Van Treese filling "big role" for Cardinals

University of Louisville big man Stephan Van Treese, who will return for a fifth season with the Cardinals next season, continues to improve as the team approaches post-season play.

When the season began, Stephan Van Treese was listed as a senior on the team roster, but the Indianapolis native won't be among the group being honored during Senior Night festivites on Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center.

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward, who missed all but three games last season due to an injured left knee, will return for a fifth season at the University of Louisville.

Van Treese has steadily improved since returning from his injury. Despite some nagging pain, he's played vital minutes for the Cardinals this season, including an impressive stretch filling the void left when Gorgui Dieng was sidelined with a wrist injury earlier this season.


Stephan Van Treese

"It just took me awhile to get my legs back, because I didn't do anything for six or seven months," he told Cardinal Authority. "I couldn't run or jump or anything like that, so getting back to the speed of the game has been good. I still feel a little pain, so I have to deal with that, but I'm good."

Dieng, who while only a junior will participate in Senior Night due the possiblility of becoming an NBA Draft first-round choice, appreciates the role that Van Treese has filled for both him personally and the team.

"He's playing a very big role for us right now," said Dieng. "Stephan is a very strong player. He's very physical and when he plays like that in practice it helps me. That's very good for us as a team."

Van Treese's role on the court has become equally as important. While he's only scored 52 total points in 27 game appearances this season, he has been key on the offensive glass.

"When Gorgui comes out I feel like I bring a new energy to the floor," he said. "I try to contribute as much as I can, especially with offensive rebounding and doing what I'm supposed to do on defense."

"He plays big," added Dieng. "He's important to this basketball team and we need him if we are to be successful."

Van Treese should continue to see his key role continue during the Cardinals run during the Big East Conference and NCAA Tournaments, as well as into the 2013-14 season.

"I've learned a lot since I have been here and I have grown a lot," he said. "It takes a lot of hard work to play in this program and I think I do that."

Louisville will close out its regular season on Saturday afternoon when it hosts Notre Dame at 4:00pm at the KFC Yum! Center.


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