Here are five takeaways from the University of Louisville Basketball programs first Red-White Scrimmage of the season held on Wednesday night at the KFC Yum Center.
A crowd of 7,896 fans saw the Red team edged the White team 105-102. The Cardinals had 10 players in double figures.
1. The new style is going to be fun: On Tuesday, Rick Pitino told us about a new style that his team will employ - mostly man-to-man defense and an up-tempo style on the offensive end. He said he wants this team to play like his 1996 team at Kentucky that won the NCAA title. He showed them the clip on Tuesday night of the LSU game when his UK team scored 86 points in a half.
Pitino said this team isn't close to where it needs to be but after one week he's very pleased at the style and the fans have to love it. The Cardinals were playing man-to-man - switching on everything - and running a motion offense, shooting a lot of three-pointers, trying to get to the basket and not using a lot of time on the shot clock.
It's going to be different but it's going to be fun folks.
"For less than one week of practice I was impressed," Pitino said after the scrimmage. ". . . I told you beforehand that you were going to see a lot of turnovers and obviously you saw a lot of them but I really liked their conditioning with no substitutes. This is a very athletic basketball team."
2. Donovan Mitchell was impressive: At times last season, we saw Donovan Mitchell flash glimpses of what could be a major star in the making and in his first showing this season he showed major - major - improvement.
Mitchell has dropped 10 pounds, is in better shape, has worked on his outside shot and Pitino said he was the best player on the floor. Mitchell did have seven turnovers but finished 6 of 10 shooting with 22 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks.
Pitino said Mitchell looked like a "complete basketball player."
"The guy who impressed me the most the whole game was Donovan, because he played with pace," Pitino said.
3. A shooter anyone? Pitino has been looking for that knock-down shooter for several years and it appears he has one of those in redshirt freshman Ryan McMahon. He was 6 of 8 from three-point range in the scrimmage.
McMahon, a confident shooter from Sarasota, Fla., finished with 18 points - hit four three's in a row - and also had six assists. McMahon said he's working on other aspects of his game in order to see more minutes.
4. The inside game: Pitino said he isn't - and shouldn't be - worried about the 'four' position. Jaylen Johnson (21 points, 20 rebounds) and Ray Spalding (18 points, 15 rebounds) both showed major improvement.
Spalding was all over the floor, also picking up five blocks and five steals, while Johnson showed major stamina improvement and was battling for rebounds on both ends of the floor. Pitino called Johnson "a work horse."
With those two at the four, the Cardinals are solid there and we could see some times when they play together.
But the center position is still going to be "by committee" with Matz Stockman and Anas Mahmoud splitting time. Mangok Mathiang will join them when he returns to the lineup in the next week or so. Stockman had 10 points and nine rebounds but did have 10 fouls, while Mahmoud added 10 points and seven rebounds with two blocked shots.
5. Drafting the roster: I don't think I would be alone in taking Quentin Snider first if we had to draft players off the current team. Snider had 27 points and hit 6 of 8 three-pointers - his shot looks great - but did have seven turnovers. Still he's the steady influence on this team and he's going to be the guy who gets big buckets for the Cardinals.
If I had to pick a guy second it would be Donovan Mitchell and then likely Ray Spalding. Take nothing away from the other guys, I just think those are going to be three guys who at the end of the season will have turned in major years.
Tony Hicks is a much better addition than many expected and is so fast; he could end up being the third or fourth-leading scorer on the team along with Mitchell, Snider and Deng Adel.
NOTE: The second Red-White Scrimmage is set for Oct. 21 at 7 o'clock.