Media Day Notebook; Pitino talks conference

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino spoke about conference realignment during Monday's annual Media Day. What did Pitino say about the conference situation? InsideTheVille.com has video.

Wayne Blackshear was cleared to play by the NCAA Monday morning, and went through his first individual instruction and team practice at Louisville Monday afternoon.

Since coming to UofL, Blackshear has dropped his body from 17 percent to 8 percent and lost 20 pounds. He now weighs 217 pounds.

"He did get his body in shape," Pitino said. "He has to get in basketball shape and hone his basketball skills. That will take about a month."

Blackshear will play in Louisville's exhibition against Pikeville this week.

Pitino says the starting five is "ready to go, especially from an offensive standpoint." The next five has been very difficult getting them ready."

Pitino expects Rakeem Buckles to begin individual instruction in two weeks, to begin practicing in a month and ready to play in 6-8 weeks. Buckles lifted leg weights while the team practiced Monday afternoon.

Pitino said Jared Swopshire is "nowhere near where he was a year and a half ago. He's very cautious about moving and jumping, so he's not nearly the player he was. I'm hoping he can get over the mental aspect of not being very physical."

Pitino believes Chane Behanan is "picking up the fundamentals away from being a great player." Pitino added, "He's picking up something new each day." Pitino said he ripped Behanan's Red White scrimmage performance Saturday and the freshman forward responded with a great practice. "He's a quick learner and has a good attitude." Pitino was upset he didn't have an offensive rebound or assist.

Pitino Talks Conference Situation

Pitino thinks center Gorgui Dieng is the player Louisville can't replace. "There's a major drop off when (Zach Price) comes in for Gorgui right now. Zach Price is not ready to play. He's trying real hard and has a great attitude, but he's not ready to play right now from a conditioning standpoint." Pitino said his team will need Price to play.

Pitino says his team has a "throw back" attitude. "It's unusual. I haven't had this type of attitude since '87 Providence."

Pitino predicted the next news in Big East realignment will be that Syracuse and Pittsburgh are going to challenge the 27-month exit period to leave the league for the ACC. "They don't plan on staying two and a half years."

Pitino said he would not redshirt freshman Angel Nunez. "We're going to try to play him a little more at power forward and get 15 more pounds on him in the next month. That's his only hope of getting any minutes is playing the four spot."

Russ Smith hurt himself in the last intrasquad scrimmage and sat out practice Monday. "It's not a serious injury," Pitino said. "With Wayne coming back I don't know where he'll stand in this rotation. He is playing significantly better at the two guard spot."

Pitino said everybody on his new staff "are like best friends." Pitino said his staff shares the recruiting load and all the coaches are involved in the recruitment of all players. Pitino said it's a very cohesive staff. Richard Pitino will do 75 percent of scouting this season.

Pitino expects the Big East to be just as strong as last year.

The only area Louisville didn't meet their goals last season was rebounding. "I hope the addition of Chane, the strength of Gorgui and the returning of Kyle, Chris Smith is a good rebounding guard, we expect Peyton Siva to be a decent rebounder at his position. If we will be one of the (Big East) leaders in rebounding we will be a very good team because we're always very high in assists, steals, three-point shooting and out field goal defense last year was exceptional."


Cardinal Authority Top Stories