Pitino likes the new Jaylen Johnson
Louisville Cardinals basketball coach Rick Pitino has mentioned several times during the offseason about the new-look with junior forward Jaylen Johnson. He said it has taken Johnson "a little longer" to get it.
The 6-foot-9 Johnson showed glimpses of solid play in limited minutes as a freshman, but he didn't turn into the star folks expected as a sophomore. Now, Pitino says he's had a "really good" offseason.
"Jaylen because he has changed his body can finally be a basketball player without getting fatigued every one or two minutes," Pitino told Cardinal Authority. "And that's really going to help Jaylen and help us as a team.
"It took him a little longer but he's finally gotten it. He understands he has to keep his body like a temple."
Johnson, who averaged five points and 3.5 rebounds and shot 46.5 percent from the field last season, is expected to play a much larger role for the Cardinals this coming season.
"His mind has changed because his body has changed," Pitino said on WHAS-840 radio.
Mitchell excited for the new season
Sophomore Donovan Mitchell attended the adidas Nations event last month in Los Angeles and was asked about the Cardinals' upcoming season. He said he feels like the Cardinals should be really exciting when things get going.
"I think we'll be really good as a team," he said. "We have a lot of returning guys."
"We have V.J. (King) and we have the transfer, Tony (Hicks) is pretty good, so we should be really good as a group and I can't wait to get out there and play."
Most Improved Player?
Pitino told Cardinal Authority last month that the question of which player is most improved on his team was "the toughest question" to answer in recent memory because of so many players in the mix.
"I could say Donovan (Mitchell), I could say Jaylen (Johnson), Matz (Stockman) and Anas (Mahmoud)," Pitino said. "I could say Quentin (Snider). I really couldn't tell you from watching them who is the most improved player on this team.
"I can't honestly answer it."
Pitino had a bunch of names but one of the names on his list - Mitchell - said he has a candidate.
"Deng Adel," Mitchell said. "He's one of the guys that I have seen a lot of most improvement from. He's a beast offensively and defensively."
More praise for Adel
Draft Express said Adel was the top college performer at the adidas Nations event.
Adel averaged 11.8 points, 5.8 rebounds. 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals and hot 57.5 percent from the field in the college games at nations.
Draft Express said: "Adel has the physical tools to be an impactful college player, something that will earn him some NBA looks. He still has a great deal of room for growth, as he learns how to play the game under control, and at a high level consistently. His sophomore season at Louisville will be worth monitoring closely, to see if he develops his perimeter skill-set, polish and feel for the game."
Tickets for Indiana game on sale
Louisville will play Indiana on New Year's Eve in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the tickets will be split between the two schools. The Louisville portion of the tickets went on sale this week.
Tickets for the game are $60 for lower level seats, $35 for upper level side court seating, and $20 for the upper level corners and end zone areas. There is a limit of 12 tickets per order.
For information go to gocards.com or call (502) GO-CARDS.