University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino met with the media on Monday as the Cardinals prepare to play their first game of the season on Tuesday night at the KFC Yum! Center.
Pitino named sophomore Montrezl Harrell a tri-captain and updated the media on injuries and Chane Behanan's status prior to the 7 o'clock start against Kentucky Wesleyan in the first of two exhibition games.
"I'm excited to see where we are at this point," Pitino said, noting Wesleyan new coach Happy Osborne always "has his teams ready to play us."
"We have no idea what they're going to run," Pitino said. "But that helps as well because the players will have to spontaneously react.
"There's a lot of curiosity behind this game and we are excited."
Harrell now joins Russ Smith and Luke Hancock as team captains after showing a "hardworking attitude" during the preseason. A second-team preseason All-American pick by several media outlets, Harrell played in all 40 games last season for U of L, averaging 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds.
"I've seen as much improvement (in Harrell) as any player I've coached from his freshman to sophomore years," Pitino said. "He brings it every play."
Pitino said his starting lineup will "probably" be Russ Smith and Chris Jones in the backcourt, along with Harrell, Wayne Blackshear and Stephen Van Treese.
"We've had a lot of little nagging injuries," Pitino said.
He said Smith has had "a few minor things," while Jones was spotted on campus walking in a boot. Tim Henderson might not play in the game because of a "badly jammed finger," while Luke Hancock and Kevin Ware are still out.
Pitino said Hancock had a final MRI on his Achilles early Monday and is "probably going to start practicing," later in the week.
Kevin Ware is also "healed" after his gruesome broken leg last season against Duke, having done individual instructions for a few days. He also expects Ware to be back practicing with the team later this week.
"His leg is as good as your or mine," Pitino said to a reporter.
Pitino also said there is no change in the status of junior Chane Behanan, who is suspended indefinitely at this point.
"I have no idea when he's coming back, but I'm really, really pleased because this is incorporating a lot of changes in his life that need to be made," the Hall of Fame coach said. "One was discipline. Another was being on time or being early. Another was respecting everything you do in the right way because there are consequences and your team is suffering without you.
". . . There are a lot of positives coming out of this, and I think a changed Chane Behanan will be really, really good for him."