Garcia says Cards will be better this season

6'7 guard/forward Francisco Garcia talks about his improvement, the upcoming season and why he beleives the Cards will be a better team this year.

6'7 Francisco Garcia was named the Conference USA Freshman of Year last season after averaging 11.2 points per game.

Garcia, who showed flashes last season as a rookie of being a leader, is ready to step up and provide this team with the leadership it will need to be successful.

"It's not just me, we need a couple of guys to step up this year and I think I'm one of them," Garcia said.

During the offseason, Garcia honed his skills at the college adidas ABCD camp in Teaneck, NJ before heading to his native Dominican Republic where he represented his home country in the 2003 Pan Am games.

This season, Garcia says he'll be a much more complete player because of his improved understanding of the game.

"Now I'm understanding the game a little bit more," Garcia said. "When I first got here I was shooting all the time. Now I've learned how to work the ball and go to the hole and handle the ball better."

And what makes Francisco such an effective offensive weapon?

"I just read what the defense gives me and take advantage of it," Garcia explained.

Coming from the Bronx, Garcia said he loves being in Louisville and admitted coming to the River City to play for Coach Pitino was a great move.

"I love it," Garcia said of Louisville. "I love the fans, my coach, the university. I love everything [about it]. It was a great move."

So what are the differences between last years team and this one?

"We're going to run a little bit more and be in better shape than last year," Garcia said. "We're going to play more together as a team. We're going to be OK."

Garcia is also excited about the number of good shooters this team has and expects the 2003-04 Cards to be able to light it up from the outside.

"We've got a lot of shooters on this team," Garcia said. "We've got Nate Daniels and the big men have made a big improvement from last year and will shoot a little bit better this year. We're going to be a better shooting team than last year."

Having lost two starters, including Reece Gaines, Garcia predicted this team will be better because of its togetherness.

"I think we can be real good," Garcia said. "We're going to be as good or better than last year because we're going to play more together as a team and everybody supports each other."

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