Welcome to the new college basketball season.
The University of Louisville is in Puerto Rico and will take on Minnesota tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the opening game of the new season.
But before the tip, Cardinal Authority chatted with each member of the U of L men’s team and asked the question about, “Who is the most improved,” player on the team heading into the season.
A few players were mentioned, including “everybody” who has returned according to Anton Gill and Montrezl Harrell. Coach Rick Pitino has said his expected starting five – Chris Jones, Terry Rozier, Mangok Mathiang, Montrezl Harrell and Wayne Blackshear – and ahead of everyone else and they have “all shown improvement.”
The consensus among the team is either Terry Rozier or Montrezl Harrell. Here are comments from each player on the team:
Terry Rozier: “I feel like I am. I took an important summer and I got better. I didn’t rest after the season, I met with coach P and put down a list of things I needed to improved and tried to check them all off. I think I have gotten better and I think that I needed to improve. I still have a ways to go, but I am better.”
Chris Jones: “I would say Wayne, by far. I know everybody has been down on Wayne in the past but he’s been playing hard, he’s a leader, he’s more physical, he’s just better. I think we got the high school Wayne back.”
Mangok Mathiang: “Terry and not just because he’s my roommate. His shot is a lot better, he’s really worked hard and knows what to do to keep coach P happy. He’s made a lot of strides. You just wait, you will see it.”
Wayne Blackshear: “Matz and Anas are hard not to say because they have come a long way already. But Terry is a whole lot better than he was last year when he got here.”
Montrezl Harrell: “Honestly, I could say it’s about anybody who has come back. We have worked hard in the offseason to get our bodies ready and I think everybody has added something to their game. Take your pick on the guys returning, I think it’s any of those guys.”
Chinanu Onuaku: “A lot of people have improved since I’ve been here. Terry is going to have a really good year, he’s a lot better.”
Quentin Snider: “I think I would have to say Matz (Stockman) because he’s coming along every day in practice. He’s come a long way already.”
Shaqquan Aaron: “All of our freshmen from the start of practice until now we have improved a lot, I mean a whole lot.”
Anton Gill: “I would probably say, well that’s a tough one. I’ll say everybody that has come back is improved. Trez has gotten better, Mangok is a lot better, and I think I have gotten better. Chris is quicker and stronger and Terry is better. I just think everybody has really gotten better.”
Matz Stockman: “I think Montrezl because he handles the ball so much better and has added a jump shot. Plus, he’s a really good leader now.”
Jaylen Johnson: “I have two. I would say Trez and Chinanu (Onuaku), yeah both of them. Chinanu because he has gotten so much quicker on his feet already and Trez because he has gone from an average big to a guy who can do so many things, handle the ball and shoot it. He’s better than he was last year.”
Akoy Agau: “Truthfully, until I got hurt I think I would have said myself. I need to get back to where I was before I got hurt (this summer).”
Dillon Avare: “Chris because he’s lost the weight coach wanted him to lose. He’s lighting fast and literally unguardable.”
Trent Gilbert: “Nanu (Onuaku) because he does all the little things a coach wants and just keeps improving. When we first got here this summer he wasn’t really sure where he stood on the court but now he’s doing everything.”
David Levitch: “I would say Terry. It’s hard to say on this team because there are a lot of guys who have shown improvement, but he’s just gotten so much better and it’s more than just basketball itself.”