U of (Silent)L Scrimmage/ Media Day Report

There was much talk at yesterday’s Louisville Cardinal basketball Media Day about wild cards. Players that opponents don’t really know about.

Will it be . . .

(A) Luke Hancock, who last took the court wearing a George Mason uniform?

Or, (B) Kevin Ware, who showed up late last year and never found his mojo, dribbling the rock off his foot twice as many times as he made a meaningful play?

Or, (C) former Golden Arches All-Star Wayne Blackshear, who hurt his shoulder, played thick and made but one play the whole season — a double clutch dunk in the tournament — that hinted at his supposed talent?

My choice is (D) None of the Above.

* * * * *

Remember the “L” is silent in Montrezl Harrell. His game is not.

He shoots the ball like Ellis Myles. Okay, maybe not quite as well.

But the kid with a 747 wing span knows how to find the ball around the rim and deposit it through the twine. With authority. He will play defense.

One has to ask how Seth Greenburg ever got this North Carolinian out of the state to commit at Virginia Tech?

I’m not sure what the former Hokie mentor said to Harrell to get him to come to Blacksburg, but their loss is our gain. Cardinal fans — and The Rick — owe a debt of gratitude to assistant Kevin Keats.

Harrell: “Louisville never recruited me before. But things got sketchy at Virginia Tech after Coach Greenburg got fired. The school wouldn’t say why. I knew Coach Keatts from Hargrave.”

* * * * *

Another late edition to this year’s squad is walk on Jordan Bond.

Yes, he’s related to a former Card PG and Midwest Regional MVP. Bond, Phillip Bond is Jordan’s father.

I’m advised by several sources that The Rick was reluctant to add Bond to the roster, despite the fact that the Manual grad is what we referred to at the frat house as a “legacy.” Only after several higher ups in the university, I’m told, did the coach reluctantly agree to bring Bond on board.

* * * * *

I’m not sure if this observation is meaningful or not. But the dynamic I’m about to describe sure can’t hurt this gang with high aspirations.

I’ve been attending media days and observing yearly editions of Cardinal squads for years. This is far and away the loosest bunch I’ve ever seen at media day. Led by Angel Nunez, Wayne Blackshear and irrepressible Russ Smith, these guys know how to cut up.

They were grabbing microphones out of the hands of the TV guys and interviewing their teammates. Peyton, Gorgui and Luke provide maturity. Angel, Wayne and Russ, the folly.

* * * * *

There is a universal respect for Luke Hancock as an immediate team leader. Blackshear referred to his as “The Enforcer.”

“He’s not afraid to say anything to anybody.”

Siva called the transfer’s game, “crafty.”

Commenting on Hancock’s style of play, which always appears deliberate on the court, Peyton said, “Most guys have speeds that go from one to five. Luke goes from one to two.”

* * * * *

A common question to all the players concerned outside shooting. None seemed worried.

Least of all, Peyton Siva, who had a moment at Chris Paul’s point guard camp this summer.

He claims to have bested Murray State’s heralded PG Isaiah Canaan in a three point shooting contest. “He wanted a rematch,” advises Siva. “I didn’t give him one.”

Speaking about the team’s strength and weaknesses, the Big East pre-season POY said, “Our strength is depth.”

“Our weakness,” he responded, somewhat facetiously I assume, “is our conditioning. We practice for five hours and get tired. Coach P says we’re out of shape.”

* * * * *

I asked Gorgui Dieng about his academic status, whether he will have enough hours to graduate after the spring semester?

“I will worry about that my senior year. I am at the University of Louisville for four years.”

Cardinal fans are keeping their fingers crossed. The scout at the scrimmage from the New Orleans Hornets said Dieng was far and away the best pro prospect on the team.

* * * * *

The Cards flashy new uniforms — which are red, not orange — include some very funky red socks with black diamonds on them.

* * * * *

Shoulder Report. Luke Hancock says his is 90-95%. Wayne Blackshear says he doesn’t even think about his anymore.

* * * * *

To be honest, I hate pre-season intrasquad scrimmages. They are always sloppy. The players are too familiar with each other. Lineups are skewed. There is little rhythm. And it’s way too early to tell how good a team will evolve.

Some quick observations.

As previously advised, Harrell is a beast around the boards.

Ware has improved. He plays with much more confidence than a year ago. His ball handling skills remain marginal.

Russ Smith plays the point much better than The Rick acknowledges.

Hancock’s measured pace is a mature presence.

Blackshear does look slightly heavy, but I think it may be more body type.

* * * * *

U of L’s future’s bright, I was bummed I forgot my shades.

– Seedy K

 

3 Comments

  1. fred
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    I had the opportunity to attend a practice last year. When Rick addressed the invited guests, he anticipated the question, “who is number 11″. He said that is Luke Hancock and he is the best player on the team.

  2. cbcard
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Nice Timbuk3.

  3. Birdie King
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I think the Cards must have gone up into the attic and stolen my grandmothers old red socks. Ugly and embarassing !

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