Hoops Wrap-Up: Montrezl Harrell

Our Cardinal Authority series of stories of "Hoops Wrap-Up" continues, featuring a look at each player on the University of Louisville men's basketball team. A look back at the season and forward to the future: Our focus today is junior Montrezl Harrell:

Montrezl Harrell

6-8, So., Forward

Tarlboro, N.C.

Averages: Harrell had 11 double-doubles in the final 22 games and saw his averages go up to 14 points and 8.4 rebounds a game. He led the team in rebounding and finished second in scoring. He was also second with 49 blocks and fourth on the team with 45 assists.

Overview: Harrell came on and improved by leaps and bounds after the dismissal of Chane Behanan. He was getting the minutes and producing. At the end of the season, Harrell had a decision to make and he opted to return to school for one more season. Harrell was a co-captain as a sophomore will retain that role again next season. He became the Cardinals best inside player - by far - and was a key to the end team posting a 31-6 record.

Best game: There were plenty but perhaps his best overall game was in the championship game of the AAC Tournament in a win over eventual national champion Connecticut. Harrell, who had a huge Big East final the year before, finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Cardinals. He had a career-high 25 on March 1 against Memphis.

Projected future: Harrell would have been picked in the late first round but opted to come back for his junior season to improve his draft stock. With another offseason and preseason work, Harrell should be a dominating force in the middle again for the Cardinals with a lottery selection in the NBA Draft waiting for him after next season.

Quotable: "Like Gorgui (Dieng), Montrezl will benefit tremendously from playing his junior season," U of L coach Rick Pitino said. "We hope like Russ (Smith), that he can become a first-team All-American. He has room to improve and we'll make sure he does the things he needs to do to improve."

Fun stat: Harrell finished the season with 97 dunks, shattering the school's old record of 59 by Pervis Ellison and Chane Behanan. He has 141 dunks in two seasons, ranking third currently on the school's all-time list.

Bottom line: The Cardinals needed Harrell to come back for the first season in the ACC and Harrell needed to come back to become a lottery pick. It's a win/win for both sides and he's already been working hard on his game. Expect the same high-motor guy but expect all of his offensive skills to improve drastically before next season. Oh, and he'll still be trying to dunk everything but will be able to do other things if he can't get those dunks off."

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