Freshman Knowles draws Pitino's praise

Freshman Preston Knowles made quite a first impression Monday in his Louisville debut in the Cardinals public Red-White scrimmage, playing an iron-man like 44 of 45 minutes and taking on the offensive load in the second half for his team.

Freshman Preston Knowles made quite a first impression Monday in his Louisville debut in the Cardinals public Red-White scrimmage, playing an iron-man like 44 of 45 minutes and taking on the offensive load in the second half for his team.

Knowles, a 6'2 guard from Winchester, Kentucky, started for the White team at point guard alongside sophomore Edgar Sosa. Though he started slow offensively in the first half – he failed to score, Knowles made a contribution with his passing, defense and rebounding from the tip.


Knowles came up big after halftime Monday
night in the Red-White scrimmage.
In the scrimmage's first 20 minutes, Knowles grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists, mostly by feeding sophomore center Derrick Caracter in the post.

Then in the second, Knowles took over on offensive. He nailed 2 three-pointers after halftime and showed no fear knocking down a 16 foot jump shot to tie the game in the final minutes at 73. Knowles hit back-to-back triples in the second half to give his team a one-point lead and also nailed a three in overtime.

"Usually I get more comfortable in the second half," Knowles said. "In the first half it was high intensity and the first game really playing in front of the crowd for a long time. So I just told myself to settle down and I got some buckets when we needed it."

Louisville coach Rick Pitino singled out three players for their efforts during Monday's scrimmage. Knowles was one of those three players. Pitino specifically praised Knowles, who defended Andre McGee much of the night, for his toughness and defense. McGee made just 1 of 7 shots and had two turnovers.

"I thought Preston played terrific because he's a tough kid and plays defense," Pitino said. "I just think he's mentally and physically tough. He's a very tough kid for a freshman who plays good defense. That doesn't mean he'll play that much this year but if any of our guys have an injury he'll step up and be totally capable of playing."

Knowles was visibly tired in the overtime period, but he continued to play hard and push the ball up the court despite obvious fatigue.

"It was a hard fought game," Knowles said. "Luckily the Red team came out with a W. We were fatigued out there and we need to work on our conditioning and I think we'll be alright."

Knowles was also excited about teaming with Sosa in front of nearly 12,00 Louisville fans in Freedom Hall.

"We had a lot of fans here tonight. I'm really excited for when the season gets going to see how much love we get," he said. "At first I thought they were going to put me against (Edgar) but he helped me out in the backcourt. It was like a rookie playing with a veteran and he tried to help me out by showing me the ins and outs."

Knowles hit 5 of 12 shots from the field, including 3 of 6 from three-point range. He also finished with 9 boards, two steals and three turnovers. Only Williams played as many minutes as Knowles did in the scrimmage.


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