Van Treese Returns

Stephan Van Treese will return to Louisville next season instead of transferring to another school, UofL announced Tuesday. Does Van Treese's u-turn change the outlook for the Cardinals next season?

Stephan Van Treese will return to Louisville for the 2012-13 season, UofL announced Tuesday.

The news of the 6-8 Indianapolis forward's return comes more than two weeks after Rick Pitino granted his release to transfer to another school.

Van Treese, who missed all but a few games last season with a knee injury, received a release to transfer from Louisville June 6, two days after Tarboro, NC forward Montrezl Harrell signed with the Cardinals. Harrell's addition put the Cards over the 13 scholarship limit for next season, assuming freshman point guard Terry Rozier qualifies academically.

So Van Treese met with Pitino to discuss his role with the team, then set out to 'explore' his options. Now, Van Treese is back in the fold on the Belknap Campus, thanks largely to Rakeem Buckles, whose decision to transfer to Florida International last week paved the way for Van Treese's unexpected u-turn back to Pitino's bench.

"As far as I'm concerned, Stephan should have never thought of going any place other than Bellarmine or Louisville," said Rick Pitino. "He's committed to helping us have another great season."

With Van Treese, Louisville's roster is largely set for next season. The last remaining roster question for a team many believe can win the NCAA Championship is whether or not Rozier, a Top 100 point guard, will be eligible to play as a freshman? Pitino said last week he expects the 6-2 Ohio native to qualify academically. If he does, all 13 scholarships will be accounted for next season.

Perhaps the biggest question about Tuesday's news is whether Van Treese's return changes the outlook for the Cardinals next season?

Even if the answer to that question is no - and it probably is - it certainly doesn't hurt to have another serviceable frontcourt reserve with Big East experience and five fouls to give - if needed. Remember, Van Treese was one of Louisville's top frontcourt reserves two seasons ago, averaging 2.9 points and 3.5 rebounds in 2010-11, including a career-best 12 points and 14 rebounds against USF.

Still, minutes won't be easy to come by for Van Treese next season. Louisville will have one of the nation's best frontcourts, and 6-11 junior center Gorgui Dieng, 6-7 sophomore forward Chane Behanan, 6-10 sophomore center Zach Price and 6-8 freshman forward Montrezl Harrell all figure ahead of Van Treese on the depth chart.

Van Treese knows all that. To his credit, the veteran big man was willing to re-join a stacked team where playing time won't be guaranteed. It could be a magical year for Louisville next season and Van Treese now will be along for the ride.

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