Louisville Basketball Notebook

With Louisville's season-opener against Northwestern State only a week away, Rick Pitino had plenty to talk about Wednesday afternoon, including the return of David Padgett and Brandon Jenkins to the starting lineup.

Don't be surprised if junior center David Padgett and senior guard Brandon Jenkins start Louisville's season opener against Northwestern State next week. That's the word for U of L coach Rick Pitino.

Pitino said Wednesday that Padgett probably wouldn't go a full practice this season, but added that his knees are finally working properly after undergoing off-season surgery.

"David is doing well and he's practicing," Pitino said. "I think he'll probably be a factor for us this season and start next week and be a factor in the ball game, but I don't think he's going to be 100 percent this season."

Pitino said Padgett can still be effective in the low-post and help the young Cardinals with his know-how and experience.

"He still has all the skills he's had in the past. He's just not fit. He's stronger. He's smart. But he can't do it for long periods of time right now," Pitino said. "He can still give us 20 very good minutes, but he can't give us 30 very good minutes."

The 6'3 Jenkins also returned to practice this week and Pitino hopes to have him back for the season-opener. If not, Pitino would likely be forced to start a pair of freshmen in the backcourt. That's something Pitino says is a perfect way to start the season 0-1.

"Brandon Jenkins is also back to practice and (Wednesday) will be the second day he's practiced," Pitino said. "He probably has a chance to start (next week). I'd like to get both of them healthy enough to be a factor for the Dayton game (Nov. 24). But I think both of them will play against (Northwestern State) and I do think David will start in that game."

The Cards are coming off a 94-92 exhibition win last week over NAIA Georgetown. While Pitino wasn't happy with his team's defense, he did find encouragement with their potential offensively.

Brandon Jenkins could start in the

"Obviously, the biggest disappointment in that game was on defense, but that was to be expected" Pitino said. "We've been struggling with defense for some time. We're playing a lot of young people and that was a very good exhibition game for us. But anytime you let a team shoot 50% on your court, and you have 23 turnovers and give up 11 3's that's not good and you need a lot of work. Georgetown helped us immensely."

Pitino got 25 points from 6'9 freshman Derrick Caracter and point guard Edgar Sosa showed he's capable of running the offense and getting to the basket and finishing against bigger foes.

"The flip-side of that game is they created the tempo I wanted, which is very good," Pitino added. "I saw a lot of bright spots."

"We're improving daily. I see significant improvement in our basketball team each day out," Pitino said. "We were a mediocre to good team last year with a lot of injuries. We will be much better than last year's team. It depends on how quickly we can get healthy. We're fighting the clock right now because the Dayton game is a pivotal one for us. They're very talented and that will be a road game for us because ticket sales are not going well."

Sosa appears to have the starting point guard job all but locked up.

"Andre McGee has a different injury problem everyday. His knee, cramps," Pitino said. "He has a lot of problems. Sosa really hasn't beaten him out he's just healthy all the time. That's why he's getting the starting nod."

Louisville struggled offensively last season and struggled all year shooting the basketball. Pitino believes he's got the answers this season for a better shooting team capable of putting points on the scoreboard.

"I think we'll shoot a better percentage because we're a better post-up team," Pitino said. "I know we're a better offensive basketball team. Our tempo is better. We've just got a long way to go defensively."

On a final note, Pitino had this to say about 6'5 sophomore small forward Terrence Williams, who scored just six points against Georgetown and was largely a non-factor in that contest.

"He has to fill up every box on the stat sheet," Pitino said. "If he just fills it up with just points he's having a bad night. I believe he'll get 3-5 triple-doubles this year. That's what he should do. He has that type of talent."

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