Samardo Show

Rick Pitino has coached some great freshmen in his 30-plus years as a college coach. Samardo Samuels, who led his team to a 97-80 Red-White scrimmage win Sunday at Freedom Hall, might be the best.

Samardo Samuels, a 6-foot-8, 255-pound freshman from New Jersey, showed Sunday why he was so hyped coming out of Newark St. Benedict's last year. Samuels held his own dunk-a-thon on the Freedom Hall rims before 11,600 excited Cardinal fans in the new season's first intra-squad scrimmage. He finished with 36 points and 16 boards – both game highs.

"We don't have a guy to guard him right now but he's a very good basketball player because he's physically not a freshman," said Pitino. "How many guys do you get that come in at 255-pounds with only 8 percent body fat?"

Samuels played 35 minutes and made 13-22 shots and 10-12 free throws. He also had three assists, three turnovers and one steal. He scored on dunks, hit the midrange jump shot and connected at the foul line.

"He knows what his strengths are and he doesn't rush things in the post," Andre McGee said. "He's a great post-up guy. He listens to coach about getting deep post-position inside the paint and makes a quick move going up and either getting the bucket or getting fouled. He posts up so deep and there's nothing anybody can do to stop him."

"It was fun giving the fans a preview of what's to come," Samuels said. "We've got a good basketball team this year and we're going to try to live up to expectations that people have for us."

While Samardo was the brightest star for the Red team, Pitino thought senior point guard Andre McGee made the difference for his team. McGee handed out 6 assists and committed just three turnovers in 30 minutes. He hit 4-8 shots and scored 9 points.

"I thought a big difference was Andre McGee knew how to break pressure and get into the lane and get people the ball," Pitino said. "He was the difference-maker in the game because he played north and south the whole night."

"I was trying to make sure the young guys knew where they were, push the ball up the floor and execute the game plan and get some easy baskets and I think we did that," McGee said. "I was just trying to run my team."

Jared Swopshire, a skilled 6-foot-7 freshman small forward, helped Samuels and McGee lead the Red to victory with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Swopshire hit all three of his 3-point attempts.

"I think Swophire is very skilled but he's not ready for the Big East from a defensive standpoint," Pitino said. "But he's very skilled on offense."

Earl Clark led the White team with 30 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and one block. The 6-foot-9 junior forward 12-22 shots, including 2-5 3's.

6-foot-10 freshman center Terrence Jennings had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and two blocked shots for the White team. Jennings ran the court well and had several dunks in transition.

Edgar Sosa finished with 12 points and 7 assists. Though the junior guard made only 2-9 three-pointers, he committed only two turnovers in 38 minutes of action.

Jerry Smith had an off shooting night to finish with 6 points. He finished 0 for 10 from three-point line.

Reginald Delk finished with 11 points and 9 rebounds for the Red team, while Preston Knowles had 9 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

The scrimmage was a fast paced affair as both teams got up and down the court at warp speed. Pitino said he was happy with his teams transition offense, though he thought his squad needs lots of work on transition defense.

"I thought the turnovers would be much higher because they've been really high in practice but they weren't which is good," Pitino said. "That probably means we weren't playing the kind of defense we're capable of playing."

"For a week or so into practice the guys did a good job," added Pitino.

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