Tipoff luncheon starts season for Cards

The basketball season is here! The University of Louisville is projected as one of the top teams in the country held its tip off luncheon on Thursday at the downtown Marriott. Here are a few notes from the event that has a crowd of around 1,500.

HUMBLE AND HUNGRY FOR CARDS

Pitino told the crowd that the word for this year and this team was "humility," noting they need to forget about last season.

He said the team would focus on staying hungry despite whatever the rankings say in the preseason. He said "humble and hungry" six different times.

"People ask me if we are the No. 1 team, I say sure we are but I don't vote," he said.

Pitino said he would make sure the players stay focused and keep working hard and gave a tip to the fans.

"If we lose a few games, stay in the middle lane and don't get too close to that bridge," he said. "And if we win a few games, stay humble. Don't call into those (radio talk) shows saying how good we are."

PLAYERS INTRODUCE PLAYERS

Pitino spoke for about 30 minutes after the players were introduced.

He said he wanted the players to introduce each other to see how they reacted in front of a crowd of 1,500. After the introductions were complete, Pitino joked that "now we know we're going to redshirt Mangko (Mathiang)."

All joking aside, the players did a nice job with the introductions.

And, of course, there were a few jokes. Here's a sampling of some of the best stuff that the players said:

Kevin Ware: "The guy I'm introducing is probably the fattest, sloppiest, McDonalds All-American to ever put on a U of L jersey: Wayne Blackshear"

Mango Mathiang: "Me and Gorgui are not related."

Montrezl Harrell: He introduced Angel Nunez as "not the brightest in the world."

Angel Nunez introduced Zach Price and said his nickname is "Lester," and then Price comes up and says, "No, I'm not Lester."

Gorgui Dieng smiles and thanks coach Pitino for "bringing more Africans to the team."

A NEW WALK ON FOR THE SEASON

Michael Baffour was already added to the roster as a walk-on and Tim Henderson is still with the team this season.

Now, Pitino has added another walk-on.

Logan Baumann, who played his high school basketball at Ohio County, was enrolled at U of L already and had planned on being a manager.

When Mike Marra was recently injured, Baumann said Pitino came to him and asked him if he could play. Baumann told him he played in high school.

"He gave me a jersey," said Baumann, who was an honorable mention All-State player as a senior last season and received a tryout for the Kentucky All-Star team.

The 6-foot-1 Baumann started out the player introductions at the event and had the fans laughing at several jokes.

He had to introduce Mathiang and told the story of a recent team event to laser tag for the team and he had to try and shoot Mathiang.

"You guys probably don't know Mangko much, but you can't see him," Baumann said. "I'm playing laser tag with Mangko and I am like, ‘Where's he at? He would shoot me and I was like, ‘What am I supposed to do?"

MARRA HAS SURGERY ON KNEE

Pitino said guard Mike Marra, who injured recently in his attempt to come back from a knee injury, was having surgery on Thursday.

Marra has another torn ACL in his knee.

Pitino said Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport has offered Marra the opportunity to walk-on with the Knights for two seasons and work on his masters degree.

Marra is undecided about his future at this point.

PITINO LIKES PITBULL

Pitino said he likes the entertainer Pitbull and mentioned him at least three times during his speech at the event.

Pitino said he has nine minutes every morning – his drive from his home to his office – to listen to music and it's always Pitbull.

"PitBull is my favorite," Pitino said. "He was 305 and now he's worldwide. That's good."

QUOTE OF THE DAY

There were so many to pick from at the event, but how about Pitino talking about sophomore Wayne Blackshear and his conditioning.

"He's working himself into shape of a Louisville basketball player," Pitino said of Blackshear. "He's somewhere around Ohio right now."


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