1. Oh my, Montrezl Harrell: The sophomore is by far the most improved player on the team and will be one of the top players in the country this season. He was playing against an inferior opponent in Kentucky Wesleyan on this night, but it might not matter. He is so long (7-4 wing span), so athletic and so physical along with having such a high motor that even Rick Pitino called him "a stud." His low post game is much improved and his ability to get to the rim and dunk the ball is sensational. Harrell had 43 dunks last season and should be able to shatter the school-record for dunks in one season - which is 59 (Pervis Ellison and Chane Behanan). Pitino compared him "Mister Fantastic," the fictional superhero.
2. Free-throw shooting woes?: The Cardinals only hit 32 of 56 from the free-throw line and the 2 of 11 from Harrell raises a question. But Pitino said his team is a "much better free-throw shooting team" than the Cardinals showed last night. And I believe that. Chris Jones shot 71 percent in JUCO last season and was just 2 of 7 against Wesleyan. Harrell is not that poor of a shooter and the two best free-throw shooters - Russ Smith and Terry Rozier - are going to get a ton of attempts. Just one game and I'm not worried about the woes.
3. Rozier has impressive debut: Freshman Terry Rozier lived up to his billing. He was 5 of 13 from the field and finished with 18 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes. He played the most minutes of anyone on the team and is such a standout rebounder from the guard position. His game is at a high, high level right now and he's going to have to get his minutes. It will be interesting to see how coach Pitino plays with the minutes this season.
4. The good and bad in the middle: Louisville isn't going to replace Gorgui Dieng with one player. But the three in the middle - Stephen Van Treese, Mangok Mathiang and Akoy Agau - are all going to have to contribute. Pitino wants Van Treese to look at the basket more on defense but he will also have to get more than two rebounds in 17 minutes. He's so athletic and such a steady player, the senior will have to step up. Mathiang was impressive with eight points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes, while Agau had eight points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in a solid debut. None of those three has to be Gorgui, but all three need to be solid and play their roles.
5. A few leftover observations: Impressive debut and that was without Luke Hancock, Kevin Ware and Chane Behanan. Hancock was really positive after the game and expects to be back later this week. . . . Chris Jones 16 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and just three turnovers is a solid start. . . . Anton Gill doesn't get much hype but he can shoot it. In the three scrimmages and the exhibition game he's now 13 of 26 from three-point range. . . . Wayne Balckshear only had 10 minutes because of four fouls. . . . David Levitch 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. . . . Cards will now play Pikeville next Wednesday before opening the season next Saturday against College of Charleston.