Pitino updates team's health, progress

Rick Pitino says his 2007-08 team has the "most physical size, talent and athletic ability…during my time at U of L." An injury-plagued team the past couple seasons, Pitino's Cards appear to be in good health with just a month and a half until practice begins in mid-October.

Rick Pitino says his 2007-08 team has the "most physical size, talent and athletic ability…during my time at U of L." An injury-plagued team the past couple seasons, Pitino's Cards appear to be in good health with just a month and a half until practice begins in mid-October.

Here's what the Louisville coach had to say on his website, RickPitino.com, about several players who are recovering from injury:

David Padgett: "David Padgett is probably the healthiest he's ever been here at Louisville. His knees are better than ever, he's pain-free for the first time since he's been here, and the alignment of his knees now is correct. He's really excited and raring to go, plus he has all the mental experience of playing in big games. He understands what playing in big games is all about, both from his young experiences at Kansas and here playing in the Big East. He's our team captain and leader."

Juan Palacios: "I wouldn't characterize him as injury prone; he's just unlucky. He's been extremely unlucky. We're hoping for him that he has his healthiest season ever. He's in great shape right now, he's very smart and we need a little luck to fall his way for him to have an impressive senior year."


Pitino hopes Juan Palacios has a big
senior season.

Andre McGee: "Andre McGee, like Tello, has been a product of bad luck, but we think his luck is about to change. Most of his injury situations have involved cramping. (Trainer) Fred Hina, through tireless efforts investigating Andre's problems, has gotten control of it since the second half of last season. His knee is healthy again. At 5-9 ½, he's dunking the ball with ease, playing his best basketball, and looks great. If he can just stay healthy, he has the physical ability to have a great junior season."

Derrick Caracter: "Derrick Caracter's main issues last year were academic and weight related. Many did not understand that it did not have anything to do with his desire or his attitude. He's a good person who had to get his weight under control and get his academic deficiencies behind him. He had minor knee surgery this summer and is back in good shape right now with no swelling at all. We took our time and made sure he could come back 100 percent. He's 100 percent now and healthy."

Here are some other notables from Pitino's first report on RickPitino.com:

Here's what Pitino had to say about 7-0 freshman Clarence Holloway, who is enrolled at U of L but has not been cleared to play by the NCAA: "Clarence Holloway has not been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse to work out with us. We're hoping that when the clearinghouse gets done with the fall student-athletes sometime soon, Clarence can be cleared and be ready to play soon. He's similar to (NBA center) Nazr Mohammed was in that he's a project physically. It's going to take a lot of time to get that body in shape. He's gained a lot of weight, but being that we're the Jenny Craig of college basketball, we'll be able to get it off him in a short period of time."


Pitino said Jerry Smith will start at
guard this season.

Pitino said that sophomore guard Jerry Smith will start at the two-guard spot this season. "We just need to keep him out of foul trouble. He was plagued by early foul trouble last year and had trouble putting together great games because he was putting himself on the bench," Pitino wrote. "We have to get him over the hump from committing those early two fouls. He has outstanding ability and we expect an outstanding sophomore year out of him."

Pitino said this about freshmen Preston Knowles and George Goode: "This class will be slower developing. They will not play a lot this year because they are not physically ready, with the exception of Preston Knowles. He is a very good competitor, a good offensive and defensive player, is in great shape and he is physically and mentally tough enough to contribute as a freshman.

"George Goode is an outstanding shooter, but it's just too early to judge him with a few days of individual instruction. He's physically not ready to play college basketball for us. He needs some serious weight training to gain strength. Basketball-wise, he's an excellent shooter and very good athlete. He's just got to get a lot stronger and get his body fat under 10, which will take some time."

Pitino said that Mississippi State transfer Reggie Delk will provide good competition in practice this season for 6-5 junior forward Terrence Williams. "Reginald Delk reminds me a lot of Brandon Jenkins with a little better jump shot, but not quite the defensive player that BJ was. He has the same type of body and the same type of athleticism. The year that he's sitting out will be good for him. He has SEC experience, but the SEC game is different than the Big East game. Getting him in the weight room and getting him physically ready to play is what we'll be spending time on with him. He's really going to help compete against T-Will in practice. It's good for T-Will to have someone as athletic as Reggie to compete against each day. T-Will has his way too much last year in our practices."


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