Pitino's point guard search has ended

Rick Pitino has tried very hard to find a true point guard since arriving at Louisville four years ago. He had two McDonald's All-American point guards – Carlos Hurt and Sebastian Telfair – signed and sealed, but neither panned out.

Now, with the arrival of Andre McGee, a 5-foot-11, 185-pounder from California, you can effectively consider the search over.

"Andre is really good," Pitino said. "When you think back, we've always had to break pressure with our forwards, never our point guard. Now we'll break pressure with our point guard. We really think in the open court he's un-guardable."

Pitino said that if the season started today, McGee would join senior Taquan Dean and junior Brandon Jenkins in the starting lineup to form a quick and dangerous three guard attack similar to the one Bruce Webber employed last season at Illinois.

"I think it presents a lot of the same problems like the Illinois team last year," McGee said of the possibility of a three guard lineup. "It's hard to guard three guards because we're all able to shoot, penetrate and create for others."

Dean, who knows all about the difficulties of defending against a three guard attack after facing Illinois in the Final Four, agreed with McGee.

"A three guard rotation where anybody can run the point is hard to guard," said Dean. "With the addition of Andre, who is a true point guard, he makes everybody's job a lot easier."

And while Dean believes McGee will help make life easier on the perimeter for both himself and Jenkins, McGee says the reverse is true for himself with Dean at his side in the Cardinals backcourt.

"He's liable to get hot at any second," McGee said of Dean. "He's so smart off the ball – he knows how to use picks and get open. I'm starting to learn where he likes the ball. Playing with him as a point guard is lovely. All you've got to do is give him the ball and that's an automatic assist."


McGee has lost nearly 20 pounds since
arriving in Louisville this summer.

Not many freshmen have earned starting positions under Pitino at Louisville – Dean, Francisco Garcia and Juan Palacios are the rare exceptions – but if McGee can pull off the feat, it will likely be because of his defense. Dean, noted as an excellent, hard-nosed defender, says McGee is the best defender of all the newcomers.

"You can't lose him," Dean said. "He's just right there every time."

Jenkins had similar praise for McGee, especially on offense.

"He stands out from all the freshmen," Jenkins said. "I think he's ready to step in and play the point guard on the offensive end right now. He's not ready on the defensive end yet, but he's pretty talented."

Since arriving in Louisville four months ago, McGee has worked hard to transform his body and get himself in condition to play major minutes this season. There's little question that hard work has paid huge dividends, including the 16-17 pounds he's dropped since the summer.

"I feel a lot quicker and my endurance is better," McGee said.

McGee said it would also be a great feeling to begin the season in the starting lineup. "That would be awesome. Having that happen would be a dream come true, you know, starting in your first college game."

McGee also said he's adjusting well to college life and the demands of Pitino's system.

"He (Pitino) makes it understood that everything he says may not be nice, but it's what you need to hear," McGee said. "He's not going to lie to you, that's the main thing. It's all constructive criticism."


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