Dartez Focused on Defense

6'10 Kendall Dartez has always been known as a talented and skilled offensive player. Now, though, the senior is focused on helping this tema on defense and his ten blocked shots against Holy Cross indicate strong improvement on his part.

Last season, Kendall Dartez' play could be summed up with one word: inconsistency. He'd have a great game against, say, Indiana, and follow up with a not so good performance against Southern Miss.

This year, though, the 6'10 senior is focused on providing the team with more consistent effort and he's trying to provide what the team needs most from him to be successful, which is rebounding and shot blocking help in the middle.

"I feel great about my defense, but I still have to work harder to get on the boards," Dartez said following his ten block performance against Holy Cross. "Thanks to the team pressuring me in practice, that was a great motivation and that's why I came out and played hard. They stayed on me in practice, telling me that I could do better. So I came out with a better attitude and more focus on playing defense and playing harder. I wasn't just thinking about myself. I was thinking about playing defense and wasn't worried about scoring."

Dartez, who seemed inspired by Nouha's Diakite's energy against Holy Cross, showed an aggressiveness challenging shots not seen from him since coming to Louisville last summer. But Dartez says blocking shots excites him and he's focused on continuing the trend the rest of the season.

"I get a charge out of it," Dartez said of blocking shots. "It's hard for me to grab a rebound because I'm always out of position. So I just work hard on blocking shots."

Despite some earlt season struggles on offense, Dartez believes there's plenty of offensive firepower provided by Francisco Garcia, Luke Whitehead and Taquan Dean, and that an improving defense will lead to a more potent offense before long.

"Offense will come," Dartez said. "We have Francisco, Taquan, Luke...we have great offensive players. If we do good on the defensive end it feels great and if we do good on the defensive end, the offense will come."

And while the 6'10 senior center is improving he says he not on track with where he wants to be just yet.

"I'm not on track yet," Dartez said. "I need focus on rebounds and helping the team."


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