The University of Louisville basketball team is prepping for a trip to Puerto Rico, where they will play nine games in six days against the Puerto Rico National and Junior National Teams. Rick Pitino, who is serving as the Puerto Rico head coach, spent 30 minutes visiting with members of the media on Thursday afternoon.
Following 10 minutes with reporters joining via teleconference discussing the Puerto Rico National Team, Pitino chatted with local media about the 2015-16 Cardinals.
Here's a few quick quotes, plus the entire video:
On the additions and early impressions of fifth-year transfers Damion Lee (Drexel) and Trey Lewis (Cleveland State):
“(Lee) is much better than I anticipated. I was hoping he'd be good. Kevin Keatts played against him during the year and told me a lot about him. He played in a slow style and in a fast style of play he's lethal because of how he scores. He's not a selfish player by any means, but he has the ability to put points up and something that's so needed with this basketball team.”
“Trey Lewis is also a young man that gives incredible leadership. Tough physically. Gets in the lane, shoots it and does a lot of good things, as well.”
On how he'll handle the roster during double-header days on the Puerto Rico trip.
“What we are going to do is Ryan McMahon, Dillon Avare, David Levitch, they'll play against the younger guys, along with Deng Adel, Ray Spalding and then we'll mix in Matz (Stockman), Nanu and some of the other guys. The eight guys that play in that game, will play less minutes against the National Team and then we'll switch it around the next night.”
“We basically want to give guys like Matz, Anas (Mahmoud), Ryan and David 30 minutes for the first time.”
On the attitude and progress of the current team.
“I keep saying about the attitude and the shooting, but remember, we were a layup and a free throw away from a Final Four. The attitude is great. I won't say that the attitude was bad last year, or great, it was somewhere in the middle because of all the distractions we had. Sometimes talent prevails. What we've got to see right now, and this is what the gauge is going to be – the barometer for measuring us – is, can we compete against Puerto Rico? If we can stay with Puerto Rico and get a couple wins, we're a pretty good basketball team.”
The Cardinals will begin play in Puerto Rico on Aug. 10 and will play nine games in six days, including a trio of double-headers. The team will play its final game on Aug. 17 and will return to Louisville later that day.
Puerto Rico National Team Press Conference (portions in Spanish)