Dean: Frosh will catch on quickly defensively

Rick Pitino's inexperienced Louisville Cardinals will open the 2005-06 season next week with an exhibition against Bellarmine College and former assistant Scott Davenport. But U of L's most experienced player, senior guard Taquan Dean, says it's going to take more than just one game for the Cardinals five freshmen to grasp Pitino's defensive system.

Rick Pitino's inexperienced Louisville Cardinals will open the 2005-06 season next week with an exhibition against Bellarmine College and former assistant Scott Davenport. But U of L's most experienced player, senior guard Taquan Dean, says it's going to take more than just one game for the Cardinals five freshmen to grasp Pitino's defensive system.

"We've got a lot of defensive improvement to make," Dean said after U of L's Red/White scrimmage Wednesday night. "They're young and they're going to learn. When they get a couple of games under their belt, they'll get it."

Pitino has consistently praised the offensive ability of his freshmen class this preseason. In the scrimmage, U of L's newcomers combined to score 104 points. However, as pleased as Pitino has been about their offense, he's been equally displeased with their play on defense.


Dean offers McGee a helping hand
during the Red/White scrimmage.

Dean is confident, though, that the freshmen will quickly grasp Pitino's defensive expectations. "It takes about five games," said Dean. "Five games of Coach P ripping you a new (hindend)."

Point guard Andre McGee started opposite of Dean in the Red backcourt during the Red/White scrimmage and played well offensively, scoring 28 points and dishing out three assists. But he struggled somewhat defensively, committing five fouls on the night. As a freshman, Dean said he struggled to stay out of foul trouble, too.

"My first couple of games I fouled out," said Dean. "It's a learning process for him."

Dean said that once McGee's defense catches up to his offense, the Cardinals will have a dynamic point guard to run the show.

"He's a lightening bug," Dean said. "But defensively, he needs to step up a little bit more. Once he does that, he's going to be a great guard."

With so many newcomers playing key roles this season, even one's as talented as McGee and 6-foot-5 forward Terrence Williams, Dean realizes the Cardinals have plenty to do to establish themselves as legitimate contenders in the Big East and beyond.

"We have a lot to prove this year," said Dean.


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