Pitino wants to get Dieng more rest

University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino said on Thursday night after a win over St. John's that he has to get junior center Gorgui Dieng more rest. Cardinal Authority has what Pitino said and the reaction from Dieng.

University of Louisville junior center Gorgui Dieng has played 33 or more minutes in eight of the last nine games.

Dieng has played 39 minutes in three of those games, while he played 52 in the loss to Notre Dame and then 37 minutes in Thursday's win against St. John's.

But coach Rick Pitino said that is too many minutes.

"I think if I could just play him four less minutes and stop wearing him out," Pitino said. "I have to get him more rest. I am playing him too much early on."

Pitino said he wants to try and use Stephan Van Treese or Zach Price a little more – especially in the first half – over the next few weeks. He said that would give Dieng some added energy late in games.

"You would see more blocks and I have to learn to do that," Pitino said.

Asked after the game about getting more rest, Dieng smiled and said he would do whatever the coach asked him to do for the Cardinals.

"I am just playing and I don't care how many minutes," Dieng said. "Whatever it takes for me to help this basketball team, I will do it."

But Dieng did say he feels "a little rusty" at the end of games when he has to play a lot of minutes like he did on Thursday against the Red Storm.

"But I feel like I can still go," Dieng said. "I'll be OK."

Sophomore forward Chane Behanan was asked about Dieng's minutes with the lack of rest and said, "I don't know how he does it sometimes."

Pitino said besides the need for a bit of a breather that Dieng also has a few other little details he needs to clean up in his game in the final few weeks.

"He has to get to the offensive glass more, and he has to stop bringing the ball down," Pitino said. "But that's fundamentals. It's just little things. I would be disappointed if it was big things, but it's not.

"It's all correctable where we can get better."

Dieng is averaging 9.4 points and 10.3 rebounds a game for the Cardinals. He said he knows he'll have to up his scoring in coming games.

"At the beginning of the season, I wasn't passing it as well," Dieng said. "Now, I just need to score more when we need it. If Russ (Smith) is going to score 24 or 25, then I am not going to worry about it. I will just go rebound.

"But if we're struggling, I know I need to score more."

The Cardinals (20-5, 8-4) will play at South Florida on Sunday.


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