Louisville hoops: Weekly notebook
PITINO CALLS WHITE HOUSE VISIT ‘SPECIAL' The University of Louisville spent all day Tuesday in Washington, D.C., visiting President Obama at the White House and touring the Capitol. U of L coach Rick Pitino said the day was remarkable for all of the players, including a few minutes before the ceremony with Obama when the President shook hands and spoke with every member of the U of L contingent. "That was pretty special," Pitino said of the day. "A special, special day. He's a special man, he treated us great and it was just a great, great honor. "An unbelievable honor for our guys." Pitino said Obama spent time talking about the season and noted the President, "really loved our team and how hard we played." Pitino said his players were humble during the entire day, "with the exception of Russ Smith (who was in Estonia playing on an All-Star team) who told the New York tabloids that he was going to miss seeing the President but he would see him next year, everybody was very humble." HARRELL'S COMING OUT PARTY Sophomore Montrezl Harrell has come out of his shell on the leadership side of things, according to Rick Pitino. Harrell was quiet last season with the Cardinals but Pitino said Billy Donovan told him on the U-19 team recently that Harrell spoke up to his teammates after two of them had come into a meeting late. "He got after them," Pitino said. Harrell said he's always had that in him but as a freshman didn't think he needed to step up in that role with U of L. "At different points of the season, I kind of showed that but not a lot," he said. "This year with team coming back, we have a chance to do something special again, so I felt like if that was my own team I would do the same thing. "We won a national championship and that was the best feeling in the world. But my work isn't done, we accomplished our goal and now we have to keep going." HANCOCK BONDS WITH HOOSIERS Senior Luke Hancock, who was the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four, was roommates with Indiana University guard Will Sheehey during a recent trip to Russia to play in the World University Games. Hancock said he had known Sheehey prior to heading over for the games and also said he hung out with IU's Yogi Ferrell. "I hung out with those guys," Hancock said. "Will is a good guy and I knew him. We were roommates and bonded pretty good," Hancock said. "We said we were not going to spend our entire trips in the rooms. We kind of walked around and saw some sights. It was difficult because of the language (barrier). "They're both really good guys." HANCOCK WANTS TO DO IT AGAIN Hancock said he "didn't know" and "didn't care" is the Cardinals were going to be ranked No. 1 heading into next season. The Cardinals are expected to be one of the top teams in the country. "We're going to stick to coach Pitino's style," Hancock said. "We're going to try and get up and down the floor and play defense. We're going to be solid." Hancock went on to add the next few months are "as important" to the season as the time when the Cardinals officially start practice. "It's on everybody's minds that we want to do the same thing," he said. "We want to be successful as we were last year and we know what it takes. "And that starts now, working hard in the weight room. We just need to get everybody on the same page and try to do it again." PRACTICE COMING TO AN END Pitino has been taking advantage of the rule where teams can practice in the spring and summer for eight weeks. The Cardinals have been going once a week and will have the final practice of the spring/summer period on Sunday. "It's been great," Pitino said. "We get a lot out of that time." SCHEDULE UPDATE Pitino said the schedule for the 2013-14 season is "pretty much complete," would likely come out after the American Athletic Conference finalizes that part of the schedule. He noted the Cardinals would play each league team twice. The schedule is likely to come out early next month. QUOTE OF THE WEEK Hancock: "It's been a pretty wild year. This time last year, I was in a sling and hurting. There have been some ups and downs but I don't think it has hit me. It's been a crazy year for me that's for sure."