pitino (or so it would appear) gave Smith some sort of green light. Then Smith just moved down to Louisville and started playing with the guys at the Yum Center after enrolling at summer school. He later met Pitino who welcomed him on as a walk on.
Smith confirmed how much more intense and structured it is at U of L compared to his previous stop.
Van Treese and Rakeem Buckles both acknowledged that as hard as they thought practice would be, “it’s a lot harder.” Buckles: “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Peyton Siva will be the team leader, if not this season (though I can see that happening by sheer force of personality), after this one until he leaves Louisville. He is engaging, though not as overbearing as his cousin TWill.
Siva: “Edgar (Sosa)’s been like a big brother. Even though he’s a weirdo.
“TWill’s a sucker. He was supposed to give me his bed, but he gave it to one of the managers instead.
“I am not focused on starting. My goal is to get the ball to the other guys for the best shot.
“I’m not homesick at all. I do miss Seattle’s rain. Here it rains but it’s a lot harder than home.”
When asked by one reporter who said he saw a photo of Siva where he looked sad, he answered: “Me? Sad? I’m never sad.”
* * * * *
Andre McGee is playing in Germany, where the team has provided him a free Mercedes to use. Will Scott is apparently playing for Oxford, and will provide reports during the season that the C-J is apparently going to run.
The players seemed to have a genuine and deep seated affection for each other. Lots of joking around among the whole group.
Several agreed it’s a lot quieter in the locker room without TWill.
Jerry Smith didn’t practice so he could attend the birth of his child with his girlfriend.
The Media Guide, which, to be fair, is also a major recruiting tool, can only be 200 pages per NCAA rules. And it is, as usual when Kenny Klein is involved, top of the heap in terms of quality and information.
But here are signs of the the times. There is one full page L G & E advertisement. There are two pages of game by game results of Rick Pitino’s games at other schools, including U of L’s most hated rival. There’s a full page on the school’s marketing company. And 1/6 of one page on Hall of Fame, two-time NCAA champion coach Denny Crum.
– Seedy K