Knowles instant spark for Louisville

Sophomore guard Preston Knowles is making a name for himself this season, actually many of them. University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino has called him "The Microwave" in reference to former Detroit Piston "Bad Boy" Vinnie Johnson, who was instant offense off the Pistons' bench when they won back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990.

"I guess he's talking about instant offense, instant defense," junior forward Earl Clark said when asked about Pitino calling Knowles' nickname. "But I think of it like popping popcorn, instant food, and that's what PK is.

"He's the key to our team. He's the battery, all you have to do is charge him on the bench and he's coming out ready to go. He gives us a big lift off the bench."

The 6-foot-1 Knowles definitely has the last two games for Louisville - scoring in double figures in back-to-back contests for the first time all season. He tallied 19 in only 13 minutes against DePaul on Sunday, then he came back to score 11 off the bench in Wednesday night's win over Providence. Knowles was especially effective shooting the ball in those two games, hitting on 11 of 15 attempts (73.3 percent), including 8 of 12 from three-point range (66.7 percent).

ITV caught up with Knowles after the DePaul game.

Q: You've been shooting the ball well lately, does it always help you to hit your first shot?

A: "I just try to come up and hit my shots. I think any good shooter, or any shooter, at all, when they start getting it going early they feel like every shot is going in.

"My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball and I think we do a good job of whoever's hot early dishing and distributing and getting them the ball, so I've just got to congratulate them on getting me the ball."

Q: You earned your reputation early in your career for playing defense, now you are showing that you can shoot the ball too, what about that?

A: "Defense is a must always, if you don't play defense during the game or you're going to be ready to sit next to coach. Just adding all the offense keeps you in the game."

Q: Do you feel like you are becoming an all-around player now?

A: "Right now I just come in as a shooter. We have great offensive players in Earl, Samardo and T-Will, so I just try to do what I can. As the season goes on I just want to try to rebound more, hopefully get some more steals and assists and try and be a dominant player like Earl and T-Will."

Q: Do you feel like you can give the team offensive punch?

A: "Oh, most definitely. If anything you've got to have confidence in yourself, so I'm going to have to say yes on that, I think I can."

Q: How much did the loss to Notre Dame hurt?

A: "It hurt for awhile, but coach and the team are doing a good job of not holding our heads. Like coach said we had two great practices, I guess it carried over to the game."

"Any time you come off a 30-point loss you're going to come in with an edge and a hot temper in the game because we're like, 'Man we can't let this happen again.' So we just wanted to turn that game around, make it into a positive and keep moving forward. Coming off a 30-point loss, us feeling kind of down, we were like, 'Hey we can't go back, we can only move forward.'"

Q: What about coach taking away your practice gear after that loss?

A: "Honestly it had an effect, but it's true. We played terrible, we disgraced our names, the coach and the program, so I think it was a good job of him doing that. It settles in our mind, like 'Man, we messed up, now we've got to get our gear back.' So we've just got to keep playing, keep playing hard and get a road victory so we can get our adidas gear back."

Q: How has the team been able to bounce back from that Notre Dame loss?

A: "I guess the team camaraderie. Everybody weren't pointing fingers we just came in there like, 'Hey we lost, we can't get down, we're still 9-2 tied for second place, so we just came in and worked. We can't hang our heads because we are still tied for second and we still have a main goal of winning the Big East during the regular season."

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