McGee key reason for Cards recent success

As David Padgett left the University of Louisville locker room after the Cardinals' 61-50 win over Syracuse on Monday night the 6-foot-11 senior glanced over at 5-10 junior guard Andre McGee. "'Dre, you're my favorite," Padgett said. McGee, a major reason for the Cards recent success, is quickly becoming a fan favorite, too.

As David Padgett left the University of Louisville locker room after the Cardinals' 61-50 win over Syracuse on Monday night the 6-foot-11 senior glanced over at 5-10 junior guard Andre McGee.

"'Dre, you're my favorite," Padgett said.

Whether that was an inside joke, or just an expression of Padgett's feelings at that moment we may never know. But what we do know is that McGee, a Jeff to Padgett's Mutt, is quickly becoming a fan favorite with his play of late.

With his defense and three-point shooting, McGee is a major reason why the Cards (21-6, 11-3 in the Big East) are undefeated this month as they head into Sunday's showdown at Pittsburgh on a six-game winning streak.

In UofL's win over the Orange, McGee tied Terrence Williams for team-high scoring honors with 12 points. He was 4-for-10 from the field, including 4 of 9 from three-point range, while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out two assists (against zero turnovers) in just 23 minutes.

Andre McGee

Q: What about the win tonight?

A: "Shots weren't falling, the game was kind of slowed down, there weren't a lot of points being scored in the beginning, so we had to gut it out on defense."

Q: What does this win, while not the prettiest, say about this team?

A: "I think it shows our growth as a basketball team, being able to win different games in different styles. Playing teams early on, some teams are fast-paced, some teams are slow-down, like tonight, some teams try to press us, but we've learned to be versatile and take whatever the defense gives you and execute."

Q: Was there any way you guys were going to get outrebounded after the way coach Rick Pitino got on you all for losing the rebound battle at Providence?

A: "After that speech, after watching that film from Providence, energy was so high up from my position to the center, we all were going to try jump and push and fight for every rebound and we did and we outrebounded them by a lot.

"We knew what we had to do, we took that film dissected it, saw all the things we were doing wrong and we were able to capitalize on that."

Q: What's the mindset of the team right now?

A: "The mindset is, make sure we focus in on every game, not get too much into ourselves. (We have) to know that anybody can beat us any given night, knowing that we've got to approach every game like it's our last."

Q: What about the way you guys mixed up defenses tonight, going back-and- forth between your 2-3 zone and man-to-man D?

A: "I think it was good, it kind of throws a wrench at the other team, they don't know what's coming, everything is not structured so they have to adjust and we were able to get some turnovers."

Q: Was that something you guys were planning on doing when you went into the game, or was that something coach decided on the fly?

A: "That's all coach. Coach does it on the fly at times, he likes to switch it up, confuse the other coaching staff, it works pretty well."

Q: What about your game tonight?

A: "I felt good, I was trying to get my guys involved. The zone, those guys are so big and so long, so I was able to hit it inside, sprint away and get some open shots."

Q: Were you guys discouraged in the first half after not shooting great (only 27.8 percent)?

A: "We couldn't really be discouraged knowing that we took good shots and they didn't go in, we knew we're a good shooting team and they were eventually going to go in. The thing is they weren't shooting good either so it was two teams playing good defense and it was going to come down to who was the better defensive team."

Q: How were you guys able to do better (shooting 48.3 percent) against Syracuse's zone in the second half?

A: "They have a legendary zone, a legendary coach in coach (Jim) Boeheim, so we knew it was going to be hard. We knew we weren't going to get open shots all the time so we had to work the ball around inside to outside and that was the best way to do it."

Q: Again coach Pitino talked about the few number of challenged shots you guys took, what about that?

A: "He really harps on not taking challenged shots because he tells us that we're pretty much undefeated when we take less than nine challenged shots, (and) knowing that we're not taking challenged shots, they're all good shots and good shots lead to high percentages."

Q: Nine guys played double-digit minutes, what about your depth right now?

A: "That's the great part of our team, we have a lot of depth, when one guy goes down we're able to get somebody off the bench that can come in and fill that position so we're not just a team revolving around one guy."

Q: Just like last year it seems like this team is starting to come together in February, does it seems like everything is clicking right now?

A: "Yeah it does. This is the time, though. We have sophomores becoming juniors and me, myself, juniors becoming seniors, guys getting older toward the end of the year. This is the time everyone is maturing."

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