Pitino vows significant lineup changes

Rick Pitino promises that big changes are in store for his 1-1 Louisville Cardinals. Coming off a disappointing 68-64 loss to Dayton last weekend, Pitino plans to shake-up his lineup when Sacramento State visits Freedom Hall Saturday night.

Rick Pitino promises that big changes are in store for his 1-1 Louisville Cardinals. Coming off a disappointing 68-64 loss to Dayton last weekend, Pitino plans to shake-up his lineup when Sacramento State visits Freedom Hall Saturday night.

Though Pitino didn't specifically detail which changes he'll make to his roster Friday afternoon during his pre-game press conference, it wouldn't be surprising if David Padgett and some of the other Louisville big men saw decreased playing time tomorrow night.

Rebounding was a big focus of Pitino's ire following the loss to the Flyers. Pitino didn't seemed please with the 6-11 David Padgett, who played 24 minutes in the loss to Dayton last Saturday and grabbed just two rebounds. "I know he's trying, he's just not anywhere near 100 percent," Pitino said.

Pitino blamed his team's loss on "leaking out" in the late stages of the game against Dayton instead of staying in the lane and rebounding the basketball. Besides Padgett's lack of rebounding against Dayton, 7-0 Jonathan Huffman and 6-10 Terrance Farley combined for only four rebounds in 16 minutes of play.

"Rebounding has got to be a priority right now and you'll see from our lineup that we're going to make significant changes," Pitino said. "I'm not sure exactly what it will be yet, but we're going to make significant changes. If big people aren't going to rebound we're going to go with other people to try and enhance other facets of the game."

Though the Cards out-rebounded Dayton 36-28, the Flyers got several key rebounds late in the game that allowed them to comeback from a late five point deficit in the game's last five minutes.

"Rebounding is a special thing," Pitino said. "There are very few great rebounders in the game. That's why they stay around the NBA for a long time."

Derrick Caracter could make a big difference for the Cardinals when he returns to lineup next week against Arizona in New York. Caracter, a 6-9 freshman, grabbed double-digit rebounds in Louisville's exhibition win over Georgetown College.

"I don't know if he helps the rebounding or not," Pitino said. "I don't see it in practice, but Derrick's one of those players that you can't judge by practice. When the lights come on Derrick Caracter is a totally different player."

Pitino also wants to see improved rebounding from his perimeter players, namely starting forward Terrence Williams and point guard Edgar Sosa. Williams played 33 minutes against Dayton and grabbed just five boards, while Sosa got just two boards in 29 minutes.

"Jerry Smith is our best rebounder," Pitino said. "Twill has been told there will be no more five or six rebound games from him. He's playing 30 minutes and getting one rebound every 5 or 6 minutes. He'll rebound the ball or learn to be a coach."

Pitino said Sosa should get more rebounds, particularly on defense because his man is usually heading down court to get back on defense when the ball comes off the board.

"That's unheard of because he doesn't have to block anyone out. His man goes back on defense and he gets a clear shot. He should grab four or five rebounds a game," Pitino said. "He's my kind of guy – he eats and sleeps the game. But he's never had to rebound before so it's new to him. But he's willing to learn and I love to coach him."

Don't be surprised to see a patchwork lineup Saturday night from Pitino – ultimately one the coach feels can help his team clear the boards and stop the opponent more often on defense.

"We're going to try to create better scenarios for us at the defensive end," Pitino said.


Cardinal Authority Top Stories