Samuels over-powering in Red-White scrimmage

If Louisville fans were worried about replacing David Padgett, 6'8 Samardo Samuels probably put those fears to rest Sunday in Louisville's first intra-squad scrimmage of the 2008-09 season.

One of the most-hyped incoming recruits in Louisville history, Samardo Samuels lived up to his advanced billing in his first appearance in a Cardinals uniform during the Red-White scrimmage Sunday night at Freedom Hall, dominating in the paint with 36 points and 16 rebounds.

Samuels simply over-powered 6-foot-9 junior Earl Clark and 6-foot-10 Terrence Jennings around the rim. The 255-pound freshman dunked, dunked and dunked some more. If he didn't finish, he drew fouls. And when he toed the line, he made 10-12 free throws.

"We tried to get it to Samardo because he can't be guarded," said Preston Knowles, Samuels teammate on the winning Red team. "He's a man down there and I expect him to have a good freshman year."

He's not the only one expecting big things from Samuels, a former McDonalds All-American, this season. In fact, there were likely 11,600 Louisville fans that left Freedom Hall after Sunday night's scrimmage excited about the skilled and talented Samuels.

"In the summer time I tried to work on every aspect of my game," said Samuels. "I got down here early and got in the gym working by myself on things that people said I can't do.

As good as he was in his first public outing with his new Louisville teammates, Samuels knows he's still got a lot to work on.

"My biggest thing is working on defense – understanding my defensive role and where I'm supposed to be at," Samuels said.

Samuels is still adjusting to the Cardinals up-tempo style of play. He primarily played a half-court game in high school and is working to keep pace in Pitino' system. Sunday night, Samuels appeared to be adapting just fine.

"My biggest strength as a big man is running the court," Samuels said. "I think right now I'm getting in the best shape to be able to play up and down basketball. There's a lot of stuff I've got to improve on but I'll work every day and it will come."

Samuels also has to learn to stay out of foul trouble. While it was just a scrimmage, Samuels committed four fouls in 35 minutes.

"I've got to be in the right place on defense and I can't over do it and pick up offensive fouls which I'm working on right now," Samuels said.

Samuels left the game to a raucous standing ovation from a Louisville fan base excited about his performance and the promise he brings to the Cardinals lineup this year.

"It was a great experience playing in Freedom Hall – I like the court, I like the fans and I have great teammates," said Samuels. "It's every college players dream basically."

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