Pitino's Cards heading north of the border

Before his sixth Louisville team laces them up for real next season, Rick Pitino will take his young team north of the border to Canada for three games later this summer to give them a head start heading into the 2006-07 season.

Rick Pitino has beefed up Louisville's 2006-07 basketball schedule for a reason; he thinks he'll have a much improved team next season.

The Cardinals will face Arizona in the Jimmy V. Classic, play host to Kentucky, Miami and New Mexico State, and play Dayton in Cincinnati.

"You can tell by the schedule what I think of the team's potential," Pitino said.

But before his sixth Louisville team laces them up for real next season, Pitino will take his young team north of the border for three games later this summer to give them a head start heading into the season.

"We're going to make a Canadian trip," Pitino said. "We get a chance to practice ten days and we'll start the first day of school. We can go ten straight days of double (practice) sessions going into a three day Canadian trip on Labor Day."

The Cardinals will travel to Ottawa for the Labor Day holiday where they'll play three games against Canadian competition. Pitino figures the added practice time and game competition will provide his team a big boost.


Louisville's Canadian trip later this
summer should benefit young
players like freshman point guard
Edgar Sosa.

"It's going to be a major advantage for us because we have so many new players," Pitino explained. "With only one senior on the team it will be great to (work) with these players before October 15."

Though the Cardinals return 12 players from last season's 21-13 team, Pitino's roster will once again be filled with young players, five sophomores and five freshmen to be exact.

"We have 12 players coming back with five newcomers so it should be a deep basketball team that's very young," Pitino said. "I think right now we're like a blue-chip stock that's going to climb, climb and climb. We're going to be a very good team the next few years because we lose very few players."

Most of Louisville's talented 2006 recruiting class, which includes Edgar Sosa, Earl Clark, Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark, has already arrived on campus. Those newcomers already on campus will begin summer classes and help with Pitino's basketball camps next week.

"They're here now, not all of them, but most of the guys are here for the first semester of summer school," Pitino said, noting that he expects all four of his 2006 recruits to be on campus this summer.

Padgett Making Progress

According to Rick Pitino, 6-foot-11 junior center David Padgett is recovering nicely from off-season knee surgery.

"He's progressing nicely," Pitino said. "He's not on the basketball court, but he should be sometime in July."


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