Kuric rises to challenge in first start

Kyle Kuric, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard from Evansville, Ind., got a surprise start for the University of Louisville on Saturday against Indiana State in Marques Maybin Classic at Freedom Hall.

Kuric responded with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, and one assist in 18 minutes of action.

"Kyle was nervous as hell," UofL senior forward Terrence Williams said. "But the kid is not scared of a challenge, he's not going to back down and we need that."

Kuric averaged 20.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game at Evansville Memorial High School on his way to being named an Indiana All-Star.

He looked good in UofL's first exhibition game of the season against Georgetown, scoring two points in 13 minutes, but he suffered a high ankle sprain in that game, which forced him to miss two and a half weeks of practice.

Kuric played six minutes in the season-opener against Morehead State, but didn't play at all against South Alabama and Western Kentucky before getting the start against the Sycamores.

Q: How did it feel to get your first start?

A: "It felt great. I don't know if you could tell, but I was pretty nervous. I'm just thankful to Coach (Rick Pitino) for giving me the opportunity."

Q: Did coach say why you got the start?

A: "The main reason was get more rebounds...and if that's what it takes to play, then that's what I'm going to do."

Q: When did you find out that you were getting the start?

A: I found out for sure (Friday). I had been practicing with the first team at the end of the week."

Q: How do you feel physically now?

A: "I feel much better, I was in the training room three times a day to get treatment (to get my ankle healthy)."

Q: How hard was it for you to miss that time?

A: "It was frustrating. Putting all the time in I had put in, then being out and watching practice. It really hurt."

Q: Did you expect to play so much so soon?

A: "Definitely not. I really wasn't expecting to play that much. I thought I might get in in blowouts, when we were up 40 points, but I definitely didn't think I'd be a starter."

Q: What are your hopes for this season?

A: "Just getting stronger and bigger and getting quicker on defense because the defensive pressure they put on you is a lot different that what it was in high school."

Q: What do you try to do when you're out there?

A: "Just be aggressive. Since I've been here they've been telling me to be more aggressive and look for my shot, and to be more aggressive when I rebound too...Shooting and rebounding, that's what he's put me in there for."

Q: Did you grow up dreaming of playing for UofL?

A: "No, I was a huge Duke fan when I was a kid. But by my sophomore or junior year (of high school), this is where I wanted to come."

Q: Speaking of which, why UofL?

A: "Coach P, he was the main reason I came here."

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