Pitino says Garcia is ready for the NBA

Rick Pitino said last Saturday following Louisville's 72-57 loss to Illinois in the national semifinals there remained a chance that 6-7 junior forward Francisco Garcia might return for his senior season. However, just five days after making that statement, Pitino now says he expects the Cardinals' leading scorer to take his multi-dimensional skills to the NBA.

Rick Pitino said last Saturday following Louisville's 72-57 loss to Illinois in the national semifinals there remained a chance that 6-7 junior forward Francisco Garcia might return for his senior season.

However, just five days after making that statement, Pitino now says he expects the Cardinals' leading scorer to take his multi-dimensional skills to the NBA.

"I think he's going to go pro," Pitino said. "I want him to go pro, I do not want him coming back."

"It's a dream of his, and the young man wants to go pro," added Pitino. "And he's ready for it. He's 23 years of age, and he helped us get to the Final Four."


Pitino expects Garcia to take his
game to the NBA.

Garcia had somewhat of an up and down junior season. He struggled against Louisville's toughest competition during the regular-season, only to play well in the Cardinals' first three NCAA Tournament games. However, after a sub-par performance against the Illini in the Final Four, making just 2-10 shots and scoring only 4 points, both Garcia and Pitino were talking about another college season.

But it doesn't appear that final season in Louisville will materialize.

"He'd put so much pressure on himself if he were to come back it wouldn't be worth it," Pitino said. "So the timing is right for him to leave."

Pitino said Garcia will spend the next month preparing for the draft, and trying to add ten pounds of muscle to his 190-pound frame. He'll also likely participate in the Chicago pre-draft camp where he'll compete against some of the nation's top professional prospects to determine his likelihood of being selected in the first round.

"What he's got to find out is if he's going in a certain area (of the first round)," said Pitino. "He's going to have to go into these camps...and show what he can do. He's a very long player capable of doing a lot of good things in an individual workout."

Pitino also said he's advised Garcia of what he needs to do to retain the option of coming back to school if things don't workout as hoped during the next month.

"I pointed out to him that if he gets an agent it's over," said Pitino. "And I told him what he has to do to keep his options open."

"I love him like a son, and I want him to go pro," added Pitino. "It's Taquan's time now to break up the Batman and Robin and let him just be the Batman."


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